Updated September 15, 2020The U.S. has begun to dip its collective toes into the world of pandemic traveling. The airline industry may have suffered many negative impacts due to COVID-19, but flights have been steadily filling back up, and airlines are already poised to start selling middle seats again. But planes aren’t the only way to travel. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) even acknowledges that general travel has begun again and offers its tips to stay safe en route. That safety is often a prerequisite for actually enjoying the trip you’re taking – a concept we recently took a deep dive into.We collected data from 1,000 people who’d traveled since the pandemic started. They shared the safety precautions they took, the items they packed, the ways they traveled, and even how much they spent on COVID-19-related items. We then cross-referenced those answers against how much they were able to actually enjoy the trip and how well they were able to sleep. What we ultimately found was a data-backed guide on how to best keep yourself both safe and happy on a trip set against some quite unusual circumstances. Before you think of traveling anywhere, you’ll want to read what these other travelers revealed.When, Where, and How?There are still quite a few travel restrictions in place, so we first asked participants how they got to their destination amid COVID-19. We also asked them what type of lodging they chose and about some pretty intensive flying precautions, for those who traveled by plane.If in 2019 airplanes were considered “germy,” today they’re considered a potential breeding ground for a life-threatening virus. With a pandemic to consider, most people got to their destination via car (75.4 percent), as opposed to a plane (14.8 percent), but the 8.1 percent who chose to travel by train ended up enjoying their trips the most. Flyers did take some exhaustive (and expensive) precautions, however. Well over half paid more for a direct flight, and a quarter even paid for additional seats to help keep their area free of other people. Just over half said they purposely avoided using the bathroom for the duration of the flight, while 44.6 percent avoided sleeping.Once travelers arrived, 50.1 percent chose to stay in a hotel, which actually correlated with the best overall sleep as well. Hotel guests often took extensive safety precautions too: 24 percent said they skipped hotel housekeeping visits in order to minimize contact. And nearly three-quarters of hotel guests considered the size of the hotel they were staying in as a COVID-19 safety factor: 47 percent agreed that medium-sized hotels (25 to 99 guests) were ideal for pandemic safety. Perhaps this “sweet spot” ensures both a limit to guests as well as a substantially sized budget for enforcing safety protocols.Packing List for a PandemicYour packing list in 2021 will likely look different than it used to. The next portion of our study asked respondents to share the items they packed on their trips. As it turns out, some items make people feel safer for particular types of travel than others. We also dug deeper into sleep-related items here, as quality rest is a crucial ingredient for both health and happiness during a trip.A face mask was the most common safety item packed, but more than a third of travelers still didn’t bring one. Masks have been demonstrated to greatly reduce the spread of the virus, even among carriers, and are required to enter many places. Our study also showed that masks were one of the top items to help respondents feel safe whether they were traveling to hotels, short-term rentals, or motels. That said, it was actually rubber or nitrile gloves that helped people feel safer than any other item specifically in both short-term rentals and motel stays. Unfortunately, gloves were the least often carried of any safety item. Hand sanitizer (55.3 percent) and face towels (40.2 percent) were much more common, though less impactful on safety mentality.It’s a little more difficult to sanitize bedding. Things like wipes and hand sanitizer won’t exactly cut it. But people who brought their own pillows were able to sleep much better at night than travelers who did not. Pillow-packers were even more likely to sleep well than the rare few who packed rubber gloves or even bed linens. Hand sanitizer and disinfectant spray, in comparison, didn’t influence a good night’s rest. It’s important to note that poor sleep compromises the immune system – not something we want during a pandemic, or ever.Money Well SpentAs our study drew to a close, we wanted to take one last look at how much it’s actually costing pandemic travelers to improve their pandemic-related safety. We asked participants how much they had spent thus far on COVID-19 safety items and assessed how much they were able to enjoy their trips. We also took a look at how the amount spent changed depending on the method and location of their travels.The longer the trip, the more cleaning supplies travelers needed. Those who spent six or more days traveling spent an average of $52 on cleaning disinfectant alone. They also spent an average of $47 on face shields, $34 on hand sanitizer, and $31 on masks. But even people who went out of town for just one or two days said they also spent $33 on their mask supply.Trains, though they correlated with the most enjoyable trips, also required passengers to spend the most on protective measures. Train travelers spent an average of $54 on pandemic-related supplies, compared to flyers who spent $40 and drivers who spent $29. Airplane passengers may have been able to save money here as the airlines themselves are often offering disinfectant wipes for free. The pandemic has also made the price of the plane ticket itself historically cheap, providing a second money-save for plane travelers. In terms of types of lodging, short-term rental travelers ultimately spent the most on safety items.Travel SafeWhether essential or not, be as safe as possible when you travel and find ways to increase your personal sense of safety so you can enjoy yourself while taking necessary precautions. Though it’s not always simple to do so, bringing certain necessities can help you feel more at ease during your excursions.Jasmin Lee, sleep editor at eachnight offered interesting insights from our study:“The survey results showed that those traveling during the pandemic, no matter the trip purpose, brought along a kit of COVID-19 safety supplies and spent more money to travel safely, especially when flying. But there are certain items that made more of an impact than others, which means travelers can be strategic about their packing. Maybe this means packing rubber gloves in case you need to interact with public surfaces, bringing your own food to limit time spent at dining venues, and prioritizing sanitizing supplies over comfort items like pillows and linens if you’re short on space. If you’re traveling by train, expect to spend a little more on your supplies, and if you really need to prioritize your sleep, bring a high-quality pillow, preferably in a protective case or bag.”Though wearing your mask and hand sanitizing, as well as limiting your exposure during your travel, will help protect your immune system, poor sleep won’t do it any favors. Quality sleep helps keep you healthy and happy and, if you’re traveling for work or vacation, it can help you get the most out of your trip. If you’re not sure where to start looking for that perfect packable pillow or other on-the-road sleep essentials, start with eachnight. At eachnight.com, you can compare thousands of customer reviews and browse some of the best sleep products and mattress deals available today. After all, a good night’s sleep matters whether you’re traveling or not.Methodology and LimitationsWe surveyed 1,000 respondents who traveled amid COVID-19 (since March 2021) in order to explore their packing essentials for their trips. Respondents ranged in age from 18 to 73, with a mean age of 35 and a standard deviation of nine years. Forty percent of our respondents identified as female and 60 percent identified as male. Respondents were asked to specify their method of transportation and type of lodging during their trip, their trip duration in days, as well as the items they purchased specifically for their trip and what they spent on each. We also asked respondents to rate their sleep quality and level of enjoyment while traveling.Survey data has certain limitations related to self-reporting. Among these limitations are telescoping, exaggeration, and selective memory. We didn’t weight our data or statistically test our hypotheses. This was a purely exploratory project that examines the way people travel during the COVID-19 outbreak.Fair Use StatementAs traveling opens more and more, it’s important we keep one another safe. One key way to do that is to share related information. If you know someone who could benefit from the findings of our study, please feel free to share this article. Just be sure your purposes are noncommercial and that you link back to this page.This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional. Comments Cancel replyLeave a CommentYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * Comment Name Email I agree to the Terms and Conditions of this website.