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Who last sat in your seat before you got on your flight?
Travellers world wide are anxious about travel and health safety with the current threat of Coronavirus or COVID19, but with good hygiene products and practices, you can set off on your trip knowing that you have control over your hygiene and give yourself the best chance at staying healthy while travelling.
Here are our top 6 hygiene tips for staying healthy when travelling -
If you’re serious about best hygiene practices when travelling and doing everything you can to avoid getting sick you will need to pack the right supplies before you leave for your trip. First you will need cleaning supplies for the plane and your hotel room or cruise ship cabin, such as antibacterial wipes and Glen 20 disinfectant spray. Glen 20 spray will need to be packed in your checked luggage however it will make your cleaning easier once you arrive at your destination. You will also need zip-lock bags, hand sanitiser and disposable gloves.
Hand and face wipes
P2 masks in case you are unfortunate enough to be seated near someone who is sick and repeatedly coughing. Regular surgical masks don’t protect you from airborne viruses so stick to P2 or N95 masks as these protect you by filtering out very fine airborne particles when fitted correctly.
Vitamin c throat lozenges to sooth your throat and help with any ear pressure.
Non-medicated saline solution nose spray to help relieve nasal and sinus congestion due to the low humidity and the dry environment of a plane.
Tushon 3Ply toilet seat covers so you can sit down comfortably on public toilets without having to worry about germs on the seat.
Lip gloss and hand/body cream to help your skin feel hydrated.
This is the single most important thing you can do to avoid getting sick as most germs are spread by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching your face, including your eyes, nose and mouth. Whether you are at the airport, on the plane, at a restaurant or getting out of a taxi, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly whenever you have an opportunity to do so with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitiser when you don’t have access to bathroom facilities, as this will kill 99.9% of germs.
The dirtiest part of a plane is the hard surfaces in and around your seat so it’s really important as soon as you get on the plane to completely sanitise all surfaces at the risk of looking crazy to other passengers. Make sure you have antibacterial wipes, a few zip-lock bags, disposable gloves and hand sanitiser packed in your carry-on bag so you can do this as soon as you sit down. It’s easy to store all your gloves in one zip-lock bag, and the remaining bags can be held together by an elastic band.
Grab a pair of gloves and put them on and use your wipes to clean all surfaces that other passengers would have touched including the arm rests, window shutter, air conditioning vents, TV remotes, TV screen, seat buttons and most importantly all sides of the tray table. This is super important as the tray table has the most germs on it! Don’t wipe down your fabric seats with wipes as this will only make them wet, uncomfortable and may increase the spread of germs onto your clothing. If you’re really worried about the seat you can look for a portable seat cover to place over the seat and headrest.
Don’t for the love of god put any of your belongings into the seat pockets! The seat pockets are a petri dish full of bacteria thanks to all the items including dirty tissues, that have been left in there over hundreds of flights. Avoid this area like the plague and don’t touch the magazines or items that are held there.
Once you have made sure every surface is wiped down, dispose of the used wipes in a sealed zip-lock bag with your used gloves and sanitise your hands until you have an opportunity to wash them in the bathroom. I suggest using hand sanitiser after every bathroom trip, as the toilets are used frequently by lots of people, and you can bet the door handles and surfaces in the bathroom are covered in germs as not all people wash their hands properly after using the bathroom. Flight attendants and cleaners usually don’t have time to thoroughly clean the entire bathroom between flights. As a guide, try to remember to clean your hands every time before eating and limit touching your face. Once you have wiped down your seat area sit back, relax and enjoy your flight. You may have looked a little crazy to surrounding passengers but at least you won’t be getting sick from any nasty germs.
Hotel rooms and cruise cabins are full of germs due to the large number of people using them. Cleaners have to clean and prepare hundreds of rooms every day in a short period of time, so they are limited to focusing on beds and bathrooms without cleaning high use surfaces like remote controls and light switches. Below is a list of the germiest surfaces in a hotel room or cruise cabin and how you can clean them and stay healthy.
