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9 tech-related tools to help you stay safe while post-pandemic traveling

Planes, trains and automobiles are packed for travel. Thanks to the vaccine, the pandemic-sheltered are ready for the great outdoors, new places to explore and ways to revel post-lockdown.

Clearly, people are ready to break free of the shackles of the pandemic and start to travel again—record numbers of people are booking flights. However, not everyone is fully vaccinated and, depending on where you're traveling, temperatures may be taken before boarding or at your destination. There may even be proof of negative COVID-19 test results required.  If you're ready to travel, it's smart to take precautions for your health and your safety. Here are nine items to make travel more comfortable and safer. 

COVID-19 Home Test from Ellume

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Image: Ellume

"As travel picks up, many destinations will require proof of either a vaccination, antibodies or a negative test," said an Ellume spokesperson. "Continued testing will remain important as a Harris poll indicates that around 10% of Americans aren't very eager to get the vaccine, though they're not really hesitant either." With Ellume's dedicated app, "users follow step-by-step instructions to perform a COVID-19 test including a self-collected mid-turbinate swab. The sample is analyzed and results are automatically transmitted to the user's smartphone via Bluetooth within 15 minutes."

$39 at CVS

UV CLEAN Portable Sanitizer Bag by Homemedics

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Image: HoMedics

There are wands and there are little boxes, but this seems to provide more "give" for items and also will keep items clean and sanitized with UV-C LED tech. The manufacturer claims it can kill 99.9% of bacteria and viruses at the DNA level 10 times faster than any other sanitizer. Interchangeable phone and platform clips keep items in place to ensure UV exposure and coverage. Free of mercury and chemicals with an advanced safety lock to prevent UV exposure, safe for children and pets, and it seems like an ideal carry-on item.

$50 at Amazon

Thermacell E55 portable mosquito repellent

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Image: Thermacell

It only looks like a portable speaker, but it's Thermacell's new portable device that provides up to a 20-foot protection zone against mosquitos, according to the manufacturer. It also provides 12 hours of continuous mosquito protection with an included scent-free refill, a 40-hour refill is sold separately.

$40 at Amazon

O2 Curve Respirator 1.2 from O2 Canada

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Image: O2

Saurabh Jindal of the Talk Travel translator app recommends the O2 Curve Respirator for "these awkward times" and explained it "provides protection from airborne particles with a tight face-seal and breathable filters and provides respiratory protection" with adjustable, "comfortable, soft silicone ear loops" that "won't disturb your hairstyle." Try to look past the fact that it looks like an athletic cup on your face. It comes with three filters.

$50 at Amazon

Sleep Number: Travel Pillow

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Image: Sleep Number

You're invariably safer if you're well-rested and comfortable. This unusually shaped travel pillow blends memory foam pieces and down-alternative fibers in an ergonomic shape. A clasp attaches to luggage. Removable, machine-washable cover. It measures 12" X 17" and there's currently a buy-one-get-one-50% off promotion. Price includes free shipping.

$50 at Sleep Number

Wynd Plus smart personal air purifier with sensor

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Image: Wynd

It weighs only one pound, so it should fit easily in a carry-on bag, or possibly in a backpack, briefcase or purse. There's a detachable air-quality sensor so you don't annoy those near you. Wynd says it purifies and kills 99.9% of germs, smoke, dander, pollen, pollution, dust and has up to an eight-hour battery life. Its filter is medical grade with antimicrobial silver. Available in black or white and Wynd describes it as the size of a water bottle and it fits in a cup holder.

$199 at Wynd

Smart Spray from SABRE

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Image: SABRE

While traveling in a wholly unfamiliar area, you might not know the status of crime in the area. Using a built-in GPS feature, SABRE's Smart Spray pepper spray alerts select friends and family via text with the user's exact whereabouts when the product is deployed.

$61 at Amazon

PowerKick from STM Goods

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Image: STM Goods

The PowerKick is a good companion for a long flight. It's a portable wireless 10,000 mAh lithium polymer power bank with suction cups to secure the charger to a smartphone or other device while charging. In addition, the power bank features a kickstand, which props the device in landscape or portrait mode, so users can watch videos and interact with their device while charging on the go. 

$70 at Amazon

EZVIZ Smart Plug

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Image: EZVIZ

The EZVIZ T30-10B-US Smart Plug is easy to slip into a suitcase and can make a stay in a hotel room, Airbnb, VRBO or family guest room as comfortable and convenient as a night at home. You can control it with an app and/or your voice. The Smart Plug provides remote control of lights, fans, computer equipment and more. It remotely controls devices through a mobile app. The AC Power plug is Wi-Fi controllable (Wi-Fi connectivity gives control over connected devices). It is designed so that adjacent plugs are not blocked.

$20 at Best Buy

By N.F. Mendoza

N.F. Mendoza is a writer at TechRepublic and based in Los Angeles. She has a BA in Broadcast Journalism and Cinema Critical Studies and a Master's of Professional Writing, both from USC. Nadine has more than 20 years experience as a journalist coveri...