Travel Hygiene Tips: How to stay germ-free on the road

Did you ever step off a plane with wrinkled and stained clothes, a pore-clogged face, and a breath that tastes like bad airplane food? In that case, you know that maintaining travel hygiene while on the road isn’t always easy. Especially when traveling in areas where access to basic amenities isn’t available. However, if you prepare yourself properly, you’ll always know how to find a way to maintain hygiene while you travel, whether you’re in a five-star hotel or trekking in the Amazon Jungle. That’s what this article is about!

Keep your hands clean

travel hygiene

Some travelers don’t go anywhere without a hand sanitizer and there’s a good reason for that. It’s common sense to sanitize your hands before eating street food when there’s no place to wash your hands but you should always carry a pocket sanitizer with you. Here are a couple of reasons. Firstly, when flying, you are 100 times more likely to catch a cold due to low humidity and one of the best ways to prevent this is to keep your hands clean. Additionally, when traveling in a new country that has a very different climate of what you’re used, you’ll likely encounter a lot of germs that your body doesn’t have an antidote for because it never had contact with such germs before. Obviously, you can’t have complete control of this but keeping your hands clean and sanitized is critical to stopping nasty germs from spreading.

Maintain your facial hygiene while you travel

face wash

Even though not as important as keeping your hands clean, facial hygiene while traveling is also important. We all know dry skin can make you feel irritated or how sunburns can spoil your trip. If you want to avoid this and maintain your facial hygiene while you travel, you should consider two things.

  1. The climate of the place you’re going to
  2. Your skin type

If you’re traveling in hot and dry regions, like deserts, make sure to bring a moisturizer, a lip balm, and of course sunscreen. Alternatively, if you’re trekking in the jungle, you might not need a moisturizer because the area is already humid but you will surely need some sunscreen. If you want to save some space in your bag, I’d suggest you go for a 2-in-1-solution (sunblock/moisturizer). Apart from this, it’s probably a good idea to bring some rinse-free facial cleaner or at least some face-cleaning wipes.

Keep your breath fresh

bad breath

One of the most common consequences of racking up travel miles is getting what’s known as the traveler’s breath. This happens because the production of saliva slows down for different reasons (not hydrating your body properly, low humidity, etc.) and allows bacteria to grow inside the mouth and develop bad breath. Additionally, many travelers skip their meals while traveling because they don’t want to pay extra for a meal and this sometimes contributes to morning breath reoccurring later in the day too.

To avoid this, always carry some mints, gums or some fruits like apples and lemons. Additionally, you can get disposable Colgate wisps; tiny disposable toothbrushes that can help you freshen your breath when brushing your teeth isn’t an option. Another solution I recently discovered are toothpaste PocketMists– a tiny container with an effect so powerful, it will make you feel the bacteria in your mouth being singed away.

Keep your body clean

shower nature

Sometimes while traveling, you’ll be in an environment without access to clean water and shower facilities. If you’re planning to travel to such a destination, you can still maintain your body hygiene with no-rinse body wash. It’s the perfect solution for trekkers and campers who don’t have access to clean water. These products utilize water-based odor neutralizer that doesn’t require rinsing and is a great quick wash option.

How to clean your clothes on the road

laundry

When traveling, you need to be strategic about what kind of clothes you will pack and how will you clean and iron them. In order to do this, you first need to make a very specific plan of the places you will visit and the terrain you will explore. Are you planning to move a lot and spend a lot of time in the outdoors? Pack light with some light-weight, wrinkle-free clothes that dry quickly. If you want to keep your clothes clean while exploring the outdoors, consider buying a pocket-size portable laundry bag that will help you keep your clothes clean. If you don’t have an iron but want to keep your clothes tidy, get a wrinkle releaser; a liquid product that helps straighten your crumbled clothes and stretch it out. Finally, if you’re planning to spend a lot of time in the outdoors, don’t forget to bring a waterproof jacket.

Cleaning the place you stay in

Some people leave their rented room neat and clean while others leave it dirty and messy. Inevitably, someone always shows up to clean after you, but does that mean you can leave everything a mess? Arguably, you should do as much as you can. It’s not a rule, but it’s seen as a friendly and polite thing to do. Max Kenyon from Cleanthatfloor.com says it’s a matter of your manners and politeness, so you might want to consider how you leave the accommodation. Generally speaking, you should behave as you would if you were a guest in someone’s home. This means not leaving broken glass and trash behind you. It’s basic courtesy to try and make it easier for the person who has to clean after you.

Make your bed

make bed hygiene

Making the bed or stripping the sheets before you leave says a lot about you as a person. Frequently, people tend to forget their stuff in bed. Things like books, clothes, hair clips, and other such items are often found once you turn the sheets to fold them. It’s not something you’re required to do. Still, you’d probably fold the blanket and put the pillows back in place if you were staying in someone’s house.