Hard Surfaces - Grab your gloves and antibacterial wipes or your Glen 20 disinfectant spray and sanitise all door handles, light switches, remote controls, the telephone and all hard surfaces in the room and bathroom. Prioritise all surfaces where you will set things down that will go near your face or mouth. For example - bedside tables where you place your glasses or bathroom counters where you put your toiletries.
Remote control - It’s common knowledge that the germiest item in a hotel room is the remote control that is touched by many and has buttons and crevices that are very hard to clean. Your best solution here is to put it in a zip-lock bag and operate it through the bag so you don’t actually have to touch it.
Telephone - The next germ-riddled item is the telephone. Make sure when wiping this down you pay particular attention to the mouthpiece.
Glassware - Personally I never use any glassware provided in a hotel room unless I have the ability to clean it first with soap and water. I usually call room service and ask for fresh glasses as the plates, cups, glasses and cutlery in a hotel room are never replaced and usually just wiped down by the cleaners. I’m not game to guess whether this is done with the same cloth that cleans the rest of the room! So if you want to use these items during your stay you will want to clean them first with soap or shower gel and hot water. Not only will you save yourself from catching a nasty cold or stomach bug but also other nasties like cold sores. Eww!
Bags - Do not put your handbag or bags directly on your bed. Should your bags have any germs or bugs that they picked up during your travels from restrooms etc, placing them directly onto your bed will introduce these germs to your bedding. Now would be a great time to remind you not to ever place your handbag on the floor of a public toilet. No further comments needed here I would think! Leave all your bags in your hotel room on the luggage rack provided.
Bedspread - Remove all bedspreads and decorative pillows. These bedding items are not laundered between visitors and are covered in germs because of the frequency of use by many guests. Remove them and place them in a cupboard for the duration of your stay. You do not want to think about all the nasty acts that may have been performed on those bedspreads by others without having been cleaned before being placed on your nice clean sheets. Eww!
Floor - Lastly, but very important when it comes to transferring germs between surfaces in your hotel room, is the floor. If you are concerned about putting germs into your clean bedding you will want to consider always having your feet covered when walking around your room by either shoes or socks. This will ensure that whenever you get into your bed you will have clean feet and won’t be introducing any nasties onto your bedding from the carpet or bathroom floor.
By now you will probably feel like you have taken a refresher course on best hygiene practices and the goal here is to put them into practice without becoming obsessed with worrying about getting sick. By following the above guide and making sure you are consciously practicing good hygiene habits when out and about during your trip you will be able to avoid hidden hygiene traps. Just remember, any surfaces that are commonly touched by others can potentially make you sick. So always wash your hands and use hand sanitiser after touching surfaces like traffic light buttons, restaurant menus, elevator buttons and money. This practical and common sense attitude to hygiene when travelling will help you stay healthy so you can enjoy your travels without making you crazy worrying about germs.
Do you have any travel hygiene tips you swear by?
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Sit don’t squat!
Do you hover or squat over public toilets when peeing?
Many people have concerns about sitting on public toilets as they are worried about what germs may be left on the seat from other users. In 2013 MOJO Concepts did a survey of 655 Australian women and found that 50% hovered when using public toilets and 40% would only sit on a public toilet if it was covered with toilet paper or a toilet seat cover.
Road trips are back on the agenda for many people around Australia now that restrictions are easing and they provide an easy way to take a much needed break during what has been a challenging year.
Staying well while travelling
Some people might be worried about travelling during the holidays and how they’ll stay safe. Keep these tips in mind for safe, healthy travelling:
Hands up if you know what it feels like to be desperately searching for a public toilet when nature calls? We have all been there and it’s not pleasant, especially if you’re on a long road trip or you are mid-shop and searching for a baby change room because your little angel has just had a nasty poonami all over their clothes!
Well, you will never be caught out again thanks to an Australian National Public Toilet Map that helps you search for your closest public toilet.