One of the most vivid memories from my childhood is of my mom saying to me, “Don’t put that in your mouth! You don’t know where it’s been!”
To be honest, I usually did know at least a few places where the item in question had been, and my mom’s admonition was quite to the point. I might suggest that the overall gist of her advice could be applied to a certain category or class of hotel room. We’d all like to land in a pristine hotel every single night, but once in a while, you are going to be caught where your only option may be the cousin of the roach motel.
Photo by South Beach Cars
While Dan Akroyd and his fellow ghostbusters used proton packs to rid lodging establishments of apparitions from beyond, as guests in tacky hotels, we’re usually battling an enemy of a slightly smaller scale: germs.
Photo by James Emery
So instead of proton packs, try the following.
Available in five- and six-count packs, these disposable paper squares give you a sanitary place on which to set things—like your feet when you’re changing clothes. Of course, germs can also be transmitted to our possessions, so these squares can be used under purses, laptops, etc. It’s like having your own germ-free haven wherever you go.
When the area is just too large, and you can’t spare a square, Verilux comes to the rescue. They make two sanitizing wands. The Cleanwave Sanitizing Wand uses UV-C light to kill up to 99.9 percent of “germs, allergens and odor causing bacteria” on hard surfaces. Even better, it’s been shown to work in just one second.
Toilet seat covers.
There are a variety of these on the market today, and they are packaged in such a way as to allow you to always have some in your briefcase, suitcase or purse. They do take some getting used to, but it’s probably a skill we should all develop. Look for brand names like “Sitting Pretty.”
If you’re a budget traveler who likes to venture overseas, all the previously mentioned gear is great, but you should also add a method for purifying drinking water. The SteriPEN is lightweight and portable. It also uses UV light to get the job done. The Sawyer Squeeze Filters are another very popular choice. Many are able to be used with standard plastic water bottles.
Avoid touching any potentially germ-ridden surface with your own personal portable hook. When it’s not being used as a hook, it doubles as a key chain. Deploy the hook, and you can open doors, punch key pads, pull handles and more. It’s made with antimicrobial silver nanoparticles, which inhibit the growth of bacteria, and it’s quite stylish, especially if you’re going for the pirate look. Arg!
No, this is not the name of the latest tween heartthrob. It’s a Paolo Ulian design that combines slippers and a bath mat. It takes a little practice, and I don’t suggest running to the door while you’re using it, but the mat will keep your feet warm and off the floor of a questionable hotel room at the same time.
Deluxe Steam Pocket Mop.
At 51 inches, it doesn’t really fit in your pocket, but this lightweight steam mop does a great job of sanitizing hard surfaces. You might not want to take it if you’re traveling by air, but on an adventurous road trip, it can give you peace of mind in questionable situations.
Cellphone, toothbrush and miscellaneous items.
If you’re toting one of the UV sanitizing wands with you, use it on all of your personal items as well. When you have to set your toothbrush down at certain establishments, you might want to give it a germ-busting blast of UV light before you get up close and personal with it again.
Of course, no personal, on-the-go sanitation program would be complete without a small bottle of hand sanitizer and some wipes.
Now, hit the road and fear no more!
License: Creative Commons
License: Creative Commons image source
Lorena Starkey lives and works in beautiful Minot, ND in the hospitality industry, specializing in providing safe, clean, and comfortable homes away from home. Stop by to say hello at the Minot Hyatt House.