Avoiding Germs While Traveling

traveling-1347023780Kh2There is a new secret weapon when it comes to traveling and keeping healthy. No, it isn’t a canister of disinfectant wipes. It’s plain old alcohol. Put about two ounces in a small spray-bottle and back it for every trip.

Once you reach your hotel room, pull out your bottle of alcohol (you can use either isopropyl alcohol, or just plain old vodka. I use vodka, it’s easier to use, and keeps my eye-glasses totally spotless. Rubbing alcohol has other ingredients in it and can sometimes leave a haze or streaks.

Once inside your hotel room, wipe down every surface you can possibly touch, starting with the television remote control. I know, they’ve started placing the remote in a little blue and white cardboard holder that suggests by its color that it is clean.

It isn’t. Don’t trust it.

Next hit all the light switches, the ones by the bed, by the door, by the chair and table, and in the bathroom. Then hit all doorknobs, inside and outside all doors, closet, bathroom, and the main room.

If there is a refrigerator and/or microwave, wipe these down inside and out before pulling out any of your food. They may look clean, but a study from 2012 found that the average hotel room remote had more than 65 colony-forming bacteria units per square centimeter, while the typical hospital standard is five. If the remote is that dirty, don’t trust the food area.

Some people are not willing to even try to clean the remote. They just put it inside a plastic bag and control it through the plastic, not even touching it.

Lastly, if your hotel room has glasses with cardboard covers on them indicating that they are clean, do not drink from them. When was the last time you saw a rack of drinking glasses attached to a hotel cleaning cart? Usually, the glasses are wiped down (sometimes with the same rag that was just used to clean the bathroom) and a new cardboard cover put over the top. Only drink from sealed disposable cups or from your own cup that you brought with you.

Not all hotels have equal problems with germs. But the difficulty with germs is that they are invisible. While it would be nice to trust that everyone does their job with your best interests at heart, I’m still of the opinion that it is best to look out for yourself.

Traveling by George Hodan