While traveling, the hotel is your home away from home.  It’s nice to have someone cleaning your room, adding linens, and making your bed while you are out and about, but a neatly made bed and fresh towels do not always equal a germ-free room.

The uncleanliness of a hotel room may not put your life in danger, yet it could affect your health, and state of mind while traveling.  Studies show that germs lurk in places like light switches, remotes, and telephone keypads.  Here are a few tips to help you sleep more soundly on your next adventure.

Read Reviews.  There are no international standards for hotel cleanliness.  Price, location, or brand name will not guarantee a sanitary room.  Find out what fellow travelers are saying on web reviews.  TripAdvisor, Expedia, AAA are all resources to look at prior to booking a hotel.  If your specific concerns, call the hotel management and solicit information about their sanitation standards and if they belong to International Housekeeper’s Association.

Upon arrival, assess the appearance of the hotel.  Groomed landscaping, trash-free walkways, shiny mopped floors, clean carpets, and organized brochure shelves indicate cleanliness is a priority.  Examine your room for mold, hair, and grime in the bathroom.  Check glassware for fingerprints, soap residue, or lipstick remnants.  Check refrigerators and drawers for other guests left behind items, indicating poor cleaning.

Washing hands might sound trivial, but it has been proven to reduce the transfer of cold and flu viruses, and prevent the spread of bacteria from whatever you are touching.

Fling off the bedspread, as they are often not laundered after each guest like towels and sheets. 

Examine under the mattress for reddish-brown spots indicating bug infestation.  Call the front desk immediately if you have concerns.

It is not a bad idea to rinse glassware with hot water before using it, just to be sure it is clean.  Also, bringing along a spray sanitizer or disinfectant and spraying a few frequently touched surfaces and greatly enhance cleanliness.  Sanitizing wipes are good for remotes, phones, and doorknobs.

It is always good to bring along hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes when traveling.  If you still have concerns about cleanliness and germs, travel with your own sheets, towels, and blankets.