Please sign in to post.

Post-pandemic packing - have you changed what you take?

I have just come back from a 60 day trip and realised that post-pandemic and lockdowns I am much more comfortable with how I look.

On my recent trip there were items I took and didn't use, but have used on previous trips.

  • I took makeup, but only used one lipstick. Didn't bother with foundation, mascara or eyeshadow - so also didn't need the makeup remover I took. I got out of the habit of wearing makeup when we all stayed home for two years.
  • I took hair products (curl control and hydration), but didn't use them. I think I got used to having frizzy hair during lockdown and just can't be bothered anymore. Now I just put it in a ponytail when it's misbehaving.
  • I took earrings (six pairs), but only wore two and only for "special occasions". I lost a few earrings trying to wear them with face masks so also just stopped wearing them. One pair will be enough for my next trip.

Next trip, I will leave these "beauty" items at home.

Has anyone else found their travel "must haves" have changed since the pandemic?

EDIT: We take N95 masks, test kits and clip on finger pulse-oxygen monitor. I got COVID when we were in Sweden in 2022 and the pulse-oxygen monitor was really helpful to know it wasn't too serious.

Posted by
85 posts

I'm still in pandemic-brain mode, due to my health conditions. I take KN-95 masks, wear them everywhere indoors, and make no apologies for caring for my personal safety. I avoid indoor cafes and restaurants, preferring to eat outside. So, when I travel in spring and fall I make sure my outerwear is suitable for cool weather. I make sure I know how to contact a doctor and whether pharmacies can be found open on Sundays. I wear sun gloves, especially on public transport, and wash them every night.

Posted by
14177 posts

I think the only difference is that I also take N95 masks and a few Covid test kits. Oh, I also take a small baby shampoo to use with my saline nasal rinse as it supposedly helps stop viruses and bacteria from replicating.

Yep, no earrings and I quit wearing makeup when I retired.

Posted by
6858 posts

No difference for me except taking some masks. I don't bring test kits since it's so easy to find them in Europe. Last year when I was in Germany for a month, I only had to buy one. I do bring cold remedies with me, which I did not do in the past (although I probably should have one year, as I was searching the streets of Vienna in the evening looking for a pharmacy).

I'm with Pam on the makeup - once retirement hit, I got rid of most of it. I keep a few things for special occasions but don't travel with it. And I'm not a jewelry person in "real" life so I don't bring any jewelry with me.

Posted by
4574 posts

I have been reducing what I take since before covid, so really no reduction. I'll still pack makeup and my few earrings. In fact, I may take more jewelry next trip as it will be a winter long stay and I may want to spruce up a very limited wardrobe (for my satisfaction, not the general public). I will continue to add masks and tests, though more fabric masks and fewer N95s. I resent the space needed for my Canadian tests, but my travel lately has been rather remote, or on the go with tours, so tests needed to be packed. I'll pack fewer for next travel as will have ready pharmacy access.

Posted by
561 posts

I found that the pandemic made me happier to wear clothes for longer than a day, and much more relaxed about personal vanity, so I’ve cut down on the number of clothes I take (I do the armpit sniff test) and completely stopped taking make-up and hair products with me, just a good SPF moisturiser.

I’m still clean, honestly.

Posted by
998 posts

I’m still clean, honestly.

I believe you. During lockdown over winter and working from home, my "morning shower" became a little less reliable. Passing the sniff test was good enough if it meant I could stay in my warm bed for a few minutes longer.

Posted by
6858 posts

I’ve cut down on the number of clothes I take (I do the armpit sniff test)

If you ever need a quick odor remedy, buy a miniature bottle of vodka and dab the underarms of your clothing with it. Vodka is a great odor remover and doesn't have extra chemicals like Febreez. We used to use it a lot when I worked in theatre, since many of the elaborate gowns we built for historic shows could only be dry-cleaned once a week.

Posted by
561 posts

Good tip, Mardee. Also Mitchum antiperspirant is brilliant (on armpits rather than clothes, but means clothes less likely to smell).

Posted by
272 posts

Not just packing, but everyday life:

Makeup: Pandemic taught me that mascara, chapstick and a little powder to cut the forehead shine is plenty. Although without the mask I due tend to use a little blush gel to brighten up and maybe some lipstick occasionally. And as I'm getting more "Arctic blonde" these days I'm considering getting my eyebrows dyed.

