Airlines all around the world have made wearing a face mask on board mandatory to enhance the safety of crew and passengers from COVID-19, and that requirement seems like it’s here to stay. Wearing a face mask for long periods of time, however, can get tiring and uncomfortable. As we've all learned in the past year, foggy glasses, tired ears, and irritated skin are just a few of the discomforts we experience while wearing face masks every day. Add to that a long-haul flight from Tokyo to New York, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a disgruntled traveler.
We’ve made it our mission to make business travelers happy, and comfort is key to achieving that goal. That’s why we compiled a list of the 7 best, most breathable, reusable face masks for air travel so that you can arrive at your destination on top form. All of the masks recommended on this list are unisex and work best when all health & safety requirements are respected. This includes social distancing and regular hand washing.
Without further ado, the best face masks for safe travels.
1. Best mask for skincare
According to dermatologists, a common side effect of the mask rubbing against your skin every day is the creation of micro-tears. This makes it easier for dirt to enter, clog up our pores, and lead to acne breakout. The Slip Reusable Face Masks are a great option to avoid “maskne”. Made of 100% mulberry silk with a cotton lining, the soft fabric these masks are made of is a lot gentler on the skin than polyester or rayon alternatives. The breathable fabric won’t irritate your skin and will leave you feeling protected and comfortable throughout your flight.
2. Best mask for glasses-wearers
If you’ve worn any kind of glasses since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, you’ll know that foggy glasses are a persistent reality. The UNIQLO AIRism mask is a great solution to this problem. The mask's special fabric, optimized based on customer feedback by the UNIQLO team, absorbs moisture to its outer surface and quickly dries it. That prevents it from sticking to the area around your nose and mouth. Now, you read and catch up on emails during flight time without the nuisance of foggy glasses!
3. Best ear-friendly mask
Oakley's Mask Fitted Lite is an excellent choice for anyone who is bothered by the pressure of masks to the back of the ear. These wrap-around face masks are supported by your head and neck (that's right, say goodbye to uncomfortable ear loops!) and feature exclusive hydrolix moisture-wicking technology. It also boasts great breathability, as well as anti-odor technology. That makes it ideal for both sporty travelers and those of us who just can't handle an 8-hour flight with mask straps putting pressure on our ears.
4. Best filter mask
One of the masks with the best filtration system on the market is the är Nanofilter Mask, which contains a 3-layer nano filter insert that blocks up to 99.8% of particulates. The filter is pre-fitted into a filter pocket, follows the same shape as the mask itself, and has an aluminum strip embedded in the nose bridge, creating a perfect fit for your face and optimizing breathability. Just to keep you extra safe, these masks are also treated with a Swedish antimicrobial treatment called ViralOff, and the exterior itself is also water repellant.
5. Best mask for when you're feeling off
While you really shouldn’t travel if you’re feeling ill, sometimes we can get a sore throat or a cough from the AC, dry air, or minor allergies, for example. The WiseProtec Anti-Viral Breathe Better Mask contains organic compounds from the camphor tree, used in ayurvedic medicine to treat a sore throat. It also contains Echinacea extract to help you with any congestion issues or light coughs. This is a great option for anyone traveling long-haul with a sensitive throat or respiratory system!
6. Silicone mask storage clip
OK, so it’s not exactly a mask, but it’s still worth mentioning. Reusable masks are a great tool, if treated properly and kept clean - they’re worse than useless after they’ve been shoved in your pocket or bag. If for whatever reason, you need to take your mask off during your trip, it’s a good idea to store it safely in a portable mask storage clip like this one (order it on Amazon) to protect it from dust, moisture, or whatever pollutants might be floating around.
... that we're all in this together. Mask wearing is an essential part of traveling safely and comfortably during this time. In order for us to get back to traveling without propagating the spread of COVID-19 further, we all need to behave respectfully and follow all health and safety guidelines. Here are a few things you can do to make sure you're traveling as safely as possible.
Stay informed of all travel restrictions and safety advice
Make sure you have the most up-to-date information on travel restrictions and safety advice both at home and at your destination. Organize your trip with a travel platform that can provide you with real-time data on the latest requirements both before you book and in the days leading up to your trip. Make sure you're being notified of these changes through live alerts of any changes that may affect your trip.
Always check your airline's PPE requirements
Don't forget to check in with your airline's health and safety requirements before heading to the airport. The face coverings recommended on this list are not surgical masks (disposable face masks), which may be mandatory aboard your flight. Most of these masks feature filter pockets into which surgical masks can be inserted, and are all machine washable.
Don't forget to sanitize
Washing your hands with soap and water is the most effective way to get rid of COVID-19 germs. That's not always available when you're traveling, so you make sure to keep hand sanitizer in your carry-on and use it frequently. Especially after coming into contact with common-touch spaces and before touching your face or enjoying a meal. Check CDC guidelines for more on public health.
Maintain a safe distance at all times
Try to keep a safe distance from those around you especially people you don't live with. This applies equally when you're traveling. Do your best to keep a distance of 2 meters between yourself and other passengers, where possible. Most airports and train stations will have social distancing markers on the floor indicating where you should stand while waiting to board your flight, for example.
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