Traveling Soon? How To Stay Safe (And Sane) At A Hotel Amid The Pandemic

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Let’s get real: this pandemic has turned all of us into germaphobes. We’ve developed trust issues whether or not that doorknob is contaminated, or whether or not the coughing person next to you is a carrier. We’ve become paranoid even in our own homes. It wouldn’t hurt to spray that table again after cleaning it 10 minutes ago, would it? 

The same goes for staying at a hotel after the world reopens the travel industry.

While hotel accommodation and other lodging establishments are assuring their guests that they’ve increased their disinfecting measures to maximum, that shouldn’t let your guard down. If you’re planning to travel and stay at a hotel, here are 8 ways to achieve a clean and safe experience. 

1. Pack germ-fighting essentials

Next to hand sanitizers and anti-bacterial soaps for cleaning your hands, you should also pack a clear plastic bag, some alcohol or disinfecting wipes, and a Lysol disinfectant spray. You’ll use these things for wiping down surfaces you’ll be touching along the way.

2. Go contactless 

If you’re staying at high-end hotels, chances are that they’re embracing mobile check-in and digital keyless entry. These involve downloading an app into their smartphones and using their mobile devices to check-in securely. They can access their rooms without having to visit the front desk. 

If a contactless stay sounds impossible, the least you can do is to arm yourself with protective equipment, like face masks and face shield or glasses, and maintaining a safe physical distance of 3 meters from the person you’re interacting with.

3. Clean your hands more often than usual

You know the drill – you should be sanitizing your hands every time you touch public items. Even if you washed your hands 15 minutes ago, you might have touched a couple of things along the way, including that elevator button, cash, doorknob, and reading materials in the lobby. Don’t touch your face, drink, eat, and open the hotel room door until you’ve disinfected your hands. 

4. Wipe down high-touch points in your hotel room

The room may seem clean and spotless upon check-in. However, you’ll never know if the previous tenant was virus-free, where they came from, or if they were as responsible as you are when it comes to respiratory etiquette and hygiene. 

Coronavirus can live as long as three days on certain surfaces. Wiping down touchpoints is a good preventive measure. 

While wiping down everything seems like the best idea, you didn’t pay hefty hotel rates to clean the room the whole day. Start with obvious touchpoints, including the remote controls, light switches, alarm clocks, phones, doorknobs, cabinet and drawer handles, desk surfaces, and the bathroom accessories. 

5. De-germ the bathroom too

This is where people clean up after themselves and deposit human wastes, so it’s not surprising why bathrooms are filthier than they seem. While the hotel ensures that they regularly disinfect the bathrooms, it wouldn’t hurt to sanitize them again. Disinfect the bathroom surfaces, including the faucets and handles before use. Never use the glasses too. 

Before taking a bath, squirt some shampoo in the tub and run the water on hot for a minute. This will significantly minimize the number of germs where you’ll be standing on. 

6. Don’t use the in-room glasses and utensils

Travel experts recommend traveling with your own tumblers and utensils to avoid using potentially infected glassware and tableware. The same goes for eating to-go or delivered food items. You’ll feel safer enjoying them using your own forks and bottles. 

7. Avoid the fitness center and other amenities

Health organizations enlist gyms as one of the places with the highest risks of COVID-19 transmission. You’ve got all sorts of stuff lurking in the equipment, and they’re not cleaned after every use. 

It’s no different in hotels. Travel experts advise NOT to visit gyms, pools, and jacuzzis throughout your hotel stay. You’re better off working out in your room or jogging outside, instead of spending hours wiping down equipment incessantly. 

8. Skip buffets

Yes, we know it sounds painful but you should exercise caution when eating at self-service hotel restaurants. It’s not about the food – it’s about the public surfaces you touch, like communal serving utensils that are never wiped down after every guest.  

It’s a good thing that most hotels have already suspended their buffet services as a preventive measure. They are encouraging a-la-carte dining in-room without adding extra charges. 

Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is a travel buff who regularly writes for Rochestown Lodge Hotel Dún Laoghaire, a modern hotel located 4km from the picturesque coastal towns of Dun Laoghaire, Killiney and Dalkey. Aside from writing engaging articles about travel, food, and lifestyle, she also loves making music and doing street photography.