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A Travel Writer’s Packing Guide for Post-Pandemic Travel

From a vaccine cardholder to a pair of comfy walking sneakers, these travel essentials have earned a spot in my suitcase. Rebecca Carhart

Travel shopping guide

By Rebecca Carhart

May 18, 2022

AFTER HAVING TWO TRIPS postponed due to Covid, my friends and I are finally cashing in our airline credits and heading to Europe in a few weeks. We’ve already made a list of the restaurants we want to try and a list of the museums we want to visit, but now comes the hard part. And since I’m already compiling a list of new-normal-travel packing essentials, I figured I’d share my shopping guide with you. 

Luckily, I already have a list of go-to items that I bring with me everywhere, but after two years of not traveling internationally, there are definitely a few things that I need to stock up on before my vacation. Whether it’s items — such as KN95 masks and Clorox wipes — that will make me feel safer about traveling during a pandemic, travel essentials I need to replace (oof, like that plug adaptor I misplaced), or a few wardrobe upgrades to help me look and feel my best, I’ve narrowed my shopping list to seven key products.

Perhaps best of all, each item on my international travel packing list is actually affordable. Prices start at just US$5, and nothing on my list exceeds US$65 because I’d rather save that money for souvenirs and experiences at my destination. Keep reading for my travel packing guide — then get back out there and see the world. 

Reebok Club MEMT Sneaker

Reebok Club MEMT Sneaker covid travel packing guide list
Reebok Club MEMT Sneaker. Courtesy of Amazon

A priority on my list is a new pair of white sneakers. I need shoes that will be comfortable enough to walk around in all day but still be versatile enough to wear with the rest of my travel wardrobe. I like these classic Reebok kicks, in particular, because their simple design will look good with everything from jeans and leggings to skirts and dresses. They have a durable rubber sole for added traction, and shoppers say they are “incredibly comfortable” since it feels like you’re “walking on clouds.”

To buy: amazon.com, US$65 

Kgx Vaccine Card Holder

Kgx Vaccine Card Holder covid packing travel guide list
Kgx Vaccine Card Holder. Courtesy of Amazon

I just had to fill out travel documents and submit a photo of my vaccine card for my flight to Paris, and when I pulled my vaccine card out of my wallet, it was looking a little worse for wear and frayed around the edges. Next on my list is getting a vaccine cardholder to keep it safe, especially since I’ll likely have to pull it out and show it to gain access to some locations. I like this Kgx option because it is waterproof, slim enough to fit in my wallet, and easily wipes clean.

To buy: amazon.com, US$5

Clorox Disinfecting Wipes

Clorox Disinfecting Wipes covid travel packing shopping guide list
Clorox Disinfecting Wipes. Courtesy of Amazon

I’ve always been a bit of a germaphobe, and I’ve been disinfecting my plane seat prior to takeoff for years. Now, after the pandemic, I’m sure I’ll get fewer weird looks as I do it, but rest assured I’ll have my trusty pack of Clorox wipes in my tote bag for this upcoming flight. These travel packs don’t take up too much space in my bag and have enough wipes for me to use throughout my trip as well giving me so much peace of mind. 

To buy: amazon.com, US$15 for 3

Away Small Toiletry Bag

Away Small Toiletry Bag covid travel packing shopping guide list
Away Small Toiletry Bag. Courtesy of Away

My toiletry bag has been long overdue for an upgrade, so I’ve decided on this Away option to coordinate with my suitcase. The outer shell is made from a water-resistant nylon material, and a coated wipeable lining makes it easy to clean any unwanted spills. I like that it boasts two compartments — one transparent pocket and another mesh pouch — so I can see where everything is, and it’s big enough to hold all of my toiletries. Even better, the bag’s design can even fit at-home Covid-19 tests.

To buy: awaytravel.com, US$55

Evolve Together KN95 Mask

Evolve Together KN95 Mask covid travel packing shopping guide list
Evolve Together KN95 Mask. Courtesy of EvolveTogether

Whatever the in-flight mask requirements of where I travel, I follow the guide of better safe than sorry, so I still plan on wearing one and packing extra. I wore this Evolve Together KN95 mask a few months ago on a flight to Miami (which was a few hours), and it was super comfy and easy to breathe in, so I plan on stocking up for this long international flight. The six-layer mask has a double filtration system, is hypoallergenic, and has an adjustable nose bridge for a comfortable and secure fit. Also nice: It has a flatter, more modern profile in comparison to other KN95 masks on the market, meaning it won’t have me awkwardly resembling a duck in transit.

To buy: evolvetogether.com, US$15 for 5

SublimeWare International Plug Adaptor 

SublimeWare International Plug Adaptor covid travel packing shopping guide list
SublimeWare International Plug Adaptor. Courtesy of Amazon

Since I haven’t left the country in a few years, I seem to have lost my international plug adaptor. After browsing Amazon for a highly rated pick that would ship quickly and not cut too much into my budget, I’ve settled on this option from SublimeWare. I like that it can accommodate multiple plug types, including Japan, China, the U.S., the U.K., and the EU, and I can use a normal wall plug or USB with it. I can even charge up to four devices at a time with the single adaptor, and it comes in four different colors. 

To buy: amazon.com, US$26

Lululemon Everywhere Belt Bag

Lululemon Everywhere Belt Bag covid travel packing shopping guide list
Lululemon Everywhere Belt Bag. Courtesy of Lululemon

While fanny packs used to scream “tourist,” they are now more fashionable and convenient than ever, so I’m taking the plunge and buying the popular Lululemon Everywhere Belt Bag for my trip. I like its lightweight, water-resistant design and that it’s spacious enough for packing all my essentials — maybe even one of those palm-sized travel guide books. I plan to wear it as a crossbody, which will keep my belongings safe and secure, while giving it a more updated feel than wearing it around my waist. The hardest part will be choosing which of the 12 colors to buy.

To buy: lululemon.com, US$38

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