Smart ways to stay safe and healthy on vacation

July 28, 2015

We'd all love to stay at five-star hotels when we travel, but the reality is that most of us can afford only less expensive hotels where safety and cleanliness are a concern. Here are some smart ways to make your vacation healthier.

Smart ways to stay safe and healthy on vacation

Choose modern

Bed and breakfasts are charming, but their rooms and public sitting areas may carry more allergens and dust. If these are a concern to you, stay at modern hotels.

Pack long-sleeves

If you are concerned about clean bedding in a budget hotel, reduce contact by wearing body-covering pajamas and light socks to bed.

Use beds for sleeping only

Don't work or eat on it and don't watch TV in it. This is more hygienic and you'll find it easier to fall asleep.

Book an allergy-free room

Some hotels offer rooms designed to minimize dust mites and other allergens. Other hotels provide allergy packs — face masks, special pillows, mattress covers — but you have to ask for them.

Third floor or higher

You're safer in an upper room. Most thefts occur on the first two floors.

Book a hotel with a pool or health club

Exercising eases travel aches and burns off some of the calories from the breakfast buffet.

Pack insect and pest repellent

In tropical and sub-tropical countries your hotel room could be invaded by insects. Always take an effective repellent and take advance precautions such as antimalaria pills. Be alert for bedbugs. Look for tiny bloodstains on pillows, mattress liners and seams. Contact management and change your room if needed.

Inspect luggage at home

Check for any alien bugs that may have hitched a ride. If you find any, wash clothes immediately and dry them on high heat for at least 15 minutes. Anything not washable, goes in the freezer for a few days.

Humidify with a kettle

If your room has one, fill it with water, heat until it steams, then let the steam escape into the room until the water's almost gone. Your sinuses will thank you.

Pack a photo of someone you love

It can even be your dog. When you return to your room after a stressful business meeting, cheer yourself up by looking at the picture.

Use a travel alarm or smartphone

You'll fall asleep quicker and sleep better if you don't have to worry about missing an important appointment because reception forgot your wake-up call.

Pack a pair of flip-flops

Use them in the bathroom, on the carpet and in the pool area to prevent fungal (or worse) infections.

Beware the hot tub

Hot tubs are luxuriously soothing. If you're healthy, go take a soak. Be aware that hot tubs can foster bacteria that cause folliculitis — itchy red bumps. People have developed bronchitis from breathing in air contaminated by bacteria in the water.

Play it safe

One of the easiest ways to stay healthy is to protect yourself from attack in a strange place. Here are some important tips:

  • When registering, make sure a receptionist doesn't say your room number aloud. If they do, ask for another room.
  • If someone knocks on your door, verify before opening or call the front desk to verify that they've sent someone.
  • Use the main entrance of the hotel when returning in the evening.
  • Use all locking devices for your room: door, windows and sliding glass doors.

Skip the signage

Never leave the "Please Clean Room" sign outside on your door. Instead, use the "Do Not Disturb" sign. If you want your room cleaned while you're out, call reception and let them know.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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