The Dirtiest Things You Touch While Traveling

traveling with friends

We go to many places while traveling, encounter numerous people, and inevitably touch many things. Then, we use those same hands to touch our faces, eat food, hold drinking glasses, and do just about anything else that can transfer the bacteria from our hands to the rest of our bodies.

If you’ve ever gotten sick while traveling, you’ve probably contracted the illness from something you’ve touched. But even if you have the strongest immune system, you probably don’t want to touch anything on this list of germiest things you encounter while traveling:

Hotel remotes

Hotels near Changi airport prioritize cleanliness and have strict sanitation protocols, especially when cleaning rooms between guests. However, you can’t say the same for every other hotel you encounter, even if they have a high hygiene rating and nothing but good reviews.

Hotel remotes are rarely cleaned between guests, making them one of the top contenders on our list. You don’t know what the previous guests had touched before using the remote (and thinking about it probably makes your skin crawl), so see to it that you sanitize your remote with an anti-bacterial wipe before using it.

Plane booklets and seat pockets

The booklets that you find on airplane seat pockets are never or rarely sanitized. These booklets are pressed right against whatever passengers put in the seat pockets, which mostly consist of nasty things like garbage, dirty diapers, used tissue paper, food packaging, and so much more. The seat pockets themselves could be sanitized in between flights but are rarely deep cleaned.

To avoid having to touch what is essentially a trash can, don’t reach into the seat pocket for whatever reason. If you want to read the booklet, look for an online version.

Light switches

Like our previous two entries, light switches are some of the dirtiest things you encounter while traveling simply because they aren’t sanitized often enough. That said, wash your hands every time you touch the light switch. Better yet, wipe it down with an anti-bacterial wipe.

Plane tray tables

Not all airplane passengers have the basic human decency of not using their tray table as a depository for nasty stuff. Some passengers even use their tray tables as changing tables, while some are seemingly unable to eat on them without making a mess (and don’t bother cleaning their spills up). Even if these tables are cleaned, they are not always sanitized between each trip, especially for flights with quick turnovers.

If you can’t avoid using the tray table, clean it with a sanitizing wipe first. Don’t forget to rub your hands with alcohol or hand sanitizer after touching the tray table, too.

Water fountain

Don’t drink from a public water fountain. Just don’t.

Hotel bedspread

hotel bedroom

Housekeeping changes the sheets and pillowcases between each guest, but they don’t change the bedspread on top. So, think twice before jumping on top of the bedspread before you get to your hotel room. You could be lying in the perfect habitat for bacteria, bed bugs, and bodily fluids!

When you get to your hotel room, the first order of business is to remove the top bedspread and push it to the side of the room.

Anything touch-screen

Whenever you use a touch-screen device while traveling, such as a ticket kiosk or vending machine, clean your hands with hand sanitizer. Thousands of people have touched that screen before you, and who knows just how much bacteria is lingering on the surface from all those dirty fingers?


Handrails come in contact with thousands of hands every day, especially in a busy airport. Avoid touching handrails if possible to avoid getting bacteria onto your hands. If you must hold the handrail to keep your balance, make it a point to wash or sanitize your hands after. Avoid touching your face until you do so.

Airport and airplane bathrooms

Public bathrooms are perfect breeding grounds for germs, airplane bathrooms even more so due to the small space and high humidity. When going to the bathroom in the airport, refrain from touching the door handles, and wash your hands after you do your business. When using the plane lavatory, on the other hand, be sure to close the toilet lid before flushing, wash your hands, use a paper towel to open and close the door, and sanitize your hands after returning to your seat.

Traveling exposes us to a lot of germs. You might not even notice that you’re touching something filthy. Now that you know the dirtiest things you encounter while traveling, you’ll probably be warier about your surroundings and washing your hands more often.

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