Are Hotel Rooms Sanitary?
Toby Keith sings, “I wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then…” Exactly how I felt when I watched the movie “Contagion”, and then again when I read TravelMath’s article on Hotel Hygiene.
I’m not a germaphobe, but I’ve spent enough time being sick either during or after travel that I’ve become very careful about sanitation and potential exposure to pathogens. If you’ve never seen the movie “Contagion”, you can take my word for it: it’s disturbing. I won’t burden you with the gory details, but the plot starts with Gwyneth Paltrow contracting an infectious and deadly illness in Asia, then serving as the main transmission agent to the US and beyond.
That brings us back to TravelMath’s article. Based on their testing, hotel rooms, even the 4 and 5 star variety, are the playgrounds of an impressive variety of germs. Hopefully not the kind that Gwyneth was carrying, but very possibly the kind that could make you sick and ruin an otherwise perfectly good trip.
TravelMath found that the most contaminated surfaces in a hotel room are the bathroom counter, the television remote, the desktop, and the telephone. If you’re taking mental notes, these are four items you may want to commit to memory the next time you stay in a hotel room.
Purell and Lysol both have travel size sanitizing wipes. Before your next trip, get more of them than you think you’ll need. When you first enter your hotel rooms, wipe down the bathroom counters, the toilet seat and flush handle, the TV remote, the phone, the door knobs, and the desktop. If you fly, wipe down the armrests, tray table, seat belt, and any surface you touch in the bathroom. Liberally use hand sanitizer throughout the day, whether you think you need it or not, and you’ll significantly reduce your chances of getting sick during or after your travels.
Does this make your or me a fanatical germaphobe? No. It makes us savvy travelers that are aware of our surroundings willing to use the bounty of 21st century science and technology to prevent the spread of pathogens.
Final tip: If you love a good soak in the tub, you may want to wait until you get home. Condenaste Traveler has more troubling info on the potential stew of bacteria and cleaning chemicals that you may be exposed to in your hotel tub here.
Stay tuned for more healthy traveler tips.