Hair: My hair is less frizzy when I don't blow it dry. So I don't pack a hair dryer. If I need one, the hotel usually has one. If I'm going to stay with family or friends I might take a very small foldable one. Depends on what we'll be doing.

Frizz control? Some leave-in conditioner does the trick. A good wash-and-wear cut helps too.

Jewelry: My watch that I always wear and earrings that stay in 24/7 unless there is a special occasion to dress up for.

Covid: I have some KN95 masks that I take along. Even though I'm fully vaccinated and boosted, I wore them on the planes and in the airports while traveling domestically at Xmas. Also took a small atomizer of rubbing alcohol to sanitize them so I could re-wear them. I also had a couple of fabric masks. I never bought any test kits. I probably should, but I guess I trust that I'll be able to get tested somewhere or someone will be able to deliver some to me. Hand sanitizer: I have had a small purse-size bottle in my purse from before Covid, but now I also take more in my toiletries kit.

Posted by
16744 posts

We have been to Italy twice recently. We take N95 masks (and wear them on the plane), 2 or 3 1-oz. bottles of hand sanitizer, an oximeter, and a box of 5 test kits. Nothing else in my packing is different.

We used the test kits on both trips—-the first trip to confirm that we did indeed have covid; the second time to reassure ourselves that we did not.

Posted by
14177 posts

Oh gosh…I forgot! Lola’s post just reminded me I do have an oximeter and thermometer. They are deep in my suitcase and just live there, lol.

Posted by
1441 posts

We've spent 10 weeks in Italy on two trips since 2020. I haven't used beauty products for the last 50+ years, so nothing's changed there. We should have taken an oximeter, but didn't --- will take one this year. We took N95 masks (and wore them religiously) even though they are readily available in Italy because I am weirdly picky about what color they are, not liking to wear white, black, blue, or pastel colors. We took test kits and used them because we both got colds. The main additional thing we packed was enough of our various medications (and hypo-allergenic soap, shampoo, and laundry sheets) for staying an extra 3 weeks, just in case one or both of us got covid right at the end of the trip. Undoubtedly, taking the surprisingly bulky extra 3 weeks worth of stuff kept us from getting covid!

Posted by
5052 posts

I've ditched the makeup and jewelery too, except for some lipstick and my wedding rings and watch. I do pack N95 masks, a few tests, and hand sanitizer. And I've expanded my medication kit with more OTC meds just in case.

Posted by
16744 posts

Pam—-we actually did not have the oximeter with us on the first trip. I realized my mistake when my husband (a retired physician) was asked by our hiking guide to evaluate someone who became weak and dizzy 5 miles into a 10-mile hike in the Dolomites, far from help. He immediately asked me for the oximeter and I realized I had forgotten to pack it (and even if I had, I likely would not have brought it on the hike). But fortunately her condition was not serious, and she was able to continue after she rested a bit and consumed the water and salty snacks the doctor ordered.

So when we got covid later in the trip we did not have the oximeter to monitor things.fortunately neither of us was sick enough to need our oxygen levels checked. In fact, apart from a slight headache for an hour or so, and a lingering cough, I didn’t feel sick at all. He had some fatigue and the same cough, but that was all.

When we got home I added the oximeter to our packing list in bold letters. And then we had no need of it the next time.

Posted by
14177 posts

I’ve never needed the oximeter but would up having to buy a super-duper model when I decided I had to have one so use the app for biofeedback relaxation, lol.

Yikes to the hiker becoming ill! I would have left it in the room too!

Posted by
2874 posts

Interesting topic AussieNomad. Lots of my packing has not changed.

  • Since Covid, I still wear a mask most places at home so I pack masks, thermometer and test kits. I got Covid two weeks after getting home from France last year. Not a fun experience and have had higher blood pressure ever since. It's more bulk than weight.
  • I quit wearing make-up when I retired eight years ago. My dry eyes object to mascara.
  • I don't go anywhere without sunscreen or face cream with SPF after having melanoma.
  • Last year I didn't wear all the earrings I took or my Minnie Mouse watch. I could get by on less. But the earrings don't weigh much, so I'll take them again. Minnie will probably stay home since I can't read the dial without my reading glasses.

