Traveling germaphobe

I have a confession to make.. I’m a little bit of a germaphobe. I try to find a balance between limiting my exposure to germs and not going too far and becoming obsessive. I am usually successful in doing this, but it gets increasingly difficult when I travel. My distaste for germs and filth is kicked up a notch (or 10) when boarding a plane or entering a hotel room. Aside from the usual opening doors with my shirt and having enough wet wipes in my bag to bathe a small child, I take extra precautions.

A couple weeks ago when my mom and I took my sons to Florida I jotted down the steps I took to minimize my contact with germs and grime to share with you. Here is what I do:

Airport:
I am now TSA pre-check certified flyer, so no more taking off my shoes at baggage. Before that I would always have an extra pair of socks in my bag to put on and then remove immediately after retrieving my shoes at baggage check. I would flip them inside out and put them in a deep dark hole in my suitcase not to be resurrected until they met the inside of a washing machine. This way the nasty foot jam of the masses did not cross contaminate my stuff.
I also bring a q-tip and Beautycounter baby balm to block airborne germs from entering my kids nasal passageways and my own.
Airplane:
I bring antibacterial wipes (my water wipes won’t quite do the job for these highly trafficked and seldom washed areas) and I wipe down every surface possible. I pay extra attention to the TV controls, seat belt, tray table (both sides), arm rests, window shade and head rest. This article further explains the dirtiest places on airplanes and how to avoid them.
You may have heard that closing your air vent is a good idea because you don’t want the recirculated air hitting you directly, but this article states that this is not true. In fact, it’s better to have the air recirculating because it helps to filter it and not let stale stagnant air breed bacteria. Good to know!
Rental car:
Aside from wiping down all of the surfaces of the rental car I also bring my car seat covers with me. I use our Nomie Baby car seat covers  and I love them because I can remove and wash them after I use it on the often filthy rental car seats. It covers everything other than the straps, which I obviously give a wet wipe bath. We even use these covers at home in our own car so that if someone makes a mess or gets sick I can just toss it in the laundry. Major savior.
Hotel room:
Upon entering my room I wash my hands from all the door nobs and elevator buttons I touch (with elbows and knuckles of course lol). Then I get going with the wet wipes. I wipe down the door handles, remote controls, toilet flusher, light switches, AC controls and telephones. Then I remove the bedspread and put it in the closet. Id like to say I bring my own pillows like my parents do, but let’s face it I have 3-4 of the largest suitcases allowable packed to the brim with puddle jumpers and an unnecessary amount of shoes, so we most definitely do not have room for pillows. You can only do so much! One of the shoes I make sure to bring are slippers to walk around the room in because the floors are often teeming with bacteria. If I go to a questionable hotel I bring shower sandals as well. I also have been told that you should throw out the piece of toilet paper that the maid makes into a triangle and any floral design they make out of tissues since they touched them with bare hands likely while scrubbing toilets and before washing. Here is an article that explains the dirtiest spots in hotel rooms.
Bathrooms:
Finally, and this goes for any public bathroom I ever visit, I flush with my foot, turn off the sink with my elbows and push down paper towel dispensers with my elbow as well. I do enough to get a small piece of paper out and use that to push for more. I also never use traditional hand blow dryers because I’ve read they recirculate air without filtering it, which can spread harmful microorganisms. This article discusses the hand dryer dangers.
Well, that’s it. It’s easy to incorporate these quick fixes to help avoid unnecessary exposure to possibly dangerous and bacteria and always icky germs. Once you become accustomed to doing these things it becomes second nature. After that when your child sticks his hand in a garbage can, man handles a toilet seat and eats food off the floor in public at least you can say you did your best LOL. Happy and safe travels!

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