This post is written as part of the #AmWellMD campaign. Read to the bottom to learn how you could win some great prizes and find out more about healthy travel. All statements are my own and in case you recognize the hotel chain in the photos, allow me to say this: In no way am I indicating that the hotel chain in the photos is the “germiest” one out there. This hotel chain just happens to be the one I stayed at when I received this assignment.
I spend a lot of time in hotel rooms. And if you’re thinking, “Wow! That’s pretty glamorous”, let me clear up that misconception right away. When I say “hotel rooms”, I’m not referring to beautiful, 5-star resorts with all the amenities you think you need plus some you don’t. I’m referring to the cheapest, most inexpensive hotel rooms you can find. Why? Because my husband travels often with his job and we foot the bill. Granted, we reap the benefits at tax time, but there are sacrifices to be made. Believe me, I have some stories to tell about hotel rooms! If only I blogged ten years ago, you’d realize why we decided to quit staying in germ-infested properties and moved into an RV.
So, what are the germiest places in a hotel and exactly how can you avoid them? The easy answer to avoiding germs is simple- stay home. But that’s not any fun and for those of us who love to travel, it’s not practical either. Germs are everywhere. And honestly, I have germs at home, too. The difference is, the germs in my home belong to me, not a stranger. The thought of swapping germs with someone I don’t know kind of grosses me out. And I’m not really a germophobe. Unless I dwell on the subject. So let’s talk about where to find germs in your hotel room and how to minimize the risk of getting sick because of the germs. Sound good? Let’s get started.
The 5 Germiest Places in a Hotel
- The TV Remote
- The switch on the bedside lamp
- The Phone (With most of the planet owning cell phones these days I’m not sure I agree with this one, but I’ll let you decide)
- The blankets and comforter
- The floors
How to Avoid The Germs
- Don’t watch TV.
- Don’t turn on the lights.
- Don’t use the phone.
- Don’t sleep on the bed.
- Don’t walk on the floors.
Practical advice? Not at all. Read on.
Several years ago, I watched a Mike Rowe of Dirtiest Jobs talk about the grossness of staying in a hotel room and what he does as soon as he enters the room to make himself comfortable. He bundles the remote control and phone into the comforter and blankets from the bed and tosses the package in the corner. He has a point- those are the dirtiest objects in the room, but is tossing them in the corner a bit extreme? Maybe. Maybe not. Here’s how I handle the situation.
I always, always, always carry a hand sanitizer or sanitizing wipes with me. This can be a small travel size of sanitizer that can be applied to a Kleenex and used to wipe off the remote, light switches or phone, or it can be a full tub of disinfecting wipes, depending on if I’m road tripping or flying.
I wipe down all the surfaces in the room with the disinfecting wipes, but especially the remote. I don’t worry about the phone because I have no reason to touch it. I do wipe down the desk and other surfaces because I often spend time cooking in a hotel room so I need to make sure it’s clean.
I don’t freak out over the comforters or blankets, as long as the sheets are clean. Though I have been known to travel with my own comforter if I’m staying at a property for any length of time. Blankets and comforters are not laundered on a regular basis in most hotel chains. It’s not like I wash mine that often at home, but then, I make it a point not to share my bed with strangers. Feel free to toss your blankets and comforter in the corner if that makes your hotel stay more comfortable.
You know what really grosses me out when it comes to germs in the hotel room? The floor. I’m a country barefoot kind of gal, as the calluses on my feet can attest. But I hate taking off my shoes in a hotel room. So, I’ve found a remedy. I pack a cheap pair of flip flops. I can slip off my socks and shoes and slip on my flip flops to avoid feeling grossed out.
What if you get sick while traveling?
Honestly, I don’t know if I’ve ever been sick because of germs I’ve picked up in a hotel room. But I do know, I have been sick while traveling and it is not fun. Especially if you think you may need to see a doctor, but you’re not sure who to call or where to go, or if your sickness even warrants a doctor visit. Who wants the high cost of an ER visit if you don’t need one? AmericanWell.com, the nation’s largest telehealth company, connect users with board-certified, licensed doctors, dieticians and psychologists for immediate and live, online visits—day or night, on either mobile or desktop. Talk about convenient! These doctors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and are dedicated to keeping you healthy – from the comfort of your home, or hotel room. The service is free to sign up, plus the company has partnered with many insurance companies so your visit may be covered. Depending on the issue, the doctor can diagnose, suggest follow-up, and prescribe medications, when appropriate. Of course, they can also tell you to seek attention elsewhere.
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