Staying Healthy When You Travel



By now, you’ve probably heard some of the disgusting facts regarding where germs live and breathe around us. While eating off of your toilet seat might seem like one of the most disgusting things you could imagine, analyses have shown that common household items like your doorknob, your faucets, your carpet and your cutting boards all could harbor far, far more bacteria and germs than the seat on your porcelain throne. And those are just the germs within your own house. If your domicile isn’t safe from e. coli and other bacteria, what is?


Well, certainly not the airport, that’s what.


When we travel, we’re often well aware–and even hopeful–that we will have the privilege to experience new things and open the door to new horizons. Unfortunately, when the door to new horizons is opened, other things can squeeze through the doorway and wreak havoc on your life. Those things include illness.


Safety should always be a primary concern for travelers, and not just safety from physical threats like street scams or muggers, but small (even microscopic) threats, such as illness and germs.


For many of us, it seems like we’re often prone to getting sick when traveling, particularly traveling abroad. Here are a few ways to stave off that illness and avoid germs and bacteria during your next trip.


Don’t Touch Anything in the Airport…At All

Airports are veritable breeding grounds for bacteria and germs. In fact, airport bathrooms were named as one of the germiest places in your life by USA Today, coming in at number two. Others on that list are often found within the confines of an airport, including drinking fountains and ATMs. Generally speaking, if you can avoid making skin contact with anything in an airport, including the toilet seat, toilet handle, sink, water fountain or essentially anything else people regularly touch, it may be for the best.


Also Don’t Touch Much in the Planes

Remarkably, the airport bathroom and water fountains may not even be the germiest places you’ll come across during a flight. The bathroom aboard an actual plane doesn’t fair much better, as you may expect. This includes the flush button in the bathroom and the lock, according to CNN. Though you’re still not quite safe when you make it back to your seat. Some of the germiest places on an airplane are back at your seat, including your seatbelt buckle and, the worst of them all, the tray table.


Be Careful of What You Eat and Drink

While tap water in most of the United States is potable, the same isn’t said for every country on Earth. When it comes down to it, it’s generally safer to either boil your water before you drink it when you’re traveling abroad, or simply buy bottled, as overpriced and wasteful as it may be.

The same can be said for food–while tasting new cuisine and sampling the local fare is one of the best parts of traveling, it’s important to note that radical changes to your diet can have a strong effect on your health.


Bring Hand Sanitizer and Medication

When you’re traveling, as you may have noted from points one and two in this list, germs and bacteria can be an issue. You never know what you’re touching, where it’s been, or what it may end up doing to your body. Bringing a trusty portable bottle of hand sanitizer can be great for making sure your hands are clean at all times, while bringing bottles of medicine (think Ibuprofen, Immodium, DayQuil, etc) can keep sickness at bay if you do wind up catching something.