We travel for many reasons. Spending time with family and friends, or just giving yourself a break is important and often needed. Whether your travels are for enjoyment, work or duty; missing items can be distressing, and may abruptly prevent you from traveling.
Limitations on what you can bring can add to the anxiety of your preparations. With severe limits on what can be carried on a flight, and concerns about checking in luggage – prioritizing what you carry discerns the savvy traveler. We used to just pick up and go, but that no longer flies.
So what is most important today? Advance preparation with keeping an eye on COVID pandemic restrictions en route and at your destination. With information changing constantly, monitoring for needs such as immunization status documents and public measures are now more important than checking for the weather on arrival.
What you can buy at your destination is often dropped to the bottom of your packing list. So what items are high priority? Your healthcare should be at the top of your list:
- Needed travel documentation which will not expire for the duration of your travel time
- Payment methods (hard currency, accepted credit cards or e-currency)
- Prescription medication
- Health records (eye prescription, conditions, medication record)
- Travel / Health Insurance information
- Contact numbers for healthcare providers
Plan ahead, as high priority items may require time to acquire.
- Getting sufficient medication may require a physician visit and time for a pharmacy to acquire your medication (especially larger quantities)
- Updating immunization
- Purchase and/or acquire insurance information
- Emergency contact information (doctor, pharmacy, insurance provider)
Know what pandemic protocols are in place at your destination, consider what if you get COVID, or present with symptoms of cold or flu?
- Public travel restrictions (flights, trains, bus, taxi, access to public places, including eateries)
- Concerns with accommodations (extended stay, restrictions)
- Where may you seek information, treatment or help
Depending on what you find, it may add to your packing priorities. Should you have medication on hand to treat minor symptoms such as fever, pain or traveler’s diarrhea?
Plan for the unexpected. Plan for buffer time and be flexible. What if there is a travel delay? Do you have sufficient medication, contact lenses and solutions for an extended stay? Having prescription, insurance and health records accessible can speed healthcare access and treatment if it’s needed. Have a backup in case your phone is lost.
Let trusted people know your travel plans. Close friends and family can help scan for information leading up to and during your travels. Have emergency contacts on the ready. Did you know your pharmacist can help? Let your pharmacist know in advance that you are planning to travel, the sooner the better. Your Pharmacist can help you prepare so that you have sufficient medication, appropriate over the counter medications and vaccinations for your destination. Your pharmacy can also print your medication record for your travel documents.