“Travel and Germs”
Although this article says ‘Business Travel’, I believe it applies to any travel and is very good information.
Business Travel – Maintaining Good Hygiene on the Road
There’s no question that business travel exposes road warriors to a wider, perhaps more exotic array of germs and viruses. One study by the Journal of Environmental Health Research found that a five-hour flight may increase the chance that you’ll catch a cold by more by more than 100 percent. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to give yourself some protection.
First, pack some disinfectant wipes in your carry-on bag. Airline cleaning crews go through the cabin before you board, but time constraints mean they may not be able to wipe down every surface.
As soon as you sit down, use a wipe to clean your armrests, tray table and other items around you. Then, open your air vent and direct a gentle air flow just in front of your face to help dissipate germs.
If you use the airplane’s restrooms, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before you leave. Just in case the soap is used up, be sure to keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer in your bag. Don’t forget that it should be in a three ounce or less bottle that you can include with your other carry-on liquids and gels.
When you reach your hotel, your disinfecting wipes will come in handy again. There are many surfaces in a hotel room – door knobs, light switches, drinking glasses, remote controls, heating and air conditioning controls, to name a few – that get heavy use but may not be routinely cleaned. Take a few minutes to wipe these surfaces.
If your room’s towels and linens don’t seem to be freshly laundered, don’t hesitate to ask for replacements. If you find tiny red, brown or black stains on your bedding, that’s a sign of bedbugs. In that case, ask to change rooms (or hotels).
While you don’t want to appear so concerned about germs that you offend anyone – for example, you wouldn’t want to wipe down a coffee cup handed to you by your host at a business meeting – a little self-protection can be helpful. Remember that the price of your hotel or the class of your airline seat doesn’t matter – essentially, they are only as hygienic as the last person who used them.