What to pack for your first international trip post-Covid


Your packing list may look a little different than it did in 2020. Photo / Unsplash

Planning a big trip? Sarah Pollock looks at the essential items to throw in your travel bag.

As a long-time travel lover, my personal “packing list” has been used a lot over the years.

However, when planning for my first international trip since January 2020 (which will involve 49 hours of travel each way), you can bet I made some revisions.

Here are some items which will make the long flights and airport layovers a little easier.

Disinfecting wipes

You may get weird looks as you wipe around your plane seat, hotel room door or public toilet but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Since disinfectants kill bacteria and viruses, you’ll want to look for this in the product, not just antibacterial.

N95 face mask

In New Zealand, masks are required in certain areas under orange, including airports, while many countries overseas no longer mandate masks on flights and in transport hubs. Regardless, I’ll be packing and wearing a few N95 face masks not just for protection against Covid but to evade picking up a typical flu or cold while on long-haul flights and layovers.

Multi-plug adapter

After years of domestic travel, these objects may seem foreign but are essential for every traveler heading abroad. I use an Epicka Universal Travel Adapter, which can accommodate 150 countries using handy sliders, plus it has USB ports so you can charge your devices at the same time.

Hand sanitiser can be helpful while moving through airports and on flights.  Photo / Unsplash
Hand sanitiser can be helpful while moving through airports and on flights. Photo / Unsplash

Hand sanitiser

Pandemic aside, a small bottle of hand sanitiser is an easy way to keep your hands free from bacteria while moving through busy airports, public toilets and on flights. Just ensure it’s alcohol-based with at least 60 per cent alcohol.

Fanny pack

They used to be a staple for obnoxious tourists but now fanny packs are back in fashion. Although, this time, they’re called “belt bags” and are sold by trendy sports stores like Lululemon. Regardless, these bags are perfect for carrying things you need close at hand like Covid-19 documents, passports, vaccination cards and other small items.

Water bottle

Talk to any seasoned traveler and they’ll tell you hydration is key while traveling, especially on planes. To avoid using public water fountains or having to ask the flight crew for a drink, I’ll be packing a sturdy water bottle to keep me hydrated during those 49 hours.

Packing cubes

If your itinerary bounces around cities, countries, or locations, packing cubes are the secret weapon you need. Instead of rumbling through a suitcase every day, wasting time and crumpling your stuff, cubes keep your gear compact, easy to reach and fresh, by having one for dirty clothing too.


From closed airport shops to delayed flights, it’s highly possible you could go a little longer between proper meals than usual, so it’s worth tucking a few muesli bars into your carry-on. Just keep note of any destinations that require food products to be declared.


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