I must be trying to justify what I take and don't take. It sound more like a medical evaluation than a packing list, LOL.

Posted by
4574 posts

@Pam, you are the first person I have ever heard mention even knowing what biofeedback is! It was so helpful at a time in my life. I most likely should have kept it up.

Posted by
577 posts

Like others we are still packing N95 masks, test kits, thermometer etc. We are going to France in 2 weeks, our 3rd trip to Europe since 2019. We plan to still be careful so will bring some basic plastic plates, cutlery for any picnics in our room in case the weather isn’t cooperating for outside eating. Clothes list is pretty much the same compared to pre 2020.

Posted by
998 posts

and hypo-allergenic soap

Next trip I need to take more of this.

Naively I assumed that the Dove Sensitive soap that I use at home (and had previously been able to get in Switzerland and Norway) would be readily available in Spain. Not so, it was impossible to find any unscented soap (soap doesn't seem to be generally used in Spain) so I had to bathe with my unscented shampoo bar for the last two weeks of our 9 week trip! Worked out OK, but next time I will take more soap.

Posted by
7410 posts

I still bring my small amount of makeup and also earrings and a necklace. No changes there. I actually dressed up a little more during all of the 2020 quarantine - both to feel more cheery, and I thought my husband would appreciate it. ; )

@khansen, I liked your description of “Arctic Blonde”! ; ) I decided to reveal my true haircolor last month since I have a long trip coming up. My hair stylist spent four hours removing all of the brown - whew! I guess I will be bringing more makeup because I picked up a tiny $3 elf eyeshadow to give my eye area a little more color with this change.

In 2022, I brought Covid N95 masks, home kits, 2 of the proctored home kits (very bulky but lightweight), and a sandwich Ziploc bag of Purell single use packets. For the 2023 trips, I will bring less N95 masks and 3-4 Covid home tests. I really like the single use Purell for traveling in general, so those will be packed. And I will need to bring my CDC card since I’m taking a RS tour this year.

Since Covid, I bring 2-3 extra weeks instead of just one extra week of my prescription medicines, just in case. One of them needs to be taken daily without interruption and fortunately is a tiny pill, so it’s not a big inconvenience.

Posted by
7410 posts

Per the deodorant & clothes washing discussion, I brought this crystal deodorant on trips for the past five years after testing it at home. I tried it because it doesn’t need to go into the TSA 311 bag, but the benefit is that it keeps my clothes smelling clean much longer. I usually wash everything between wearings, but I was able to wear my dresses 2-3 times sometimes without them having any smell, plus it was nice to not have to remove the aluminum solid antiperspirant from armpits when hand-washing clothes in the sink.

CRYSTAL™ Travel Stick Mineral Deodorant - Unscented Body Deodorant With 24-Hour Odor Protection, Non-Staining & Non-Sticky, Aluminum Chloride & Paraben Free, 1.5 FL OZ

Posted by
2167 posts

KHansen and Jean--I too am starting to "embrace the gray" as I call it. I like the term Arctic Blonde better;) My hairdresser has been working on it for a couple of months and so far I get a lot of compliments. My eyebrows need a bit of color now though.

The only big change for me with the pandemic is that I carry masks with us. I think I will pack the oximeter for our Iceland trip though since we will be in a very remote area. I do take more OTC with me now than before. I used to take just like 2 pills of say Advil and Tylenol, but now I bring a few days worth just in case. Oh and I do bring a few extra underwear in case we get stuck and can't get home as planned.

I wear minimal makeup. Blush if I am going out, but otherwise just a touch of eyeliner and mascara. I don't bother with lipstick or even chapstick on a day to day basis, but will take chapstick for the hiking trip due to the wind.

Posted by
14177 posts

And AussieNomad…hope you are hard at work on a trip report!! Would love to know how your trip went and what you worked put for your feet!!

@Maria…re the biofeedback, lol. Career as a hospital social worker! I was actually shocked that the oximeter had a relaxation component. I’d decided at the last minute in Fall 2021 that I needed one after reading Cameron Hewitt’s blog post. I ran put to several local pharmacies and there were none available as the local area was having a Covid spike. I finally found an expensive one, grabbed it and when I got home started trying to figure out why it was so much. The app and the bells and whistles was the answer!