Let's face it: Travel is rife with germs. Whether you're on an airplane, checking into a hotel room, or grabbing dinner from a street market, you're going to encounter an unmeasurable amount of nastiness. And nothing ruins a vacation faster than food poisoning or the flu. The good news: there's so much more you can do to prevent sickness besides the common sense basics like washing hands regularly, eating thoroughly cooked food, and staying hydrated. We came up with a list of tips and tricks that any on-the-road germaphobe (and really, we should all be germaphobes) will appreciate. Read on for our full strategy in the war against travel bugs.
Sanitize On The Go
Sanitation technology has become portable and affordable, giving germaphobes a major edge over bacteria. The Verilux CleanWave Portable Sanitizing Travel Wand uses UV-C light technology to kill up to 99.9 percent of germs and allergens on hard surfaces. The gadget weighs less than eight ounces, making it ultra convenient to glide over any surface where germs accumulate: airplane seats, hotel remote controls, toilets, and door handles are all fair game. This toothbrush sanitizer uses a UV blue light and two AA batteries to kill any nastiness lingering on your toothbrush in seven minutes. Or, keep it old-school and wipe away grime with a simple pack of disinfectant wipes.
Bring Your Own Sheets
You just never know when the hotel last washed the sheets, towels, and pillows used by who knows how many strangers. Duvet covers and blankets are even more notorious for lazy housekeeping practices, and skin cells, dust, and allergens can collect for months. To play it extremely safe, bring your own germ fighting pillow and travel sheet and towel sets. The Hygenie pillow was designed to prevent acne breakouts and uses silver ions to kill bacteria in between washes. Cocoon Travel Sheets are lightweight, breathable, and you know exactly when you last washed them in hot water. For drying off, Northbound makes a set of antibacterial travel towels that are designed to dry fast and repel germs with a coat of zinc oxide. The lifetime warranty means you'll be germ free for life.
Medicine is readily available in most parts of the world, but we like to be prepared in case the sniffles hit at 40,000 feet in the air or when the French pharmacies are closed for lunch. It's smart to pack a small first-aid kit in your travel bag with just a few doses (there's no need to pack entire boxes) of the essentials: a small bottle of hand sanitizer, a few band-aids, a tube of Neosporin, cough drops, cold medicine pills, pain reliever tablets, Imodium, and UTI treatment should cover most minor emergencies. A few Emergen-C packets and soothing chamomile tea bags are a good idea, too. Our favorite travel hack? Stick your dirty shoes (and all shoes are dirty) inside a shower cap before putting them in your suitcase. They'll stay neatly paired and won't touch your clothes.
Filter Air and Water
For true germ prevention, you have to filter the air you breathe and the water you drink. It's not a fashionable choice, but are the fastest and cheapest way to prevent airborne particles and pollution from entering lungs. The GermGuardian plugs into a wall socket and uses UV-C light to destroy mold and bacteria spores in the air. It's also handy for clearing lingering cigarette odors. Brita makes a portable water bottle with an internal filter that removes chlorine and odor from tap water. For more serious water filtration, these water tablets use Tetraglycine Hydroperiodide to remove Giardia lamblia from water, but should be used sparingly and only in situations where there isn't potable water, like when camping or visiting extremely rural destinations.
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