Quarantine Packing Essentials: What to Bring for 2 Weeks in Isolation

By Rakini Bergundy, March 13, 2020

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As travelers return to China, facing a 14-day quarantine may be inevitable as the list of countries affected by COVID-19 grows each day. Although it’s not entirely clear if one can expect a centralized government quarantine or home quarantine, we spoke to *Samantha and her partner who have just completed a two-week quarantine at a government facility. 

Her story was recently documented in The Guardian, with Samantha unfortunately traveling back to Shenzhen on the same ferry as a man who was diagnosed with COVID-19 on February 29. At the quarantine facility, temperature checks were conducted twice daily at 7am and 7pm, in addition to throat, nose or blood tests once a day. Lastly, deliveries were allowed, but only at certain times of the day. Below, Samantha shares with us her quarantine essentials to pack – although hopefully you won’t find yourself in this situation. 

  • A mug

  • Tea or coffee

  • Cutlery, dish soap, sponges

  • Plate, bowl, small chopping board, sharp knife (assuming you are going to prepare some of your own food – if Samantha hadn’t, she wouldn’t have eaten any fruit or non-oily over-cooked vegetables for the past two weeks)

  • Chocolate, snacks, etc.

  • An HDMI cable, to watch shows and movies on your laptop via the TV screen (the internet was decent)

  • Extension cord/multi adapter

  • Entertainment (laptop, tablet, PlayStation, etc.)

  • A speaker

  • Yoga mat

  • Skipping rope

  • Vitamin pills

  • Books, notepad, etc.

  • Comfy lounging clothes, enough for 14 days (no laundry available)

  • Don’t bother bringing shoes, you won’t wear them

  • If you have a cooler box or mini fridge, Samantha recommends bring it

  • Bring all your toiletries, there wasn’t anything except bars of soap

  • Samantha suggests bringing some ibuprofen. She got quite a few headaches while quarantined – probably from stress and lack of fresh air

  • If possible, bring a small fan. Samantha and her boyfriend were not allowed to use AC

  • Non-perishable food items that Samantha enjoyed: peanut butter and jam, crackers, tortillas, canned tuna, sweet corn, mayo, raisins, nuts 


Quarantine quarters, a hotel room in Longhua, Shenzhen. Image courtesy of Samantha

The snack corner – Samantha’s company managed to provide most of the food pictured, plus the cooler and fan. Image courtesy of Samantha

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Daily meals provided in quarantine; pictured on the left is a typical breakfast box and on the right a typical lunch or dinner meal. Image courtesy of Samantha

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Some of Samantha’s essentials. Image courtesy of Samantha

Have any other items you consider quarantine essentials? Let us know in the comments below. Remember, continue exercising proper hygiene at this time and stay safe.

*Name has been changed for privacy reasons.

[Cover image courtesy of Samantha]


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