I might look a little crazy on a plane when I sit down but no matter. I bring on my big, sanitizing wipes and get to work on the remote control, tray table, arms, seat belt and, generally, every inch around me.
I do less in hotels rooms and holiday rentals but I’m still pretty vigilant. Germs are a part of life and they can help to strengthen our immune systems but when it comes to travel — better to be safe than sorry.
According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, there are no regulations on airplane cleanliness. Each airline has its own standards. They generally contract out to cleaning companies with a set of rules on how they want their planes cleaned. And this cleaning essentially comes down to their cleaners themselves and their supervisors.
“Medical studies have shown that air travelers face higher rates of infection: One study pegged the increased risk of catching a cold at 20%. Much of the danger comes from the people within two rows around you,” The WSJ article said.
“Seat-back pockets, which get stuffed with used tissues, soiled napkins, dirty diapers and trash, can be particularly scuzzy. It's also difficult to know which germs are lurking in an airline's pillows and blankets, which sometimes don't get sent to the laundry until the end of a day's flights.”
Another issue on flights, especially international flights, is that passengers may have infections or diseases from other continents that others may not be used to and have difficulty fighting against. This is why diseases like SARS and the Ebola virus are very dangerous on flights that often have stuffy air and unavoidable close contact, as well as shared bathroom facilities.
To guard against this, use the provided toilet seat cover and use an elbow to turn on faucets. Use paper towel to press the toilet flusher and to open the bathroom doors. Wash well with warm, soapy water. Use sanitizing wipes on the areas around you and don’t fly sick — you’ll run the risk of infecting others.
These tips can be used for train travel, too. Car rentals are clean and tidy, but a quick wipe down wouldn’t do any harm.
Hotels can also be a bastion of germs.