In a perfect world, everyone washes their hands, sneezes into tissues and stays home when they’re sick. But in reality, a fever often won’t stop people’s travel plans, and they often don’t take the necessary steps to stop spreading germs along the way. Fortunately there are plenty of ways for Globetrotters to protect themselves from catching someone else’s cold. Here are Travelle’s favorite Condé Nast Traveler tips for how to stay healthy when on the road.
Start From The Inside
Stock up on supplements and probiotics to give your immune system a boost before you go away. Although they may not necessarily prevent getting a cold or the flu, the extra vitamin boost can help your system run smoother and potentially assist in fighting off those nasty germs.
Pack The Necessities
Fill your carry-on with things you’ll use to keep your health intact while traveling. Bring your own travel pillow if you plan on resting and a shawl or blanket to bundle up with. Be sure to take hand sanitizer with a minimum of 50% alcohol, band-aids and plenty of disinfecting wipes.
Wear Glasses While Traveling
If you wear contacts, swap your lenses for frames before your next journey begins. You’ll be less likely to touch your eyes and you won’t suffer from dryness brought on by contacts, which makes eyes more susceptible to microbes. Make sure to store your lenses in a clean case during the trip.
Get Good Body Distance
Terminals are bound to be crowded, but the further you can keep yourself from sickly travelers, the better. Even if you’re up to 6 feet away from a contagious person, their sneeze can still land on you and before you know it, you’re sneezing as well.
Keep Your Hands Clean
It’s simple—if you absolutely have to touch something, countless other travelers have had to touch it, too. Door handles, ticket and check-in kiosks, security line bins, you name it. Use hand sanitizer after coming in contact with any and all particularly germy places.
When You Just Have To Go
If there’s one place you’ll want to avoid touching all surfaces, it’s the public bathroom. Besides being generally filthy, toilets give off back-spray. Don’t sit on the seat and don’t stand near the toilet as it flushes (closing the lid if you can helps). If you have to rest anything on the counter, disinfect it afterwards and keep all of your belongings off the floor. Give your hands a thorough 15 second wash and if you must touch the door handle without a buffer, use sanitizer afterwards.
Bring your own bottles of water, that is. While tap water on planes is mostly clean, some really gross contaminants (try fecal) sneak in from time to time. Avoid any unwelcomed bacteria by using your own bottled water to brush or wash up with in-flight.
Clean What The Flight Crew Didn’t
Lots of things that should be cleaned in between flights aren’t, so put those disinfecting wipes to use while you’re waiting on the runway. Give everything in your section from the backseat table and digital screen to the window shade a thorough once over. Opt for using your personal travel pillow and blanket instead of the sets issued on the plane and keep your belongings out of the backseat pocket.
Beware The Aisle Seat
Aisle seats give you more space, but they also make you more vulnerable to bacteria thanks to that armrest. You know- the one that people grab for balance as they make their way to and from the bathroom. If you’re leaning on the aisle armrest, you’re at a higher risk for coming into contact with infectious microbes. With the number of people that pass by you when moving around the plane, you're at a higher risk of catching their cooties.
Keep Your Hands Clean Pt. 2
It really can’t be stressed enough. Keep your hand sanitizer within reach and use it throughout the entire flight, especially before snacking and after thumbing through in-flight magazines, using the bathroom, and touching your luggage.
It’s OK To Tattle
If you see someone coughing, sneezing or going through any other motions that scream “this person is sick” tell an attendant. The infectious traveler can be given a face mask or a potential seat change. You’ll not only help yourself stay healthy, but also passengers up to eight rows away.
To healthy travels!