Traveling is one of the best ways to gain new experiences, make profound memories, and learn as much as you can about different people. However, you also have to be extra careful when you’re on the go. You have to be vigilant about your belongings, keep an eye out for pickpockets, and make sure not to leave any important item behind before setting off. Getting enough sleep is also an issue, with jet lag and delays plying havoc with your sleeping cycle. Most importantly, though, a traveler needs to be careful about their hygiene while they’re away from home.
When you’re in an unfamiliar place—whether it’s another town or a whole new country—you risk exposure to all kinds of germs that your body may not be used to. This is why we might need to get some additional vaccines before traveling abroad. Even with these precautions, it’s still very easy to get sick through the spread of germs.
When you’re traveling, you’re not just going to new places but probably also staying in hotels, motels, or hostels. None of these options are known for their hygiene or cleanliness, especially when you go for the more cost-effective places. There are germs waiting to attack in every corner, but you can keep them away by keeping your hands clean and sanitized as much as possible.
If you travel a lot or are planning a trip soon, it’s best to read up on how to keep your hands clean as much as possible. This will prevent the transfer of germs from your hand to your mouth, which is one of the most common reasons for getting sick while traveling. The following tips will hopefully help you out in having a safe, healthy, and hassle-free traveling experience:
Know the Germ-Filled Hotspots
You can’t sanitize each and everything when you’re traveling, but it helps if you’re aware of the places where germs are most likely to get you. Even if you’re staying in a luxurious upscale hotel, be on the lookout for certain areas where you need to sanitize before touching or handling. The most common places here include the bathroom, the television remote, the carpet, etc.
The first and foremost rule of protection against germs is still the good old habit of washing your hands frequently. Make sure you wash your hands after touching the carpet in your hotel room, before and after using the bathroom, or handling just about anything on your trip. These include door handles, condiment bottles, cell phones, doorknobs, armrests, tray tables on airplanes, etc.
You can use regular soap and water to wash your hands, so go for that option whenever it’s available. This might be a bit of a challenge when you’re traveling, so here are some other options that can be useful in such cases.
Using Hand Sanitizer Gel
Hand sanitizer is most commonly available on gel form, with the packaging coming in various sizes. You can buy little bottles of it that attach onto your purse or larger versions that you can use for a long time. When you’re traveling, you’d want to pull out your sanitizer after using an ATM, and elevator, or any other shared areas. Punching those buttons could introduce all kinds of germs on your hands and fingers, so it’s wise to eliminate them at every turn.
Of course, we know that hand sanitizers don’t get rid of each and every germ—it says so right on the packaging. They also don’t work for doing away with harmful chemicals. If you come into contact with some greasy substance or a suspicious chemical, wash your hands and disinfect them instead of relying on hand sanitizer.
Using Hand Sanitizer Wipes
There are now packets of hand sanitizing wipes available, much like baby wipes or makeup removal wipes. Get a few packs like these and be sure to put one in your purse or pocket before heading out of your accommodations. These wipes could be a lifesaver in cases where you have to handle germ-prone surfaces and want to be as careful as possible.
Hand sanitizer wipes are god enough for cleaning your hands, but they are also very convenient for cleaning small areas as well. With a pack of these, you won’t have to go through the hassle of squeezing hand sanitizer on paper towels before wiping down your table or armrest. Plus, they’ll come in handy for wiping off those annoying sandy layers when you’re at the beach.
A spray version of hand sanitizer is also a handy option when you’re away from home. If you have a largish area to clean, such as a table in a diner. Spraying sanitizer is also a much quicker option, so consider getting a can if you want to save as much time as possible.
Sanitizing sprays will also come in handy for freshening up hotel rooms, rental vehicles, and so on. You’d be glad to get rid of that musty smell, which can otherwise settle in your clothes and hair.
There’s no dearth of actions you can take against the danger of germs taking over your immune system while traveling (or even when you’re at home). Below are just a few precautions that should be on every travelers’ checklist:
- Disinfect the surfaces: Wiping down handles and knobs with sanitizing wipes might be good for some time, but you might want to use proper disinfectant wipes for a more thorough cleaning. Research has shown that most of the surfaces in hotel rooms have fecal bacteria on them. This could lead to a host of diseases that could ruin your trip and even be fatal. Fortunately, you can kill off most of these germs by using disinfectant wipes; however, remember that these aren’t for personal hygiene purposes.
- Wash the Glasses: Many hotels don’t wash their glasses every time a room gets new occupants. They usually just wipe them down or make them shine with a product like Pledge. If you value your health, wash every glass before using it. You can also play it even safer by bringing your own unbreakable glasses, plates, and utensils.
