Flu season is right around the corner. Not only that, but with the holidays approaching, who wants to miss the those fun, family gatherings by catching a cold? We consulted frequent fliers and travel experts on their best tips to keep the germs at bay whether in the air or on the ground. Note: Tips and comments below are just suggestions that have worked for some people; we aren’t giving medical advice here!

10 tips to stay germ-free during travel

1. Use hand sanitizer
“In restaurants, the menu is probably one of the most germ-infested items you’re going to touch, so wait to use your hand sanitizer after you order. Order only canned or bottled beverages, avoid ice and wipe the top and side of the beverage off before you drink it. Ask for prepackaged plastic silverware (such as what’s included in takeaway orders), individually packaged condiments (wipe them down), and use only wrapped straws (you can bring these from home if need be).” –Stef Katz, CEO/Owner, Travel by Stef

2. Use antibiotic ointment in the nose
“Antibiotic ointment lining the nostrils can help prevent cold and flu in the most common place one usually gets them—your nose.” –Hilary Thompson, Health and Wellness Consultant, SleepTrain

3. Opt for a mask
“During cold and flu season, I might wear a mask—no one wants to get sick during their vacation or business trip. It is much more common these days to see passengers wearing them. Disposable masks don’t work very effectively so I suggest buying one online from a company like Vogmask, who sells very stylish masks in a variety of designs.” –Hilary Thompson, Health and Wellness Consultant, SleepTrain

4. Use mouthwash
“Once you’ve arrived safely, gargle with mouthwash in your hotel room. Even taking a q-tip and swabbing the inside of your nose with mouthwash will kill any germs that may have deposited during your ride.” –Hilary Thompson, Health and Wellness Consultant, SleepTrain

5. Eat fermented foods
“As a nurse, I recommend, even for the germaphobic, the best way to fight germs is with germs. Fermented foods like kefir (similar to a strong, watery yogurt) and traditionally prepared sauerkraut seem to give me energy and keep well without constant refrigeration, which is of course rarely available when traveling. They contain probiotics that also keep me from getting sick from the sleep deprivation, strange germs, and stress of traveling.” –Nick Angelis, The Grecian Garden LLC and author of How to Succeed in Anesthesia School.

6. Consume Vitamin D
“Make sure that you have enough Vitamin D in your diet and if you don’t, supplement—especially during cold and flu season. Vitamin D has been shown to help your immune system fight illness. Consult a doctor to find the appropriate dose for you.” –Hilary Thompson, Health and Wellness Consultant, SleepTrain

7. Reset your body clock
“Upon arrival at your destination reset your body clock as soon as possible. Jet lag can cause a disruption in your sleep schedule, which in turn can lower your body’s defense mechanisms. Try your best to actually sleep when it’s nighttime so you get used to the new time zone right away.” –Peter Yang, Co-Founder, ResumeGo

8. Don’t touch the remote control
“In hotels, I never touch the TV remote control because it’s filled with germs. So, I put the remote in the plastic liner from the ice bucket and tie it closed. Yep, it’s completely nuts but it makes me feel better!” –Mia Herman, Travel with Mia

9. Stay hydrated
“Drinking lots of fluids helps keep your respiratory tract moist, which in turn protects you from germs. This also helps ensure that your skin doesn’t become dry and cracked, making you more vulnerable to unwanted bacteria. This is especially critical given how dry the air in an airplane cabin can get.” –Peter Yang, Co-Founder, ResumeGo

10. Wipe surfaces
“In your hotel room, wipe off all shared surfaces (light switches, door handles, faucets, flusher, remote and curtain operators.) You can also wipe off the outside/the handle/and the wheels of your suitcase if you are concerned. Remove the bedspreads by a corner and wash your hands. I often ran an alcohol wipe over the pillowcases in the room as well.” –Stef Katz, CEO/Owner, Travel by Stef 

What’s your best tip for staying healthy on the road? Leave a comment below!

4 Comments On "Tips to Keep Germs at Bay When You Travel"
  1. jam77|

    I’ve seen a lot of travel tips devoted to this subject…..but this article did a great job of summarizing them, and adding some new ones as well.

    Much appreciated ~

  2. M Merritt|

    I pack a couple of pillow cases for protection from allergens and who knows what else from old pillows. I always carry disinfectant wipes for cleaning the plane seat, hotel remotes, etc., and tables and menus.

  3. Marlys Breckle|

    Antibiotic ointment in the nose is NOT a good idea. #1 Ointment can be inhaled into the lungs causing an aspiration pneumonia. #2 Antibiotics are effective against bacteria, not viruses. Colds and flu are caused by viruses.

  4. Nathaniel Tattrie|

    I agree with you

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *