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Gone are the days of only the “germophobes” wiping down their airplane seat before getting settled on their flight. The coronavirus pandemic brought to light the importance of personal sanitization in a way that many have never seen before. Now that people are more aware of the risks they may face in public environments, the want and need to sanitize their surroundings for their own health and safety will be higher than ever. Keeping a clean home and work environment is one thing, but how do you ensure that your next vacation spot will be up to your cleaning standards? Here are some cleaning hacks and tips on how to stay healthy when it’s time for your next trip.
Packing your own disinfecting supplies guarantees that you have access to exactly what you need throughout your trip. In your carry-on, consider packing disinfecting wipes, travel size disinfectant spray, tissues, and hand sanitizer. Typically, airlines restrict the hand sanitizer size to 3.4 ounces. As of May 2020, some are allowing up to 12 ounces. Be sure to check with your airline to confirm the liquid allowances of items that you will use to clean the non-porous areas on your flight. You will also want to use the disinfecting wipes to wipe down hard surfaces in your hotel room. Finally, hand sanitizer is useful for those moments when you don’t have access to soap and water.
If you want to take your cleaning efforts to the next level, you can also include:
Before you even board your flight, hit the bathroom in the terminal. Not only can you avoid having to use the cabin bathroom, but it is also a great opportunity to wash your hands. According to the CDC, hand washing is one of the best ways to prevent getting sick.
Once you’ve boarded, you should wipe down everything by your seat that you may end up touching. Use your disinfecting wipes to wipe down the seat, seat belt buckle, window shade, air vent, arm rests, screen, and most importantly, the tray table. Tray tables are notoriously dirty and prone to germs. Don’t forget to wipe down your cell phone as well.
After you’ve settled in, grab a squirt of that hand sanitizer. For the remaining time of the flight, try not to touch your face, eyes, or mouth.
The most common mistake people make when getting their area prepared is that they turn off their air vent. Many airlines have HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) ventilation systems which capture 99.9% of germ particles. By letting the air circulate, it is cleaning the particles rather than letting germs grow in stagnant air.
Hotels and other accommodation areas have their own common areas for germs. Remove your shoes when you first enter the room to avoid bringing the outdoors inside with you. If you packed those slippers or flip flops, now is the time to bring them out. Be sure to place your suitcase on the suitcase holder, or any other surface besides the bed. Again, you don’t want to bring those traveling germs with you into your bed. Inspect the room to see if you come across anything that looks suspicious. Check the sheets, the toilet, and the drawers. If you do come across anything less than excellent, call down to the front desk. They may arrange for you to switch rooms or provide another round of cleaning.
Use your disinfectant wipes and spray to wipe down high traffic areas in the room. The toilet, sink, and countertops are often overlooked. Rinse out the coffee mugs, cup, and coffee maker with hot water. Wipe the headboard, alarm clock, phone, and remote. If you brought a Ziploc bag, place the remote into the bag as an extra precaution. Forgot the bag? No worries – usually hotels seal their disposable coffee cups in plastic bags. You can borrow them from the cups to protect your hands from the remote. The remote tends to be the dirtiest item in the room, so be sure to use some type of sanitation method. If you are allergic to Lysol or disinfectant wipes, consider investing in a UV light.
Hotel room sheets get changed after every guest, but there is not a guarantee that the big plush comforter gets washed as often. Take it off the bed and use just the sheets at night. If you packed an extra pillowcase, you can switch it out as well. Just don’t forget to pack it before you leave!
If you are planning on lounging anywhere other than the bed, you might want to call down to house keeping and request an extra flat sheet or two. You can use these to cover any chairs or sofas in the room.
Regarding clothes, many people have designated clothes that they travel in. Rather than wear your once worn travel clothes home, bring some one-time use detergent and wash your clothes in the bathtub. Packing a separate bag for dirty laundry, such as a mesh laundry bag, is an easy way to keep your dirty clothes away from your clean clothes. This is also a common cruise ship hack for extra space (so you’re not constantly sifting through all of your laundry while on vacation).
It’s very important to stay hydrated throughout your adventures. Not only does staying hydrated prevent your nasal passages from drying out while flying, but it can also flush toxins and increase your energy throughout the day.
At the end of the day, no one wants to get sick on vacation. We can take as many precautions as possible to protect our health and sometimes, we still fall ill. Most domestic health insurance plans do not provide adequate coverage while traveling internationally. That’s why it’s important to evaluate which travel medical insurance plan best fits your needs. Traveling with peace of mind, knowing that you have support and coverage if the unexpected happens is well worth the investment. View IMG’s travel medical insurance plans and compare benefits here.
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