- Cleaning the Bathrooms: Hotel bathrooms might look like they’re sparkling clean, but don’t take any risks. Use your bare hands as sparingly as you can; use a tissue to raise the toilet seat and wash the taps before you touch them. You might also want to spray the toilet with some disinfectant before using it.
- Wearing Shoes: Carpets absorb all kinds of mites and germs, so wearing shoes in your hotel room is the best way to go. You can bring some bedroom slippers for this purpose. It’s also not wise to go barefoot in the bathroom, so keep your flip-flops on when you’re using the shower.
- Check the Sheets: Hotel beds are also a high-risk zone for germs, bedbugs, and a number of other worrisome pests that could potentially ruin your trip. You might want to bring your own sheets to avoid getting into contact with any unhygienic bedding. However, this precaution wouldn’t be enough if there are bedbugs; insist on changing your room if you spot any. Here are some other ways of avoiding bed bugs while traveling.
Choosing the Right Products
Fortunately, there are several options for travel sanitizers available in the market today. These come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, so you can pick and choose the ones that suit your needs the most. Here are the top 5 travel sanitizer products that might help you out on that next trip:
This is a hand sanitizer spray that contains organic ingredients and 62 percent alcohol. According to research, a sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol is effective for cleansing germs from our hands and various surfaces. If we do want to avoid germs while we’re traveling and also prevent them from spreading any further, this item is one to consider.
There’s organic lavender oil here, as well as organic ethyl alcohol and organic glycerin. Water is the only other ingredient. The small number of ingredients is what makes this an attractive option, as this is the threshold for a proper organic product. This also means that there are no harsh chemicals to dry out our hands while we sanitize them. In fact, this lavender sanitizer spray will help to keep our hands moisturized while traveling and at home.
This spray is also suitable for children, even with the alcohol content. You can easily spray this on public surfaces and even freshen up rental vehicles or hotel rooms with a few spritzes.
This sanitizer is plant-based and effective enough to kill most of the bacteria and germs you encounter on your travels. It made up of glycerin and aloe, both of which are derived naturally. This combination helps to avoid that pesky dryness that so many other sanitizers leave you with. What’s more, this hand sanitizer spray is also hypoallergenic and dermatologist-tested, so we can be sure of a safe experience for everyone.
Another plus for this sanitizing spray is that it consists of a quick-drying gel. This does the sanitizing job but doesn’t leave a sticky residue behind. This ensures that you can clean your hands and surfaces without having to worry about making them greasy. Also missing from this concoction are parabens, triclosan, synthetic fragrances, and other synthetic elements that could harm your health.
This alcohol-free sanitizer is still able to banish germs due to its unique formula, so those with infants would want to consider this option while they’re traveling. This formula comes in many versions, though the foam-free one is probably best for traveling purposes. There’s also a travel-size packaging, though you might need the larger one for longer travels.
The alcohol-free combination means that we don’t have to risk our hands drying out or tolerate any overwhelming scent. According to reviewers, this product is also good for those who are prone to eczema flare-ups, as it doesn’t exacerbate dry skin or any related skin issues.
These hand sanitizers are convenient and handy, even more so because they’re made especially for traveling. There’s a jelly wrap with these bottles that you can use to attach them to your purse, backpack, strollers, or any other place.
This variety pack also has several options based on how you use your sanitizer. The mild formula is best for those who use sanitizers frequently, as its free of preservatives, Triclosan, parabens, and other harsh components. The refreshing gel is good for a quick clean up when you need it.
These wipes are individually wrapped, so they’re great for stashing in your purse, wallet, and diaper bags when on the go. You can easily pull them out when it’s time to wipe down a surface that’s likely to have a host of germs on it, or just to quickly clean your hands for any purpose.
Since the wipes are in individual packing, they’d also last longer than the pop-up kind. This is because there’s no risk of two or more wipes popping up at a time. You also don’t expose other wipes to air when you need just one.
The antibacterial formula here is strong enough to kill 99.99 percent of the germs you come into contact with. The hypoallergenic ingredients and skin-conditioning also make for an overall positive experience. You can quickly clean up any messes and not worry about any liquid spilling as in the case of gels and sprays. In this case, wipes like these are probably a better option for frequent travelers.
When someone is traveling, they naturally want to have many varied experiences. If you’re always on the lookout for germs and how to avoid them, you might be missing out on the main goal of your traveling. It’s not always possible to be completely sterile when you’re on the go, so pick your battles.
Even if you might have to compromise on hygiene in a few matters, keeping your hands sanitized will go a long way in ensuring your health while traveling. This knowledge is especially precious when you’re traveling with kids, so make sure to remember these tips and apply them next time. These additional tips for international travel preparation may also come in handy.