8 must-have travel essentials when you're travelling during a pandemic

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The question in everyone’s mind: When can I travel again? Although our year-end plans have come to a standstill due to the pandemic, leisure travel at this point in time is still possible with the new travel bubble with Hong Kong.

And even if you’re travelling for important reasons, or you’re looking to satisfy your wanderlust, we’ve curated a list on some of the must-haves to bring on your flight to make air travel safer. While your packing routines are otherwise the same, it’s the onboard essentials that might have changed.

With hygiene being top of mind and concerns, it’s safe to say that there will be certain changes when flying. If you’re worried about flying during Covid-19, rest assured that there are measures in place such as air filtering and distancing between passengers.

This helps to make air travel safer. In fact, the International Air Transport Association stated that the risk of Covid-19 on planes appears to be “very low”.

Of course, there are many things you can do to reduce the risk by maintaining good hygiene. If you’re planning to fly during this pandemic, here are nine essentials you should pack with you.

1. Disinfecting wipes

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While frequently touched surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected regularly, you can also take matters into your hands by wiping down your seat, seatbelt, tray table and armrest when you board the plane.

As a tip, if you like to use airplane seat pockets to keep your snacks, water bottle, or gadgets, give it a second thought and keep it in your bag instead. They’re home to one of the airplane’s highest concentrations of germs.

If you’re looking for disinfectant wipes, we recommend Dettol’s Anti-Bacterial Wet Wipes, $19 (Bundle of four). Get them in a value pack so you can take them with you to last your trip as well.

2. Hand sanitiser

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This one’s probably a no-brainer. While washing your hands with water and soap is the best option, you might not always get the opportunity to do so and that’s where hand sanitisers can come in handy. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention recommends hand sanitisers with at least 60 per cent alcohol.

If you’re looking for a hand sanitiser that’s a little more pleasant to smell, opt for PocketBac’s Sanitising Hand Gel, $6.50 (29 ml) with fruity options like Peach Bellini and Black Cherry Merlot or fresh options like Beautiful Day.

3. Face masks

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While face masks are mandatory, you might want to consider packing extra face masks for the flight. Reusable or disposable, it’s a good idea to pack some for the flight in case you wanted to switch to a new one halfway, or after you land.

After a few hours of nonstop face mask-wearing on the plane, it might feel like a relief to switch into a fresh one when you land.

For our best picks and recommendations, take a look at these reusable cloth masks.

4. Ziplock bags or smaller bags

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Part of flying during Covid-19 is also packing strategically. Keep in mind that you’ll have to take your passport out as well as electronics during check-in and those items will be touched and handled by others more frequently.

To minimise germs, you can keep them stored in a separate pouch. Then when you have time to disinfect them, you can store them in another clean pouch.

5. Hand cream

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With all the hand-washing and sanitising that you’ll be doing before or during your flight, it’s likely that your hands will start feeling dry. Especially when you factor in the dry aeroplane air. Using a nourishing and hydrating hand cream is both a necessity in terms of comfort and practicality.

Aesop’s Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm, $39 (75 ml) has a delicate blend of fragrance botanicals and skin-softening emollients that helps to deliver rich hydration to your hands and cuticles.

The greaseless finish is the cherry on top and we love the calming and rejuvenating scent of Mandarin Rind, Rosemary Leaf, and Cedar Atlas combined.

6. Touchless door opener tool

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You might have seen these over the States as its popularity rose over the last couple of months. These touchless door openers, $13.54 (68 g) do as exactly as their name suggests.

With this tool, you can open doors, touch screens or objects, and even open bottles. Designed with a keychain hook, it also fits perfectly in your hands and pocket so you can use it in public and private spaces.

7. Water bottle

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One of the best (and simplest) ways to stay healthy is to drink lots of water in flight. There’s a reason why wellness pros and medical experts recommend it, to the point where you should drink five times more water in flight than you think you need. The best way to remind yourself to do so is to bring your own water bottle.

Kinto’s Insulated Day Off Tumbler, $66 (500 ml) is a perfect size that fits into most carry-ons and we love how the silicone rings can separate tea bags (if needed).

BPA Free and stainless steel, this tumbler can keep drinks hot and cold for up to six hours. Plus, its sleek Japanese-inspired design and standout colour options really add to its aesthetics.

8. Snacks

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This might be considered an add-on more than a necessity, but keep in mind that for travellers flying into Hong Kong via the travel bubble, you’ll have to take a third PCR test at the airport and wait for about four hours for the results.

While you can definitely get your shopping and dining done within the airport, having your own snacks might make things easier – especially if you want to avoid the crowd.

This article was first published in The Singapore Women's Weekly.