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Travel Germs: Facts Every Traveler Should Know

Airplane taxiEditor’s Note: Here at, we travel a lot. We’re not germ-phobic, but our pals at Savvy Travelers, experts in staying healthy while traveling, tell us we should know about and use some smart germ-fighting strategies if we want to stay healthy while traveling.

Frankly, we wish we’d known about their anti-bug products because, some years ago, RFT Editor Bobbie Hasselbring came down with a nasty flu bug after flying domestically. The illness compromised her health for nearly 18 months. So listen up, friends. – Bobbie Hasselbring, RFT Editor

Traveling is a big part of the way we live. Whether traveling for business or pleasure, we spend a lot of time each year taking airplanes, taxis, rental cars, and staying in countless hotel rooms. It’s not surprising that we come in contact with an incredible number of germs, many that can make us sick. The more we know about the germ facts, the better prepared we can be to help avoid them and reduce our risks of getting sick.

plane interior cabin

The crowded conditions on planes today make them hotbeds for germs.

“Germs are everywhere, but when you go on airplanes and stay in hotels, you are exposed to some germ hotbeds,” explains expert traveler Tina Aldatz, chief executive officer of the travel wellness company Savvy Travelers. “The good news is that if you are savvy about the travel you are doing, you can plan ahead, be prepared, and help minimize the germ risks.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average adult gets 2-3 colds per year, and they generally last 7-10 days each. That’s a lot of time to spend feeling under the weather. The flu virus can live on hard surfaces for up to eight hours. The CDC also reports that cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs can help prevent the flu from spreading. Keeping this information in mind, here are some travel truths regarding some of the most germ-laden places people come across while traveling:

  • Planes. The number of germs found on airplanes is eye-opening. The tray table alone has over 2,000 colony forming units of germs per square inch. The places on planes with the most germs are tray tables, seat belts, airplane restrooms, and overhead air vents. In the airport, the drinking fountain buttons are the worst offenders.
  • Public Restrooms. Restrooms are notorious for having a lot of germs in them, especially restrooms that are not cleaned often enough. While traveling, people are bound to come across restrooms harboring thousands of germs. The most germ-laden places tend to be the door handles, flush handle, and the sink area.


    According to experts, cell phones can harbor more germs than a toilet seat. Yuk!

  • Cell phones. Think about all of the places that people take their cell phones, and then about how often they take the time to clean them. That explains why cell phones are believed to have more germs than a toilet. In fact, the University of Arizona reports cell phones carry 10 times more germs than a toilet seat!
  • Hotel Rooms. Research has shown that the things with the most germs in a hotel room include the remote control for the television and the light switch for the light next to the bed.

“Travelers will come across an incredible amount of germs,” added Aldatz. “The good news is that they can be prepared and minimize the risks. Always travel with cleaning wipes so that you can quickly and conveniently sanitize the plane tray table, seat belt, and hotel room remote control, among other things. Those few seconds it takes to do that can save you days worth of being sick.”

Ashland Hills guest rm

Hotel rooms may look clean, but they, too, can harbor germs.

Savvy Travelers offers a no-rinse line of products that help to keep travelers healthy and lends a convenient collection of problem solvers for beauty and wellness needs. Savvy Travelers designer beauty wipes are made for the “on-the-go” sophisticated savvy travelista! No water? No problem!  The company offers a line of pre-packaged individual cosmetic wipes, as well as “In The Klear” sanitizing wipes for cell phones and computers, “Klean Offz” surface cleaner wipes, “Klean Upz” antibacterial hand and body wipes and more. Savvy Travelers wipes and travel kits are a savior in flight when you are stuck at your seat, and still want to feel clean and refreshed, making traveling healthier all around. For more information, visit the site at:

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2 thoughts on “Travel Germs: Facts Every Traveler Should Know

  1. Marilyn McFarlane

    Excellent advice, thanks. I hadn’t thought about remotes and cell phones! I do try to minimize using antibacterial products, as they’re no help against viruses and they may breed resistant bacteria, among other reasons. I use alcohol wipes when plain soap and water aren’t available.

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