While travel is exciting, it can also produce some anxiety for germaphobes. Germs are something we all must live with, and this pesky reality shouldn’t make anyone miss out on a great travel experience. Here are a few tips to combat germ anxiety…and germs themselves…when traveling. This week we bring to you the wonder, and germs, of airports.
Let’s face it: airports are not the cleanest of places, and that is putting it mildly. Any facility that ushers thousands of travelers a day is bound to be full of germs, no matter how hard-working any facilities team members are.
While traveling in general, and in airports specifically, antibacterial wipes, hand sanitizer, and N95 masks will be your best friends. More on them later, but, you should be sure to store them in your carry-on items so that they are available for use (LIBERAL use) at the airport. I recommend N95 masks, not only for the germ protection but because they give more comfort on the face with a roomier fit to breath easier. Although, at the time of this publication airports may not require masks, it is still a good idea to wear one to battle the myriad of germs floating in such a crowded space.
Let’s start with your outfit. It is not recommended to wear shorts, in fact, don’t wear anything that requires your bare skin to touch seats or other surfaces. While bare skin is sometimes necessary for comfort, bare feet should be avoided at all costs. Wear socks. Airports often require you to remove shoes at security…do you really want your bare feet walking across carpet that has housed many, many thousands of bare feet and shoes before you? I think not. Try to avoid pants, skirts or dresses that drag on the ground or sleeves that drag across counters or other surfaces. Do you really want to wipe down dirt and germs with your outfit? This traveling germaphobe’s recommended airport outfit: Yoga pants (or snug fitting sweatpants, skinny jeans), a long sleeve fitted shirt, socks (of course!) and sneakers.
Traveling through security is more than wondering if you have the right sized liquid containers, it’s also about navigating some of the most-touched equipment. Did you know that security x-ray bins are one of the filthiest items you can find at an airport? Remember that when placing loose items (like cell phones) in them. Consider bringing your own plastic bag to line the bin. If that seems too “extra” for you, be sure to wipe down items after placing them in the bin, whenever possible.
Try to bring bags and luggage that are easily washable or wiped down. This is especially important for your carry-on items. And for the sake of all that is good, don’t place them on the bathroom floor (or any floor).
Purchase bottled water before you board the plane. You will thank me if you read about plane ice and plane tap water. While refillable water bottles are environmentally friendly and often one of the greatest personal items you can carry around in your everyday life, they are not a germaphobe’s best friend when traveling. Bottled water is. Avoid public water fountains and tap water and be sure to recycle plastic water bottles after use.
By The Traveling Germaphobe ~ Series No.1
I hope these tips help you travel as germ-free as possible and stay tuned for our next installment, airplane travel. Stay healthy and sanitize often!