This list used to be full of fun little gadgets. Now it looks a lot more like what I took with me to India - and I'm only going to Florida.
1. Face masks. This are a must-do when you are in public spaces. I have many washable kids, but for travel it is nice to have disposable ones as well. It must cover your nose and mouth.
2. Hand sanitizer. If you have to touch a surface, immediately use a hand sanitizer that is 60 percent alcohol or 70 percent isopropyl alcohol. The TSA eased the 3-ounce limit and is allowing passengers to now bring up to 12 ounces of liquid hand sanitizer in carry-on bags.
3. Disinfectant wipes. You can remove the virus from surfaces that you must touch by using hydrogen-peroxide based cleaners. These are in travel packs.
4. Alcohol prep pads. These are great for wiping down silverware in restaurants and the rim of glassware. I used these ALL OF THE TIME in India. People thought I was over-the-top, but I was glad that I had them.
5. Travel laundry detergent. You can generally find what you need when you land, but why take that extra step if you don't have to? I like to have both sink-washing detergent - in case something goes wrong and there is no laundry machine available - and travel laundry sheets that dissolve easily and won't leak in your bag. It is also great for soaking your extra cloth mask(s) in a sink full of water and then scrubbing with laundry detergent. Wring out excess water and hang dry.
6. Thermometer. Always good to have on-hand. As we know all too well now, COVID-19 symptoms include shortness of breath, fever, coughing and a sore throat. A travel thermometer will help you keep tabs on your temperature.
7. Digital Pulse Ox (oximeter). If you are in a risk category for coronavirus, you’ll want a digital pulse oximeter, because low oxygen saturation can happen before you even feel shortness of breath. Usually, when your oxygen levels fall below 94 percent, you will be symptomatic. Any saturation below 94 percent is concerning. UNLESS, and this is important, you are at an elevated altitude. In a city like Denver (>5000 feet above sea level), a healthy persons oxygen saturation will be 90, so keep this in mind when traveling.
A few final tips, which I am sure you know, but I want to reiterate, these few tricks to help make your travel safer:
👍 Wash and/or sanitize hands after touching any surface.
👍 Don’t touch your mask/face once it is on.
👍 Disinfect your credit or debit card after use.
👍 If driving or flying, plan as few stops as possible. Additionally, TSA recommends placing items from your pockets into your carry-on bag before you go through the security checkpoint so you don’t have to place them in an unsanitized bin.
👍 Sign up with a medical assistance provider with a global reach that can provide you with local intel, health care resources and telehealth access.
In closing, COVID-19 doesn't seem to want to leave us soon and it is redefining how we travel. The better we are at following established protocols, and any new ones that may arise as we learn more about how the virus behaves, the better we will be at minimizing exposure to the disease - and getting back to enjoying some "normal"-ish parts of life.
Stay safe! Stay healthy! And keep dreaming!
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Olivia Nash Richardson is a 10-year veteran of the luxury travel industry, always as a member of Virtuoso. Her deep love of travel started at a young age, and was refined while attending high school in France and then her Masters in Paris.
Olivia loves hotels and is passionate about the transformative power of travel. She started Nash Travel Management because her goal is to make your bucket list come alive! She is one of fewer than 250 agents worldwide who is a certified Virtuoso Wanderlist Advisor and is a charter member of Virtuoso's Sustainability Community.
Olivia holds degrees from The Ohio State University, New York University and an MBA in Marketing and Strategy from Vanderbilt University. She, her husband, and two daughters reside in Nashville.