Airlines around the world are beginning to welcome more and more people onto flights again as the gradual opening up after COVID-19 continues. Wearing a face mask on flights is now mandatory to ensure the safety of crew and passengers from unnecessary exposure to COVID-19. This means anyone wanting to travel by air in the near future will be wearing a face mask for long periods of time. As most of us know by now, masks can become uncomfortable very quickly. Foggy glasses, pulling on ears, irritated skin and lack of breathability are just some of the discomforts we experience while wearing face masks for any length of time. Finding a great face mask will become a travel essential for those wanting to fly as comfortably as possible. Here is our list of the 4 most important things to look for in a travel mask:
First and foremost, anyone looking for a great face mask must have an understanding of its filtration level. As much as we might want a stylish face mask or a comfortable face mask, we must know we are getting the required protection levels from our mask. Any face mask worth its salt needs to have at least 3 layers of filtration. Unfortunately, this means surgical masks or cloth masks with no filter layers simply cannot guarantee the protection levels that filtration masks offer. Check out our comparison between cloth and high filtration masks here if you want to know more. Second, When shopping for a travel mask, take time in understanding what certification it offers. When travelling, look for a mask that is certified to filter out >99% of bacterial or viral particles. Nelson Labs is a great example of a FDA approved MedTech lab that offers independently tested results of filtration levels of many different face masks. After waiting to travel for so long, having the assurance that you are correctly protected against viral or bacterial contaminants will give you the peace of mind to relax and enjoy your next travel adventure.
Wearing a face mask for an extended period of time can cause irritation for the skin, your ears and nose. Because of this, it is definitely worth investing in a mask that offers great comfortability without compromising any of the filtration performance. Having cushioned adjustable ear loops means you can loosen or tighten the face mask around your ears whenever you begin to feel uncomfortable. Having this level of customisation will be crucial to keep your ears from being pulled and pressure build up causing headaches, but will also ensure that you won't have to keep adjusting the mask around your face with unnecessary touching, which can lead to continual exposure to germs and bacteria. Nose foam built into the filter will not only reduce the leakage experienced from the face mask (reducing its effectiveness and fogging up those glasses), but it all also adds a layer of cushioning around your nose for longer lasting comfort. Having a great seal on aeroplanes or airports is also crucial as these enclosed places are where some bacteria and viruses can thrive and circulate through poorly maintained building ventilation and air conditioning systems. Maintaining a good, comfortable seal of the face mask can really reduce your likelihood of breathing in these contaminants in indoor spaces.
Travelling lightly and efficiently is something we all strive for when packing for flights. Finding a face mask that offers versatile wear should be on your list, so you aren’t carrying unnecessary baggage. You’ll want a mask that you can not only wear on the plane and airport, but also on your travels. This means finding a mask that has optional activation of breathing valves, for urban exploration. Whilst hitting the streets to find all this new city has to offer, you’ll want a mask that is breathable, and can handle the rigours of travel life. A valved mask enables you to be protected against particulate matter whilst inhaling, but allows you to easily and safely expel air, meaning you can wear it for extended periods of time without becoming claustrophobic. You should also be prepared for air quality to differ in the places you are travelling to, a face mask designed just for source control just won’t cut it when it comes to filtering out air pollution. Masks that can perform to the levels required to travel on airlines as well as filter PM0.1 irritants is your perfect travel mask. Finally make sure that your mask offers replaceable filters. This reduces the waste of disposable single-use masks, and means you won’t get caught out with a dirty or ineffective filtering mask, instead you can simply swap out your filter and know you’re breathing safe air on your travels.
Finally, purchasing a face mask with a carry bag keeps your everyday wear safe and secure. With all the things to remember and try not to lose whilst travelling, knowing you can throw your mask into its dedicated carry bag gives you one less thing to have to search for. Not only will it keep it secure, it will also maintain its filtration performance, as the mask won’t get compromised by dirt and humidity as quickly, keeping it fresher and more effective for longer. Last, get yourself a face mask with a carry bag like this. It is infused with copper technology which means when viral or bacterial particles come into contact with the mask or carry bag they are deactivated by the copper, nullifying their effects.
Mandatory mask wearing on airlines and in many cities globally will continue to be the new normal for the foreseeable future. When planning your travels in the post-pandemic world, make sure you don’t neglect searching for the right mask that offers the best filtration, comfort, versatility and hygiene to keep yourself and those around you safe.