How to travel safely during the COVID-19 pandemic

Traveling for Thanksgiving? Here’s what to bring with you to stay safe (Photo: Getty Images)

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The holidays are a time to spend celebrating with friends and family which, for many of us, requires traveling. Even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, over half of Americans still plan to travel this Thanksgiving, according to a recent TripAdvisor survey. To help people celebrate safely this holiday season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published extensive guidelines for traveling and safety tips for day-of celebrating that include gathering only with members of your own household. 

“Travel increases your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19,” the CDC warns. “Your chances of getting COVID-19 while traveling also depend on whether you and those around you take steps to protect yourself and others, such as wearing masks and staying 6 feet away from people outside your household.”

If you’re planning to travel for Turkey Day this year, we’ve rounded up 10 items you might want to take with you to keep you safe and healthy on the go. Remember too that even if you’re able to travel, the CDC reminds people that staying home is still the safest and best option to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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1. Hand sanitizer

Keep your hands bacteria-free while you travel. (Photo: Getty)

One of 2020’s most coveted items, hand sanitizer is a must for when you don’t have access to soap and water. The CDC recommends opting for a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol to be the most effective. You can find CDC-approved hand sanitizers right now on Amazon, including these travel-sized options. But remember, washing your hands is still more effective than hand sanitizer in preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

2. Face masks

Don’t travel without your mask. (Photo: Getty Images / Amazon)

One of the best ways to protect both yourself and those around you while you’re traveling, according to the CDC, is by wearing a face mask. Plus, many states, cities, and businesses require them when you’re out in public. Our experts have tested tons of face masks and found the Athleta masks to be the best in terms of breathability and comfort. A close second are the Tom Bihn masks, which fit well and offer double-layered protection.

3. Disinfecting wipes

Wipes are in high demand right now. (Photo: Getty Images / martinedoucet)

Whether it’s wiping down your airplane seat, sanitizing your hotel room, or cleaning off your steering wheel after you stop at the gas station, disinfecting wipes are essential for safe travel. While they’re still hard to find right now both online and in stores, Amazon has a few options to choose from. Note that the CDC recommends using disinfecting wipes that contain at least 70 percent alcohol. You can also make your own wipes at home if you can’t find them in stock.

4. Tissues

A box—or travel pack—of tissues has a multitude of uses. (Photo: Getty Images / PORNCHAI SODA)

Even if you aren’t sick, a pack of tissues is a nice thing to have on hand when you travel. Not only can you use them to cough or sneeze into to prevent spreading bacteria, but they’re also a great barrier between your hand and a dirty bathroom door handle or gas pump. Of all the tissues we’ve used, we found Puffs Ultra Soft to be the best because they’re both durable and soft. While you can’t get those in travel size, you can find the equally high-rated Puffs Plus in purse-sized packs.

Get the Puffs Plus Lotion Travel-Size Facial Tissues (10-Pack) from Amazon for $5.48

5. A reusable water bottle

Stay hydrated while you’re traveling. (Photo: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser)

The less things in public you need to touch, the better. That’s where a reusable water bottle comes in—if you’re driving, you won’t have to stop at a convenience store or vending machine to stay hydrated or if you’re flying, you won’t have to use the public water fountain. Our experts dubbed the Brita self-filtering water bottle the best one you can buy because it keeps water ice cold for hours and filters your water as you sip so it’s taste- and odor-free, and you can feel more confident about filling it up in public.

Get the Brita Filtering Water Bottle from Amazon for $24.99

6. A portable charger

Keep your devices charged wherever you are. (Photo: Reviewed / Richard Baguley)

When you’re traveling, a dead phone is incredibly inconvenient. And it’s even more so right now during the current conditions, when people are less likely to lend you their phones/chargers and you might not want to touch public charging stations. Keep your phone juiced up with our favorite portable battery pack for USB-C charging, the Mophie PowerStation. It’s super compact yet super powerful, with fast charging times.

Get the Mophie PowerStation Pd from Amazon for $19.95

7. A travel blanket

It’s made of super soft micro plush. (Photo: BlueHills)

This year, you might want to make your trip BYOB: bring your own blanket. Not only are many airlines not offering complimentary blankets on flights, but if you’re staying in a hotel, you might feel safer using your own blanket rather than the one that hundreds of strangers have touched. This travel blanket on Amazon has hundreds of rave reviews with people saying it’s extremely lightweight, yet cozy and it folds up into a very compact, portable size, which is essential for travel.

Get the BlueHills Premium Soft Travel Blanket from Amazon for $24.79

8. A phone sanitizer

This phone sanitizer uses UV light to get rid of bacteria. (Photo: PhoneSoap)

Think of all the places you put your phone while you’re traveling (the airport security belt, the airplane seat tray, the gas station counter), not to mention all the bacteria from your hands that gets transferred to your phone. So a phone sanitizer is worth tossing into your suitcase. Our senior scientist tested out PhoneSoap in Reviewed’s labs and found that it was incredibly effective at killing bacteria. Plus, it only takes six minutes to clean your device and can be used for more frequently used items like your keys and credit cards. 

Get the PhoneSoap 3 UV Smartphone Sanitizer from Amazon for $79.95

9. Disposable gloves

You don’t have to wear gloves but you might want to. (Photo: Getty Images)

Per the CDC’s recommendations, gloves aren’t necessary, but they can’t hurt and the CDC suggests using them while you’re cleaning. So if you’re looking for a little added protection, it wouldn’t hurt to bring a pack or two with you on your travels and avoiding touching things like a gas pump. Fortunately, while disposable gloves were perviously sold out everywhere in the beginning of quarantine, they’re back in stock on Amazon so you have a few options depending on your size and brand preference. 

10. A cooler

Bring all your food with you with this number one cooler. (Photo: Otterbox)

If you’re traveling via car this Thanksgiving, you might be tempted to stop at convenience stores or restaurants along the way for snacks and meals. But it’s smart to limit the number of public places and the number of people you have to encounter while you’re on the road. Enter our top-rated cooler, the OtterBox Venture 45, which you can use to pack your own food and drinks. It’s leak-proof, versatile, and most importantly, great at staying cool for hours on end.

Get the Venture 45 Cooler from OtterBox for $244.99

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

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Wednesday November 2, 2022