Home DestinationTravel Planning The Germophobe’s Guide To The Dirtiest Things You’ll Probably Touch When You Travel

The Germophobe’s Guide To The Dirtiest Things You’ll Probably Touch When You Travel

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Photo Credit: Laeti Images posted in flickr

Millions of people travel every year, either for business or pleasure. With such a huge number of tourists and travelers, sanitation becomes an important issue. Shortcuts are made to make cleaning faster while some things are totally ignored. If you’re a germophobe you’ll be shocked to find out that many of the things you come into contact with while traveling are extremely dirty.

Here’s a guide to some of the dirtiest things you’ll encounter when you travel.

Airplane bathrooms

You can already imagine why airplane bathrooms are in this list. They’re extremely small, a lot of people use it and there is no real ventilation. When you flush the toilet, small particles of water (which contain bacteria) are sprayed all over the place. Use a hand sanitizer after you’ve used the airplane bathroom to protect yourself.

The TV remote

The most meticulous housekeeper may wipe down every single piece of furniture in a hotel room but would barely glance at the TV remote. Based on studies, remote controls are one of the things that are the most contaminated with bacteria inside a hotel room. Always bring antibacterial wipes with you and wipe down that remote before you use it. If you don’t even want that remote near you, download mobile phone apps that can control the TV.

Light switches

Another thing that is barely given any attention to when a hotel room is cleaned is the light switch. This neglect has made light switches another breeding ground for bacteria. A study conducted by the University of Houston showed that the light switch in hotel rooms contained a high concentration of fecal bacteria – that include e. coli, which is extremely nasty.


Even though the sheets and pillowcases in hotel beds are changed regularly, oftentimes the heavy bedspread placed on top is not washed or replaced as often. The top comforter would often come into contact with a succession of different guests before it is changed. Remove that germ-infested comforter from your hotel bed and just sleep with the sheet and blankets.

Regular changes to the bedding is a little issue with most hotels because of the high turnover rate of guests. It’s hard to keep up so a few shortcuts are made. Other types of accommodations, for example, luxury serviced apartments, are more meticulous with bedding changes.

Airplane pillows and blankets

Before you request for pillows and blankets in the middle of your flight, think again. If it’s not in a sealed plastic bag then most likely the pillow and blanket has already been used by another passenger. There is not enough time to replace all of the used pillows and blankets in between flights, especially if it is a short journey. If you can’t live without a pillow or blanket while flying, just bring your own.

Airplane tray tables and seat pockets

Tray tables in airplanes are the Swiss army knife of the planes. It’s used as a workplace table, a place to eat your in-flight meal, and also as a diaper-changing table for newborns, a place to put dirty tissues for those who have colds, and a handy area to place a used barf bag. Again, anti-bacterial wipes are your best friend in this situation. Wipe that tray table down before you use it.

Seat pockets attached to the back of the seat in front you are another multi-purpose item in an airplane. Although it is usually used to hold unused barf bags and the in-flight magazine, it is also used as a garbage bin. Oftentimes, the pockets are not thoroughly cleaned in between flights, it’s not uncommon to find stuff placed there by another passenger. You can just imagine what kind of nasty stuff has been placed inside it. Don’t put any of your things in there, just don’t.

About The Author

Derek Gallimore is a frequent traveler because of his job in the hospitality industry. He works for Boutique London Lets, a site where you can rent out serviced holiday apartments.

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