Traveling is supposed to be fun—taking in gorgeous scenery and getting away from it all is the name of the game. And if you’re planning work-related travel, you have to be on top of your game, right? Whatever the reason behind taking a flight or driving hundreds of miles, it’s important to enjoy yourself and not let anything like nasty avoid germs get in your way. No one enjoys a nagging cough or case of the sniffles, especially when they’re on vacation or attending a business function.
Here are some tips to help you avoid germs while traveling.
Keep your purse off restroom floors
If you’re in a public restroom, resist the urge to put your purse on the floor between your feet. Although you may do this because the hook on the door is broken or you fear someone might reach over and steal the purse from the hook, it’s really not doing your health any good. Think of all the feet that have stepped on that floor before you, from shoes that have previously stepped in animal droppings or gum to ones that may be covered in harmful lawn chemicals.
Then there’s the fact that not everyone makes it to the toilet bowl in time or is hygienically responsible; to put it nicely, that floor may have traces of urine on it or be where used feminine products may have dropped. After all of that, you spend the rest of the day touching your purse, keeping all of those avoid germs close to your body.
There’s no way to paint a pretty picture about this one, so your best bet is to keep your purse in your lap or over your shoulder when using a public restroom. If traveling with a friend, consider letting them hold on to your purse while you enter the stall.
Use only hotel glasses that are wrapped in plastic
While those shiny hotel glasses may look inviting when they’re sitting next to nicely-packaged hotel soaps and conditioners, the truth of the matter is that if they’re not sealed in a protective covering, all kinds of avoid germs are lurking in them. Hotel hidden cameras have revealed that hotel cleaning staff often don’t replace their gloves when moving from the sink or toilet bowl to washing cups and glasses.
Worse, there have been discoveries of glasses being dried by the same towels that were used to clean and dry other parts of a hotel room. Use glasses only if they are sealed in protective plastic. Ideally, bring your own travel mug and reuse throughout the duration of your stay.
Make sure hotel sheets really are clean
If you notice tons of wrinkles in your sheets or a sloppily made bed that may not have been properly changed, be sure to speak up. Let hotel management know, so their staff can put a clean set on your bed. Not only is it kind of creepy to think you may be sleeping in an unchanged bed where strangers were previously sleeping, but it’s not uncommon for the likes of fingernail clippings and hair to wind up under hotel bed covers. Check those sheets and make sure they look and smell clean.
Be cautious in airplane bathrooms
Charles P. Gerba, Ph.D. and germ expert, explains that airplane bathrooms are probably “the germiest bathrooms you’ll ever use in your life.” He says that because there is an average of 50 people per toilet on an airplane, it’s an area laden with germs. Additionally, because of the small space, many people opt to forgo washing their hands after going to the bathroom, which puts avoid germs on door handles and knobs.
The solution? Open the door with your own clean tissue or paper towel, be sure to thoroughly wash your hands in there, and then use another new tissue when using the door handle to exit the bathroom.
Think twice about airline trays, escalators, and ATM machines
When it comes to the trays that you host your pretzels during your flight, the reality is that they’re covered with avoiding germs. It’s been discovered that staff members don’t always have time to clean those trays, which have been sneezed on, held used tissues, and even been used to change baby diapers on occasion. One study found that disease-causing bacteria can reside in airplanes for up to a week.
As for escalators, some people are shocked when they take the time to watch how many people touch the escalator railing during a five-minute period. Experts say to take that number, then multiply it by 12 to get the approximate amount of people touching that handrail every hour. That’s a lot of hands that have picked spinach from teeth, rubbed noses, and been coughed in. If you can, avoid touching railings. But if you must, take care to wipe your hands with a hand sanitizer immediately afterward.
ATM machines, while convenient, are also dishing our more than money. They too are filled with avoiding germs, for many of the same reasons that apply to airline trays and escalator handrails. In all of these instances, bring a travel-size hand sanitizer with you, as well as sanitizing wipes, and use them as you see fit.
While traveling, it may be tempting to overlook germs. After all, it’s easy to get caught up in talking with your travel companion or daydreaming as you look out of that airplane window, forgetting to wipe down the tray or to check your hotel sheets. But it would be a shame to come down with a cold or infection while traveling, all because some simple observations and precautions weren’t taken. Do your best to keep your environment clean so you can enjoy your travel time every time!