Things you need to pack in addition to your usual travel essentials.
Travelling during a global pandemic is never going to be much fun, but for some of us travelling for work is essential. And for many more, travelling for pleasure is a way of life, and nothing is going to stop us from enjoying a much-deserved holiday with the kids. With that in mind, we have put together a checklist of items that – in addition to the usual travel essentials – you should always have on you when going on a single parent holiday during these strange times.
Face coverings are currently mandatory in England in most indoor settings, such as shops, libraries, rail stations and airports, public transport, and many other, indoor commercial locations. Similar rules exist in the rest of the UK as well as many European countries. It is wise to check before you travel which country requires you to wear a face mask in public. Don’t forget to check if your kids need to wear face masks as the rules are bound to be different in your chosen holiday destination.
In any case, expect to carry a mask with you at all times, with a few spares in your luggage. For the foreseeable future, think of your mask as you would your wallet or your phone. You wouldn’t leave home without either and now the same should be true of your face covering.
COVID-19 is a virus that is thought to live for hours, if not days, on hard surfaces, so if you are using public transport to go abroad, then you should always carry a hand sanitiser. Washing your hands might be the most effective way of killing the virus, but when you are travelling, you are often forced to press buttons on buses or trains, hold on to metal railings or touch door handles of taxis, and it is simply impractical to wash your hands each time you have been in contact with a hard surface. Using an antibacterial hand sanitiser with at least 60% alcohol kills the virus outright and that’s why you need to use it as often as possible. So, make sure to carry hand sanitiser during your travels.
A little cough or a sneezing fit doesn’t mean you have coronavirus. But then again, you might have contracted COVID-19 inadvertently and starting to show the first symptoms. Before testing and self-isolation have even crossed your mind, your little cough or sneezing fit could have infected many others who have either breathed in your respiratory droplets or touched a surface you contaminated with your cough or sneeze. In fact, this is one of the most common ways for the virus to spread.
The way to avoid this type of transmission is to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue and not with your hand. So, pack and carry tissues with you at all times, to sneeze or cough into. Dispose of them immediately before washing or sanitising your hands and getting on with your travels.
You are much more likely to stay safe and secure if you have a travel plan in place. Travel has changed due to the pandemic and planning is more important now than ever. If you travel by private car, make sure you have all your travel supplies with you, so you don’t have to go stop at busy petrol station on the motorway for food and drinks. If you travel by public transport, try to avoid the busiest times and lots of changes. The less strangers you and the kids come into contact with, the better. If you fly, make sure you book all airport transfers in advance, both in the UK and abroad. So, if you’re going to Benidorm from London, for example, book a transfer to Gatwick airport and another transfer on arrival from Alicante airport to Benidorm.
One way to minimise transmission of the virus is the use of contactless options wherever possible. Most travellers already use a contactless card and a smartphone, but if for whatever reason you are not amongst them, here are some good reasons why you might want to obtain one or both to take on your single parent holiday:
The virus can live on hard surfaces for days, so it’s best way to avoid using cash. You can pay by contactless card almost anywhere now, including abroad, avoiding any physical contact with cash or shop keepers. It is wise, of course, to keep a little currency handy as you may find that ice cream vans or other small food outlets abroad won’t be set up for accepting card payment and you don’t want to disappoint the kids on holiday! Just remember to use disinfectant afterwards.
Aside from a contactless card, your smartphone is your best friend during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can fill in and download boarding passes, Eurotunnel or ferry tickets, Passenger Locator Forms and more, so you never have to carry or hand over paperwork to which the virus might attach itself. You can also use your smartphone to pre-book tickets for local attractions whilst on holiday. Unfortunately, pre-booking is now a requirement at many events and attractions to keep numbers down and ensure social distancing can be maintained. Another COVID invention is the contactless menu at restaurants and cafés: Scan a QR code displayed at your table to read and order straight from the menu, so that no waiter contact is required.
You can also use your smartphone to check everything from travel updates to local news and weather.
While you can quite comfortably sanitise your hands with a hand sanitising solution, you might also want to keep some wipes on hand for cleaning down any surfaces you come into contact with, such as trays on trains and airplanes, tables in restaurants and even your own laptop or smartphone.
If you’ve been working throughout the pandemic, you’ll understand the importance of ensuring your clothes are washed after every outing. In a pre-COVID world, it might have been fine to wear the same shirt and jeans for a few days on the trot but in a post-COVID world, that’s simply not sensible. That means taking more clothes away with you than you typically might.
The most important thing is to not panic. Everyone is in the same boat right now and we are all adjusting at our own speeds. Remain calm, think logically and make a list of all the items you need to pack for your family holiday. If you have forgotten something, purchase it en route or on arrival. After all, you are unlikely to travel to a remote island right now with no access to the shops. So, relax and enjoy planning your post-lockdown dream holiday.