Quarantine packing: Our handy guide to packing for mandatory self isolation

Preparing for mandatory quarantine? We've put together a handy guide to help you pack for your self isolation holiday
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Port Rack Quarantine Packing Feature Image

You may have seen Palisa Anderson’s recent article in The Guardian about her experience in mandatory quarantine. While there a quite a few places that you can travel without quarantining, many countries and states are requiring self isolation for 14 days in a hotel. We’ve put together a quarantine packing guide to help you pack.

“I approached the next two weeks of my life as though I was setting up a transient apartment – I couldn’t cook with heat, the windows won’t open, and I couldn’t leave – but once you get into that mindset and a place of acceptance, the rest is pretty easy.”

Palisa Anderson

We loved Palisa’s packing list, which heavily features food. Hardly surprising as the owner of the world renown Boon Luck Farm. An organic farm in the Byron hinterland that supplies the family’s Chat Thai cafes and Sydney restaurants, Momofuku, Quay and Ester.

Using Palisa’s top tips, we’ve put together a handy guide to help you pack and possibly even enjoy the experience. 

What to pack for mandatory quarantine?

  • Heathy snacks. Roasted nuts, such as chickpeas and almonds, are full of vitamins and can be used in salads. Medjool dates are great if you’re feeling like something sweet. Dried fruit, such as coconut and mangoes, are nutritious and handy to add to sweet or savoury dishes. We like the Pip & Nut squeeze packs, which come in packs of 20. 
  • Coffee. We pack whole beans, a grinder, a V60 and filters when we travel. If you prefer drip coffee, the Clever Dripper is great. Support your local coffee roasters and take something special with you. We love Square Mile and Allpress.
  • Tea. We prefer loose tea leaves. If you’re of a similar mind, you’ll need a tea infuser. We like the humble infuser tongs, lightweight and easy to pack. Pack your favourite teas, including herbal infusions. Include a variety because even if you can’t go out, your mouth can. We like the sample bags from Good & Proper Tea.
  • Chocolate. Pump Street have you covered with their mini bar selection, four of their most popular chocolates in petite 20g mini bars.
Port Rack Quarantine Packing List 1
  • Soup and noodles. Think like a student! Packets of noodles and soup, such as miso, can make a quick healthy meal. Add some seaweed and chilli powder and you’ll have a tasty meal in minutes.
  • Bowl. A little bowl can also function as a cup. Pack something lovely that you love as you’ll be using it a lot. We really like this Matcha Bowl.
  • Plate. While meals may be provided, you might not be happy with what’s on offer. Pack a plate so you can make your own meals. We like the Flow Plate in black from Ferm Living, it’s not too big, not too small.
  • Cutlery. Make sure that you don’t have anything wooden. Chopsticks should be metal or plastic. We like Muji’s cutlery which isn’t too expensive but still has a good weight. H&M also have a nice single set in polished gold.
Port Rack Quarantine Packing List 2
  • Chopping board. We really like this Joseph Joseph chopping board with integrated colander. The Rinse&Chop™ Plus is great as a travel chopping board, storing flat but able to fold to form a curved colander at one end to rinse food. The locking hole also doubles as hanging point.
  • A knife. We like the Kai Pure Komachi Fruit Knife with Sheath. Perfect for your mandatory staycation, as well as future picnics. It’s not too expensive either. Pack it in your check-in luggage.
  • Cloth napkins or small cloths. Elevate your meals and use them to dry your dishes. Easily washed each day and quick to dry. We like these simple linen napkins from H&M that come in a range of colours.
  • Dishwashing detergent and a dish scourer. We like the Palm Scrub™ Washing-up Brush from Joseph Joseph. Compact with an integrated reservoir for washing up liquid, which can be filled before you leave, it’s perfect for your stay. Bring along a small bottle of detergent to top it up.
  • Grater. If you’re making some serious salads, this grater from Jospeh Joseph couldn’t be more useful. The Handi-Grate™ 2-in-1 Mini Grater & Slicer is beautifully compact. With blades on either side, you can easily grate or slice small foods such as garlic, ginger and mini vegetables.
Port Rack Quarantine Packing List 3
  • Loungewear. You’re not going out anywhere fancy so it’s all about comfort. Feel good by taking clothes that make you feel relaxed but confident, especially if you’re working and on Zoom calls. Look for breathable, natural materials. We love Olivia von Halle’s Missy Moscow striped silk and cashmere-blend sweatshirt and track pants set. Uniqlo also have a great range of stylish loungewear.
  • Slippers. Look for something warm and comfortable that suits your style. We like Lauren Manoogian’s slippers in a natural oat hue. Handmade from fluffy alpaca-blend, and leather-lined and soled, you will feel like you’re at a luxury resort. We’re also big fans of Camper’s slippers, which come in a huge range of colours.
  • Aromatherapy. There’s a reason why so many hotels and fashion boutiques include aromatherapy as part of their customer experience. Smell is part of the limbic system, the part of the brain that controls our emotions, memories and behaviour. Lean into your experience by making it feel like a retreat. We love the portable aroma diffuser from Muji, which is cordless and charged via a USB connection. Alternatively pack Aēsop’s States of Being, a trio of room sprays, to create a sense of ambience.
  • Yoga mat. You need to exercise to keep your mind and body healthy. We like the Manduka eKO Superlight Travel Yoga & Pilates Mat. It’s very light, has good grip and is sustainable, made from biodegradable, non-Amazon harvested, natural Tree rubber with non-toxic foaming agents and non-ado dyes.
  • Speaker. Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM™ 2 is our pick of portable speakers with serious sound credentials. Despite its petite size, it packs a big sound. Drop-proof, waterproof and stylish, you can also pair it for a more complete sound.
Port Rack Loungewear, Slippers, Aromatherapy, Yoga Mat, Speaker image
  • Entertainment. Download as much as you can on to your Kindle, iPad or laptop. You won’t have much space for books, so take what you can digitally.
  • Medication and vitamins. Don’t forget to pack any medication you’re taking, as well as painkillers just in case you do get Covid-19. Vitamins C and D are also your friends, as well Iron and B12 drops.
  • First aid. You’re not going to be able to leave for anything non-emergency related. Pack a small first aid kit, which includes plasters, tweezers, bandages and antiseptic, just in case you drop a glass or hurt yourself. Don’t forget antihistamines if you have any allergies.

Extra things to consider

Some countries have strict customs so make sure everything you bring in is sealed and check what their restrictions are. Also ask family and friends to drop off fresh food to your hotel the day after you’ve arrived. Don’t forget to pack what you need for your holidays… hopefully it’s just sunscreen and beach wear as you won’t have much room left!

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