This is your list of essential items for travel right now

This post focuses on essential items for travel that you may not have needed before but that will make your travels smoother and easier during the pandemic. It may seem over, but every country has its own rules and it’s always better to be prepared than surprised.

Travelling has changed a lot over the past couple of years. It goes without saying that the pandemic has changed the way we travel. I have gone on several trips and discovered a few items that make life a lot easier.

These are the must-have items that I won’t travel without. A while back I wrote my list of the top 5 travel must-haves and these are definitely still relevant, but I am adding a few more items that have become necessary. Travel has changed, and there are a few more items that will make your travels smoother.

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List of pandemic travel must-haves

Passport Holder

Travelling outside of the country comes with a lot more paperwork than it used to. Having it all organized and together in a passport holder has become an absolute life-saver at the airport.

During one of my recent trips, the poor woman behind me in the customs line was trying to hold everything in her hands and she dropped everything not once, but twice. I felt bad for her when all her papers went flying!

Some passport holders are RFID protected, keeping your cards safe. I love these Bellroy passport holders because they have lots of places to put your travel cards, as well as a small pen, and they zip up. It’s surprising how often you see people scrambling to find a pen when travelling to fill out arrival paperwork. Don’t get stuck waiting to use the dirty communal pens provided at the airport, bring your own.

You may be thinking that you don’t need a passport holder since you save everything digitally on your phone. And pre the ‘vid, I would have agreed with you. Depending on where you are travelling to and how many papers you need to show, I highly recommend printing them out.

Most hotels have business centres where you can print for free. It is much easier to have everything organized and easily accessible instead of scrolling through your phone to try and find them all.

Here is a list of what I currently have in my passport holder:

  • Passport
  • Nexus Card
  • Frequent Flyer card
  • Lounge access card
  • Proof of Vaccination.

Depending on where I am travelling to, I also have my negative COVID test, drone approval form, and any necessary travel visa documents. Now you can see why a passport holder made it onto my list of essential items for travel.

A passport holder for International travel is an essential item to bring with you
A passport holder that contains all of your necessary travel documents is a must-have

Comfortable Clothing

With the amount of extra time you are going to be spending at the airport, your comfort is more important than ever. Needing to be at the airport extra early means more time sitting around waiting. Gone are the days of rushing to the airport 30 minutes before your flight and running to the gate.

You want to give yourself at least 2 hours before any flight or you risk missing it. I would honestly suggest arriving at the airport 3 hours before an International flight. It’s better to be early than late and have to run to your gate. This is especially true at larger airports and if you don’t have NEXUS.

For style and comfort, I swear by my black Lululemon Align pants. I don’t know how I lived without side pockets on my yoga pants until now. Having your phone by your side, right where you need it, is so convenient. No more digging around in the bottom of your giant travel purse.

Another pro tip is to always layer when flying. You never know if the airplane is going to be hot or cold. I won’t fly without my trusty wrap sweater and scarf. Both of these are essential items for travel.

Facial Covering

While many places have removed their mandatory mask requirements, you will be required to wear a facial covering while in the airport and for the duration of your flight. You will be allowed to remove it when you are eating or drinking, but otherwise, it must be worn.

During my recent travels, all public transit also required a facial covering so be sure to always have one with you. Every city seems to have their own rules and it’s always better to be prepared.

Looking for a new one? Check out this article by Travel + Leisure on the 9 most comfortable face masks for travel.

Bright, Colourful Luggage

If you thought it was difficult to find your suitcase on the conveyer belt before Covid, it’s even worse now. When I arrived in Vancouver there were suitcases piled up alongside the carousels. The entire carousel was full of luggage. I was extremely thankful for my colourful suitcase!

Rimowa has launched a new neon collection that would be easy to spot a mile away. If you prefer to create your own unique design, then check out Roam. It doesn’t get any more unique than one that you design yourself. My suitcase is nearing the end of its life and I’m definitely going to design my next one with Roam.

A bright coloured suitcase has becoome an essential item for travel in 2022.
Stand out from the crowd, and on the conveyor belt, with a bright suitcase

Snacks and water

I love getting to the airport early to enjoy the lounge before my flight. Sadly, because of the pandemic, a lot of airport lounges have been closed. Thankfully, one flight ritual I have is to treat myself to a package of Peanut Butter M&Ms to enjoy with my in-flight movie.

My essential M&M’s for travelling were a lifesaver on one of my last flights because the lounge was closed and they weren’t serving any food on the flight. All I had were my M&M’s and water. This has become a lot more common on shorter flights.

The number of restaurants and stores open in airports is drastically less than pre-pandemic. I have resorted to Pringles and chocolates for dinner on several occasions because nothing was open at the airport. Be prepared and bring food with you, especially if you have an early morning or late night flight.

I also always bring my Swell water bottle and fill it up once I’m past security. They never come around often enough with water, and it’s even less often now.

While many airlines have taken to providing plastic water bottles to passengers, those are terrible for the environment and I always refuse them. Stay hydrated and save the environment by bringing your own refillable water bottle.

Airline and hotel apps

It seems that things can change with the speed of lightning right now. I find the best way to stay on top of changing flight times, switched gates, and hotel check-in times is by having the airline and hotel apps downloaded on my iPhone.

There are third-party apps that you can input your complete trip itinerary, but I much prefer having the official company apps providing me with updates. I find these are the most reliable and up-to-date.

Once a trip is over, I often delete these apps until the next time I need them. My travel folder is already full of apps, lol!

And there you have it, your list of essential items for travel during the pandemic. One can only hope that travel will return to normalcy in the near future but until then all we can do is be organized and patient. Happy travels!