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 hotels.
While hotels are a nice escape, there is no escaping that germs and undesirable substances also like to stay there. Once again, get your handwipes and sanitizer ready.
Wipe down doorknobs, light switches (lamps and wall switches), sink faucet handles, toilet flush handle, the bedside tables, closet door handles, coffee machine, the remote, and other high touch areas. This should go without saying but throw out wipes and start with a fresh one when moving to a new item or area. Consider bringing a clear plastic bag to place over the remote. Think about those buttons and what has touched them.
Remove throw pillows and the duvet (or comforter) from the bed. Do not use these when you sleep. You may want to consider bringing your own pillowcase. Worst case scenario is that housekeeping did not change them after the last guest, but at the very least, the duvet and throw pillows probably touched them. If you really want to go the extra mile, bring your own travel sheets too.
Try to shower and put fresh clothes on once you wipe down the room ---nothing like a nice shower after plane travel! Plus, you won’t be wearing the same clothes you wore on the airplane to sit on the bed or other surfaces. Don’t forget to bring a plastic bag for your dirty clothes and a separate one for shoes. Use a hotel plastic laundry bag if you forgot one.
Remember the issues with ice on the plane? Same goes for hotels. Just don’t do it. If you need a cold beverage, use the ice to chill it without placing the ice in the drink. Tap water and room coffee should also be avoided to the greatest extent possible. Go out for coffee and use bottled water.
Refrain from using glasses provided by the hotel. Glasses are items that are not always switched between guests. If you absolutely must use them, do not use the glasses in the bathroom. (Toilet flushing = fecal matter.) Try requesting “extra” (new) glasses from housekeeping, if you really need to use them.
Bring shower shoes from home, as well as a set of slippers (or flip-flops). These items should be self-explanatory but as we discussed bare feet in airports, such is the reasoning for bare feet in hotels. How many feet (and other things) have been on hotel carpets and bathroom floors before yours? Bring the footwear.
This one is an important one, so please lean in. Do not use the first few sheets of toilet paper. Take them off and discard them. The last guest or housekeeping touched them, and touched them after cleaning or touching any variety of things…do you really want to put them on your most sensitive areas? I will answer that for you---NO, you don’t. This goes for any public restroom and don’t get me started on toilet paper hanging down far enough to touch the floor.
Consider bringing a small towel from home (or using a hotel towel) to place any personal items, like your phone or any cosmetics, on for the bedside table or the bathroom vanity. If towels are not available, use tissues from the room (but not if it is an open tissue box!).
Consider opting out of housekeeping services during your stay. If you do use them, just remember to wipe down high traffic areas that may have been wiped down with a cloth used for other rooms. And if you do opt out, don’t forget to tip housekeeping for the length of your stay anyway.
By The Traveling Germaphobe ~ Series No. 3
I hope these tips help you travel as germ-free as possible and stay tuned for our next installment, bedbugs and how to avoid them while traveling. Stay healthy and sanitize often!