Whether you travel biweekly or only just convinced your boss to let you take your first business trip, no matter what kind of traveler you are, there's always a chance that when you're traveling you can get sick. If you're going on a business trip that you're feeling stressed about, you might not notice the person next to you periodically wiping their nose and touching your armrest.
Alternatively, the folks who rode on the plane, bus, or train before you who have their own set of germs. Depending on how busy your hotel is, it may be impossible to keep the common areas completely free of germs.
Thanks to the rewards I earned using my Chase Sapphire Preferred card, I was able to travel to several destinations, including Europe and Canada. I also found that I kept getting sick. Tired of being constantly ill and worried about spreading germs to my family, particularly my young son or elderly father, I came up with some ways to help disinfect my space. Perhaps it's psychosomatic, but I started to feel better as I started to clean up. Here's what I do.
1. Properly wash your hands.
This may seem like common sense, but it needs saying -- your first line of defense is to wash your hands. Before you even get to your destination, whether it's a plane, train, or bus seat or your hotel room, you came in contact with countless germs. From the seats you sat in at the airport while you were waiting to board to the elevator going up to your hotel room, there are numerous heavy-trafficked surfaces that you come in contact with.
Nothing fights germs better than warm water and hand soap for at least 20 seconds. However, when you're rushing from place to place, your best temporary solution is hand sanitizer. But if you're heading to your hotel room, you'll benefit the most from washing your hands to avoid spreading more germs.
2. Carry disinfecting wipes.
After you've boarded your plane, pull out your disinfecting wipes and wipe down any non-fabric areas around you such as your tray, armrest, and even your seat belt. Wipe the handle of the overhead bin if you can. After you use your disinfecting wipes, you need to give that area time to dry. That's when the sanitation happens.
If you're riding on a bus or train seat, the same cleaning strategy applies. If you have a table, you'll need to wipe that down too.
Although most rental car companies keep their vehicles clean, you might have two different definitions of what that looks like. So, wipe down both the exterior and interior door handles. Then, once you sit down, disinfect any common surfaces such as the steering wheel and gears, radio, temperature controls, etc.
After you've washed your hands in your hotel room, disinfect the doorknobs, countertops, phones, remote controls (breeding grounds for germs), temperature controls, and even the toilet seat.
3. Pack tray and seat covers.
Whether they're disposable or reusable is up to your personal preference. Both will get the job done. While you can use your disinfecting wipes to clean your tray, you can't use the same strategy for your seat since it's made of fabric.
Instead, use the seat cover to protect yourself from any germs on the seat. You'll use the tray cover for added protection. I recommend checking online for innovative seat covers and holders that are easy to travel with.
4. Wash glassware.
I once opened a kettle and found that someone had brewed several cups of coffee in it! To be extra cautious, wash glassware and any extra eating amenities with soap and hot water. I also recommend checking any kettles for surprises.
5. Don't walk around without shoes.
Floors may look clean but how often is it deep cleaned and shampooed? Not as often as you may think. To avoid the germs that are lurking in the carpet, you don't need to disinfect, you need to protect. The same goes for the bathroom when you're taking a shower. Wear a pair of flip-flops.
Bonus Tip: Eat healthy and get enough sleep.
This list wouldn't be complete without a reminder to keep yourself as healthy as possible in the first place to help your body fight illness. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, stay active, and sleep at least 6 hours a night. Additionally, stay hydrated to stay healthy both internally and externally. Plus, hydration is the key to minimizing jet lag.
Even if you paid a fortune for a plane, bus, or train ride or you're staying at a 5-start hotel, germs still exist. Disinfecting the most common areas that you're going to touch can help you relax.