14 'New Normal' Travel Essentials to Pack On Your Next Vacation

Hand sanitizer spray is the new black.

Courtesy Berkey Sport

You could say that “It’s been a year” is the understatement of the year. But with the sun shining and a serious case of stir-craziness kicking in, you did it: You booked a vacation. Maybe two. Now that plans are made, you may be wondering what pandemic-era goods you should pack, along with clothes that aren’t, you know, pajamas. As public health continues to be top of mind, hygiene and wellness essentials have more than earned their spots in your suitcase. Below, a guide to 15 functional finds to toss into your carry-on before you hit the road. 

Remember the days of using a random water fountain while on-the-go on vacay? No more. Save yourself from the ick factor and keep hydrated with this water bottle featuring a built-in micro filtration system, so you can enjoy safe drinking water whether you’re at an airport refilling station or camping by a stream or river.

Pretty Connected

You’d lose your head if it weren’t attached to your shoulders. You definitely don’t want to lose your face mask or vaccination card while sipping Bloody Marys over brunch by the beach for the first time since who even knows when. The limited-edition Yin Yang collection comes from a collaboration with pop star Kesha and is equal parts fun and functional: Use the sleek chain to safeguard your mask and the ID case to protect your vaccination card. Wear it around your neck, or attach it to your bag or belt loop if you’ll be outdoors and won’t need your mask for a bit.

Sunday Scaries

Sometimes you need a little extra something to get you in the laid-back vacation spirit, especially after a year of being on high-alert and stressed out virtually around the clock. These vegan-friendly gummies do the trick with 10 milligrams of CBD per gumdrop, and we dig the cherry, lemon, lime, and tangerine flavors (warning: the tangerine gummies may mysteriously disappear if you share a bottle with us). A one-time purchase sets you back $39 while a monthly subscription is $31.

Vive Organic

Vive Organic, $4 per shot (12-pack for $47)

It's shots, shots, shots: pandemic edition. Flood your body with good-for-you nutrients while on vacation with these organic wellness shots created with the help of holistic docs. Start your day (or attempt to revitalize yourself post-night-out) with the Pure Boost Ginger, Pure Boost Turmeric, or Immunity Boost Vitamin C. We’re also surprising converts of the newest addition to their lineup, the Wellness Rescue Garlic, said to be the first packaged garlic shot on the market. The shot has 300 milligrams of fresh, pressed garlic and 10% of your daily value of zinc, so we’ll pony up and say “cheers” to that.


Hydragun, $299 

Man, do your neck and shoulders hurt. Oh yeah, that’s what driving a car for five-turned-seven hours on a road trip feels like. Let this be the year you treat yourself to a personal massage gun to help you feel relaxed and restored after a long drive, or even just a day of hiking or beachy fun (coulda told you falling asleep on your side with your elbow over your chest would give you a weird tan line and a kink in your neck). This portable tool is lightweight, quiet, and also an excellent recovery tool for when you’re back at home with your regular gym routine.


For those who aren’t fans of plain old H2O, this recently launched brand of energy mixes made entirely of superfoods and vitamins is perfect for giving you a jolt of energy in the A.M. or helping you perk up between activities and avoid an afternoon slump. Bonus: the peach-turmeric blend makes for a lovely flavor, and you can also add it to coffee, smoothies, or your favorite kind of milk for a slew of antioxidants, a hit of caffeine from green tea, and three B-vitamins. 

The Ellume

ABCP: Always Be Covid-19 Prepared. Whether you need proof of a negative test in a jiffy or feel safer traveling knowing you can test and self-isolate as needed from the comfort of your hotel room or vacation rental, this rapid over-the-counter self-test detects the SARS-CoV-2 antigen in 15 minutes or less. Digital results are automatically sent to the user’s smartphone and the brand currently has partnerships with two major  airlines. Before traveling, be sure to review the requirements of your destination so that you know their entry protocols. If nothing else, even if you’re not traveling, consider keeping an extra test kit or two at home for peace of mind. Worth noting, if the Amazon delivery won’t make it to you in time, the test is also available at CVS.


If the idea of leaving your comb, toothbrush and the like on the bathroom counter of your hotel sends you into a germophobic spiral, we love this compact holder and rinse cup that minimizes your contact with items that aren’t yours. It also comes with two lotion and shampoo containers and a hidden compartment for cash or other essentials. Pro tip: If you’re buying more than one, purchase 'em in different colors, so everyone in your vacation pod knows which is theirs.


Ah, the lives we lived: touching our phones, touching our faces, not a care in the world. These days, you’ve likely learned that your phone can be a major hotbed for germs. That’s why we love this UV sanitizer that kills 99.9% of germs, while also allowing you to charge your phone by inserting your charger cable into the device. You can also place your keys, credit cards, earbuds, and more in the vessel, which cleans whatever you put in it in six minutes flat.

Clean Program

Look, guzzling orange juice or popping a vitamin aren’t magic bullets. But this past year-plus has made us all more aware of the importance of doing what we can to bolster our health and support our immune systems. Travel, even pre-pandemic, can make you feel rundown and tired, never mind these days with the added pandemic stressors. That’s why we dig this trio of health-supportive supplements: Guard (vitamin C), Shield (zinc), and Fortify (a herbal blend). As always, consult with a trusted healthcare professional before adding any new supplement to your routine.

Lehmann Design Haus

Get your spritz on with this convenient hand sanitizer spray that fits in your pocket or purse and uses 70% alcohol in an FDA compliant formula to halt bacteria, microbes, and microorganisms in their tracks. We’re fans of the unscented version made with soothing aloe, but if you prefer a light musk, go for the Green Mandarin version, made with certified organic green mandarin essential oil and aloe. 


How many times have your earbuds fallen out of your ears and onto the sidewalk? How many times have you winced and picked them up off the sidewalk, train station floor, or restaurant takeout line, with your newly potent germ-o-meter raging off the charts? No more. These wireless earbuds mold to the shape of your ears in under 60 seconds, so you have a secure fit. With a long-lasting charge, they’re also ideal for a long day poolside or an epic stroll around a new city.


Um, after a year and change at home, we’re calling this essential — streaming was our salvation, after all, for quite the streak last year. Use this portable gadget to plug into the back of the TV at your hotel or vacation rental so you can wind down with Bosch or The White Lotus after a long day of remembering that there’s no balm for our post-pandemic souls quite like travel.

Quake Kare

Pre-pandemic you: Who’s packing the airplane bottles of vodka? New you: Who’s got the first aid kit? With this comprehensive go-bag, you'll get a first aid kit and many more must-haves to stash in your rental car or tote along with your camping gear. We’re talking 72-hours of emergency preparedness items including food, water filtration tablets, a solar AM/FM radio and flashlight combo, four surgical face masks, four thermal blankets and ponchos, a tube tent, fluorescent light sticks, compact utility knife, etc. There’s also a pocket survival guide, but let’s hope you’ll be happily catching up on your summer reading list, instead. FYI: The kit can safely be stored in a vehicle with exposure to temperature fluctuations of -22°F to 149°F and all the goods are packed in a durable, tactical, black backpack for portability and endurance. Emergency rations have a guaranteed shelf-life of up to five years, with the option to receive a replacement supply of food and water filtration tablets as expiration dates approach.

Clorox wants to help give you confidence to get back out there. That’s why they’ve partnered with the Cleveland Clinic and CDC Foundation to form the Clorox Safer Today Alliance™, helping brands like United Airlines, Enterprise, and AMC Theaters create healthier public spaces for us all. Clorox® Disinfecting Wipes also come in convenient on-the-go sizes, so you’re covered wherever you go.