How to Vanquish Germs While You Travel

germs, travel

Do you get sick when you travel? I do. Almost every single time. I’d come to think of it as just an unhappy consequence of traveling, but after my husband, Randy, had to have a double lung transplant (a very unexpected journey) two years ago I looked at it differently. Viruses and infections are extremely hazardous to Randy, so every precaution has to be taken. We must vanquish germs!

Randy is on anti-rejection medications for the rest of his life. These medications lower his immune system and make him very susceptible to any illness floating around. Once he gets sick, it is a tough fight to get well. I have become a fiend for disinfecting everything in our path…if I get sick, Randy could get sick. It is so very easy to be exposed to illness. Flu, colds, and respiratory illnesses are conveyed because a cough, blowing your nose, or a sneeze transmits millions of virus droplets into the space around you. These can be inhaled by others, or land on surfaces that people commonly touch. When you put a crowd into a space, the transmission becomes exponential.

germs, travelHere is how I vanquish germs when traveling (and in daily life):

  1. I wear a mask that blocks viruses when I am on planes, trains, buses and subways. Viruses abound. You absolutely know that someone near to you is sick, and often you can hear sneezing and coughing, which puts me into a state of complete nervousness. Our culture is not careful enough about spreading germs, I mean, many people don’t even wash their hands! When traveling in Asia it is common to see people wearing masks, and they wear them not to keep from getting ill, but when they feel they may be getting sick, or have a common cold. It is common courtesy in those nations not to spread your own germs to others. I wish all cultures would pick up this habit, we would all be healthier!
  2. As for travel, wear that mask early, and remember that the germ festival starts at the ticket counter. How often do you think they disinfect the screens or counters? Not often enough, if at all. Security lines are danger zones. Do you see anyone cleaning the plastic bins they give you? No. You may see the security guards wearing gloves, but passengers don’t. If you don’t want to wear gloves you need to carry antibacterial wipes and clean your hands after handling or touching anything. If you had to take off your shoes, clean your feet or socks.
  3. Whether it is a train station or airplane lounge, it is germ ridden. The arms of the chairs have had thousands of people walking by, sneezing, coughing, and not washing their hands. Clean it with antibacterial wipes before you sit down. When you board, be sure to clean your seat’s arms, the tray table, the emergency card that people have handled for years without being cleaned, the air vents and the seat belts.
  4. Renting a car? Getting in a taxi? Wipe it down. I guarantee it has not been disinfected. And at the gas pump, everything you touch has been touched by thousands of people! Wipe the pump, the touch screen, the buttons, and when you are done, wipe your hands!
  5. Dining out? Do you think that the damp cloth they use to wipe the table does anything other than spread the germs around? Back to the antibacterial wipes. Wipe down the table, the chairs, the utensils, condiment bottles, and most important of all, the salt and pepper shakers.

Keep antibacterial wipes or gel in your purse or backpack. Use them in the bathrooms, hotels, lobbies, etc. Make sure they are good quality and destroy a high percentage of germs!

Am I paranoid? A little, yes. Do I look like an OCD crazy person? Maybe. I have a big incentive to try and mitigate the allergens and germs in my environment because of Randy. However, I have found that if I do these things, I am ill less often. Shouldn’t we all think about those around us? Someone nearby may be a transplant patient or someone who is immunosuppressed. If you are sick, wear a mask to protect others, it is the least we can all do.

germs, travel


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About the Author ()

I am an avid scuba diver, underwater photographer, amateur historian; interested in all people and cultures. For me, the unexpected is usually the norm! My motto? I am an Empty Nester who likes to Renew, Revamp, and Reinvent Life! Contact me at

Comments (21)

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  1. To my sister in paranoia: want a sanitizing wipe? Because I have a great supply. Or a mask? Because, me, too. Yes, that’s how I stay healthy and the stakes are even higher for you!
    Carol Cassara recently posted…Change is goodMy Profile

  2. Kim Acedo says:

    Getting sick can dampen travel plans so I agree to these tips!! Thank you Tam!
    Kim Acedo recently posted…5 Tips to Creating Your “Look Back Story”My Profile

  3. Ellen Dolgen says:

    Great tips for all of us! Do you have a fav anti-bacterial wipe that you use?

  4. Juetta West says:

    Great words of wisdom Tam!

  5. Michelle says:

    I am germ conscious. Sanitizer everywhere I go, wipe downs every Monday morning in my classroom and no, you can never be too cautious. Many nasty viruses out there and some are getting harder to treat. I don’t travel much but when I do, I take whatever precautions necessary. Enjoyed this post.

  6. Sue says:

    Nothing wrong with being paranoid. These are basic but helpful tips and ones we should all try to avoid illness. I’ve been sick a couple of times and when you are travelling you just want your own bed.

  7. Sheryl Kraft says:

    You can’t be careful enough. Germs are all around…I carry antibacterial wipes, and hand them out willingly!

  8. Carolann says:

    I agree! You can’t be too careful. I have OCD too so I’m right there with you on this one! Loved your tips. It’s always a good idea to improve on the obvious at times. Thank you!

  9. I was just on the LA subway and a guy was hacking up a storm. I wished I’d brought a pack of wipes with me. I’ve had great luck using Thieve’s Oil. I put a drop on my wrist every day. (or bottom of feet) I used to catch a cold and then get bronchitis. I haven’t had it for years and hardly ever catch a cold. Maybe it’s just because I believe it, I don’t know. Worth a try, though.
    Rebecca Forstadt Olkowski recently posted…How to Eliminate Toxins with Ayurveda Skin BrushingMy Profile

  10. I love this. I have to (who doesn’t) be super careful about germs because I have no immune system. We wipe down hotel rooms to the max! Great post (as always.)

  11. John says:

    Great article. Thanks for info.

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