After months of staying at home, as we venture out into the world we are naturally concerned about safety. After all, the pandemic hasn't quite ended yet. And we know now - in the post Covid world - that timely precautions like washing our hands can have an oversized impact on our health and that of our family.
Keeping this in mind, here's a list of Covid-specific travel extras you should pack, whether you are stepping out for a business trip or holiday.
1. MASK CHAIN
Think of a spectacle chain for your mask. It holds the mask when you need to take it off. Just strap your mask to the chain, and you will no longer have to worry about dangling it off one ear, pulling it down to the chin, holding it in your hand or stashing it in the pocket. Not only does it make your mask-handling easy, it also saves you from germs. Also, you do not have to find it. It is always snaking around your neck.
Buy: There are several options available on Amazon.in, price starting as Rs 100.
2. SILICONE MASK BRACKET
While travelling, sometimes there is a lot of talking to do. At the check-in counter, security, gates, etc. Sometimes the mask slips off; often you struggle with cloth masks suctioning to your mouth every time you breathe in. This is where Mask Brackets come in handy. These bracket sit over the mouth to create a pocket of space between your lips and nose and the mask. It also helps some people speak more clearly when wearing a mask.
Buy: Price starts at Rs 200; pack of 4 is priced at Rs 699. Check size before buying.
3. BRASS KEY
Research now tells us that the chances of surface transmission of Covid are quite low. Still, if you are visiting a place where lots of people will have touched the same elevator buttons, door handles, bathroom fixtures, and you're worried, consider getting a brass key. It's small enough to fit into your wallet/purse, and you can use the key to press elevator buttons and open door handles. The copper-coating of the Sani-Key is anti-microbial, meaning it won’t carry along whatever germs there might be to pick up.
Of course, you could use generic plastic disposable gloves instead. But carrying them around, putting them on, taking them off and disposing of them can be a hassle.
Buy: Brass key: price starts at Rs 300; plastic hand gloves: prices start at Rs119 for a pack of 80 plastic hand gloves (latex and nitrile gloves cost more by a factor of 4-6x).
4. SANITISER HOLDER
Rummaging through the bag to look for a hand sanitiser can be a bit challenging after you've touched a dozen surfaces and want to clean your hands asap. With a sanitiser holder that can be clipped on to yourself, your handbag, or your luggage, the sanitiser is easily accessible. Remember, most airports have a maximum quantity limit for carry-on liquids. Also ensure that your alcohol-based hand sanitiser has at least 60% alcohol.
Buy: Set of 2 starts at Rs 200.
5. HAND SANITISER SACHET
If a dangling hand-sanitiser bottle is not your thing, get small individual-sized hand-sanitiser packets. Slip a couple into your toiletry bag.
Buy: Pack of 100 hand sanitiser sachet starts at Rs 260.
6. FOLDABLE WATER BOTTLE
A water bottle can take up a lot of space. Foldable water bottles that occupy negligible space in your bag/purse and fold into themselves when empty are a good option. These come with tough seals to prevent spills and leaks. The other option is to buy slim water bottles that fit neatly in the seat-back compartment.
Buy: Price starts at Rs 200
7. SPACE PEN
To avoid borrowing a pen to fill out any number of forms: health declaration forms, immigration forms, or sign-ins at hotel check-ins, consider getting a space pen which is waterproof and works perfectly even if you douse it in soap and water or sanitiser.
Buy: Fisher Space pen price starts at Rs 417
8. STORAGE BAGS
This is the time for countless storage bags within your travel bags. Ideally, your carry-on bag should have multiple pockets to keep food, masks, sanitisers separate from hot items (dirty items are now politely called ‘hot’ items) like used wipes, tissues, disposable masks.
9. WASHABLE BAGS
Washable bags might not have the glamour, but while travelling, leave your leather bags at home. Instead, carry purses/bags that are easy to wash and dry and can be reused. For example, the Longchamp bags that can be hand-washed or cleaned in the washing machine.
10. DISINFECTING WIPES
Disinfecting wipes are the best antidote to heavily touched areas - chairs, washrooms, handrails, bins at airports. Look for flushable wipes that are better suited to travelling purposes.
Buy: Prices start at Rs 170 for a pack of 72 regular-size wipes; pack of 30 large wipes starts at Rs 200.
11. PORTABLE UV PHONE STERILISER
There is no dearth of wipes and sprays for cleaning your phone, but look for a UV sanitiser that provides a deep clean fast. These can also be used for keys, jewellery, wallets, glasses, headphones, etc.
Buy: Price starts at Rs 1,000
12. MINI PAPER SOAP SHEETS
While the sanitiser is in everyone’s bag, most forget that sudsing up is the best way to clean hands. A fat soap bar is cumbersome, so switch to handy paper soap sheets. Just add water to these individual soap sheets to create a soapy lather that rinses clean. To avoid dealing with a soapy mess in the packet, put the sheet on your hand before turning the tap on.
Buy: Pack of 100 mini soap starts at Rs 169
(Source: Centre for Disease Control, USA)