Traveling has always been revered as luxurious or exotic. Travel also screams germs. I’d guess that the germ part has to do with millions of travelers passing through airports and breathing shared air while jet-setting around the globe. In 2017, travel numbers were up for Americans as noted in an annual Airlines for America report. The report shows that almost half, or 48% of the United States population flew on an airline last year. Needless to say, the airport is a busy place and airplanes get around.
With all these passengers, how can you keep yourself clean while traveling? What can we expect?

Commercial aircraft aren't as dirty as you think.

With the air filters on-board, you’ll find less microscopic viruses and bacteria floating around in the circulated air. According to Dr. Virk, an infectious disease expert with the Mayo Clinic, your chance of catching something in the airport is actually significantly higher than it is on an airplane. Just because I said that doesn’t mean the airplane is totally germ-free. Keep reading on other ways to avoid germs while traveling.

Wear socks to the airport.

Another safeguard was born after “shoe bomber” Richard Reid attempted to hide explosives in his shoes on a U.S.-bound plane in December 2001. Since then, all travelers, with the exception of specially-cleared passengers (TSA precheck, etc.), are required to remove their shoes in order to go through security. To avoid any nasty bacterial or fungal infections, wear socks while traveling so you don’t walk on that dirty floor. Also, if you have special clearance through security you’ll be able to keep your laptop in your bag. This gives you less opportunity to share germs with all those plastic bins used by everyone else.

Get a good night's sleep before traveling.

Take extra care of yourself when traveling by getting a good night’s sleep the night before you arrive to the airport. Travelers that are sleep-deprived are more likely to catch something because of a lower immune system.

Stay hydrated.

Ever notice how dry it is at 35,000 feet? Stay hydrated. Be sure to drink lots of water and if possible, travel with an empty water bottle. Most airports now have refillable, filter-water stations where you can refuel. When you keep your respiratory tract hydrated, you’re more protected against germs. Boost your defenses so you can keep clean and stay healthy while traveling.

Wash your hands often.

This next part goes without saying. Wash your hands regularly while traveling. Most importantly, wash your hands before eating. Thousands of people have sat in your assigned aircraft seat before you.  Don’t fret too much about the aircraft seat you’re sitting on because your risk of catching something here is quite low. Your clothing provides a strong barrier between the seat and your skin, so be sure to cover up in your comfy layers before boarding.

Travel with antibacterial gel or hand wipes.

Oftentimes, we do not have access to a sink or soap to wash our hands, think about those five minutes or so when the airplane is in takeoff or descending. Antibacterial gel is sold in travel sizes that meet TSA 3.4oz rule and hand wipes are allowed aboard the aircraft. The cabin crew tries to maintain a clean environment, but sometimes delays or short connections do not give enough time to thoroughly clean before the next haul of passengers board. Do yourself a favor and clean your own tray table.

So there you have it. 6 Ways to Keep Clean While Traveling according to research and our opinion. 

Is it possible that we overexamined germs at the airport or on the airplane a bit much? Possibly. However, understanding traveler’s needs or wants can help us when designing aircraft seats. Their durability, materials, hygienic factors, structure, and more.

Will you use these tips next time you travel? We’d like to hear from you!