dugout canoe on beach

The new normal? Travel Essentials for when borders open

Destinations worldwide are now lifting travel restrictions and we are ready. Let’s take a look at how we will travel in the near future.

The COVID-19 has had a massive impact on the travel industry and there is no denying that this is going to change the way we travel in what we now call the “new normal”.

Rapid change is currently happening, and businesses are constantly adjusting to health standards required by health authorities in their countries.

Let’s take a look at some essential items that you need for traveling post-COVID-19.

Disclaimer: We are not medical professionals. Please don’t take this as official medical advice.

As avid adventure travelers ourselves, we are constantly on the lookout for ways to make our travel easier and a bit enjoyable rather than the stressful part of the journey that it is.

In this article, we focus on air travel but the same items and principles apply to train sea and other public transportation services.

If you are traveling soon or just planning to do so, take a look at the items below that you want to have with you at all times.


topo mask

Nowadays, wearing masks are mandatory for most airlines and in almost all airports. Some airlines provide them, but we strongly recommend that you buy your own.

When choosing masks, look for those who have adjustable metal nose clamps. These clamps offer users a better face-hugging fit. A good seal around the face where the mask’s rim sits is crucial for preventing unwanted pathogens from getting into your breathing space and from getting out when you are feeling ill.

Adjustability for fit is limited at this stage, especially for the regular ear looped masks. Forward-thinking manufacturers like Tom Bihn and Topo Designs  provide great adjustability for a safe and comfortable fit. Masks will continue to get better as we move along so keep looking around for one that you like.

Cloth masks are highly recommended. They are durable, reusable, washable, and environmentally friendly, compared to single-use disposable masks. They are also very comfortable and comfort is key. If the mask is comfortable to wear, it makes it easier for us to keep them on.

No matter how good your mask is, there are certain practices to follow to keep things safe and clean.

Remember to sanitize or wash your hands before putting your mask on, and before and after removing the mask. Sanitizing and washing your hands is a big part of wearing a mask safely. Also, try your best to avoid touching the front of your mask.

This is easier said than done though as we do this subconsciously, to scratch itches, or adjust the mask. Best to try to be conscious about touching your face and avoid it as much as you can.

Mask storage is also very important. A zip lock bag or a zippered bag organizer is a good storage solution when traveling.

When in a pinch, our fishing buffs are an acceptable alternative but is not a full substitute for a dedicated face mask. Wear your buff while looking for your dedicated face mask or buy one as soon as you can.

If the mask is comfortable to wear, it makes it easier for us to keep them on.

Bring your pen

When traveling, you’ll most likely need to fill out customs and immigration forms and all that. You’ll want to use your pen to avoid secondary transmission of nasties.

No more borrowing from other passengers or using the communal pens available at the airport.

Water bottles

Yeti Rambler bottle

If you still don’t travel with your water bottles, now is the time.

Buying water at the airport can be expensive and potentially expose you to unwanted nasties. Bottled water is also very wasteful when you consider how much plastic is used daily at the airport.

When you bring your bottle, you know exactly where it has been, and you know it is safe to use.

Insulated bottles with wide mouths are highly recommended as they hold a bit more fluids and are easy to clean. They also keep your cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot.

Remember, there might not be any food and drinks service on flights anymore, so it pays to have your drinks with you.

If you haven’t yet, I suggest you copy and paste this section of the article as this is the perfect pitch for the wife when you buy a new Yeti Rambler.

And yes, airport security allows reusable water bottles made out of plastic or stainless steel. They’ll most likely ask you to dump out the water and scan the bottle but after that, you’ll be good to go.

Hand sanitizer

person wearing face mask spraying sanitizer on hand

Keeping your hands clean is one of the best ways to stay safe from COVID related nasties and all the other bad stuff as well.

It may always not be practical to wash your hands every few minutes with soap and water so bring your favorite isopropyl based hand sanitizer with you in a reusable spray bottle with you.

As of writing, hand sanitizer is now cheap and easy to find after all the hoopla, so there is no excuse to not have a bottle with you.


Having your phone fully charged and a battery bank with you is of utmost importance.

You will use your phone for online check-in procedures as most airlines allow this. You can have your boarding pass on your phone ready to go. This limits interactions with other people and voids a physical document to pass back and forth between people.

Make sure to download the airline’s mobile app in advance so you get updates, announcements, and information regarding online check-in procedures.

Apart from checking-in, contactless payments on your phone are easier and safer when you want to purchase food and drinks before your flight. No credit cards or cash needed to change hands.

After all the use your phone has been through, regularly disinfecting it is a good habit to develop.

Alcohol wipes work well for disinfecting your phone. If not available, spray on your hand sanitizer and wipe with a facial tissue.

Disinfecting wipes

While airlines have introduced stringent cleaning policies to disinfect airplane interiors, it is still a good idea to carry around your wipes.

If you need to touch something with your hands, give it a good once over with a wipe before touching it.

If you can’t find any travel-friendly packs, store some wipes in a zip lock bag to keep them moist and fresh throughout the trip.

These wipes can be used on everything you are carrying around. Your bag, phone, glasses. And the surfaces that you have to touch like chairs, tables, seat belt buckles among others.

Snacks and food

Most airlines provide limited food and beverage services on flights. So, make sure to pack your snacks to avoid getting hungry during your flight.

Resealable zip lock bags or reusable plastic containers are the way to go to keep your snacks fresh.

Sling bag / Man bag / Fanny pack

bellroy sling bag

Apart from your regular carry-on bag, you can get away with another small sling bag or man bag on your person. The sling bag is great for carrying all your travel essentials in an easy to reach location.

Put your phone, passport, hand sanitizer, headphones, wallet, pen, glasses, mask, and some snacks in it and you’ll be laughing.

As mentioned earlier, there is a rapid change in the world and businesses are constantly adjusting to health standards and requirements. We will all learn as we go along so we can expect constant improvement in all things travel.

Remember to always keep safe by washing your hands regularly, and practice safe social distancing. We hope to see you soon here in Vanuatu!

Do you have all the essentials listed above? Let us know what brands you have and if you can recommend them to our adventure travel community. 

If you are looking for a true sport fishing company that offers you more than just a Vanuatu fishing adventure, look no further than Ocean Blue Fishing.

Call us now at (AU) 1300 564 616 or at (INTL) +61 436 020322 or you may also contact us through our website at https://oceanbluefishing.com/enquire

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The new normal? Travel Essentials for when borders open

John is originally from the Philippines. John has extensive guiding experience throughout Asia and...Learn more

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