Wash the dishes

You probably have a kitchen if you rented an apartment for a few days or weeks. If you used the plates, it would be nice to wash them before leaving the place. Again, if you don’t do it, the house cleaning service will do it for you since they have to make the place ready for the next guest. However, if you wish to make it a bit easier to that someone, you should wash your coffee mug before storming out. Much like when it comes to your bed, washing dishes is basic courtesy and politeness. It takes you no more than a minute or two, and it can make a massive difference to the person cleaning after you.

Take the trash out

This isn’t something people usually do. You should do it if you can, but if not, you can at least throw it all in the bin. Don’t leave food packaging and whatnot all over the room. Make sure to pick up all the trash and throw it in the bin, so it’s easier for the house cleaning service to throw it away.

As we mentioned, you’re not obligated to clean when staying at a hotel. However, it’s good manners and often considered polite to do so regardless of how long you stayed.

Menstruation hygiene tips

menstruation travel hygiene

If you’re a girl traveling for a longer period, you might be unfortunate to get your period on the road. This is never easy but there are a few basic tips you can follow. For starters, always carry a supply of clean pads or tampons, especially if traveling to a rural area and make sure you keep it in a dry place. Don’t forget to change your tampon/pad every 6-7 hours when you’re physically active and moving a lot. Also, make sure you have enough cleaning supplies; toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning wipes, and a bottle of antibacterial liquid. When you’re in the outdoors and are not prepared for your monthly cycle, you can use smooth stones, moss, or twigs, as long as they’re not prickly.

Last but not least, don’t forget your painkillers and PMS medication and consider getting a reusable menstrual cup but make sure that it isn’t too small if you have a heavy flow; these products come in different sizes. Finally, don’t forget that this cup needs to be kept clean all the time and this is not possible if you don’t have access to a supply of clean water.

How to pack light with all these travel hygiene items?

travel hygiene tips

While you might think that you need to pack a lot of items in order to be able to maintain personal hygiene while you travel but there certainly are some tricks in which you can cut back. Personally, I always stick to the 3:1:1 rule. What does this mean?

3 stands for 3-ounce containers or smaller, 1 stands for one quart-sized plastic bag, and the other 1 stands for one bag per passenger. All the containers must fit inside your bag and you only carry one such bag.

Enjoying this article? Then you’ll probably like my guide to staying fit while traveling.

Feeling Dirty?

If you ever feel that you don’t have enough time to wash your clothes or maintain your personal hygiene while you travel, slow down. Stop for a few days, take your time, relax and refresh, get a long shower, and clean your clothes. You’ll feel much better. And also, don’t forget that as important personal hygiene is, your physical condition and mental well-being are just as important and your travel adventures will feel a lot more rewarding if you give yourself a break once in a while. Take some vitamins, eat as healthy as you can, and don’t forget to exercise when possible. Your body and mind will be grateful.

How do you maintain your personal hygiene while you travel? What are your bigger challenges while on the road? Do you think we didn’t mention some important tips? Let us know in the comments!

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11 thoughts on “Travel Hygiene Tips: How to stay germ-free on the road”

  1. As someone a little obsessed with cleanliness this was interesting to read. I didn’t know there was such a thing as travellers breath and judging by some of the people I’ve sat next to on long train trips, it’s not that well known. I think keeping your hands clean is one of the most important and simple things you can do to stay healthy while on the road.

    Reply
  2. As someone who travels more than they sit still, I have definitely had and/or witnessed ALL of these. I travel extremely light, and pack as little as possible while also trying to be fairly eco-concious. Being a female I used to get so nervous about getting my period while on the road, packing boxes of tampons that take up WAY too much room in my bag. Switching to a cup was the most amazing decision I’ve ever made, and I highly recommend to every other female out there. Hurts your body and your wallet much less than the other products like pads and tampons. It even worked for me when I backpacked through South America for 3 months. I was always able to keep myself clean and healthy! Totally doable! Awesome post!

    Reply
  3. This was quite an enlightening read. I wasn’t even aware of traveler’s breath or that portable laundry bag. Good to know.
    And it is definitely very important to maintain personal hygiene while traveling for ourselves and for those around us. Since we travel with a kid, hygiene is of utmost importance to us. And we carefully plan our trips so that we can get our laundry done regularly and stock up on necessities. I am glad you touch upon all the points that can make a difference.

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  4. Isn’t it crazy how the little things can make such a difference when you’re traveling? I rarely check a bag, so I make sure to keep some deodorant and my toothbrush/toothpaste in my purse. After a long flight, there’s nothing better than feeling fresh and clean. I like to carry some face wet wipes with me, which also helps me not feel so stagnant and gross on the long haul flights!

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  5. These tips though look very simple but are highly essential to main hygiene during travel. Washing hands regularly and keeping the breath clean is the thing I follow always. Also I liked your 3:1:1 rule for packing travel hygiene items and also traveling lightly. Never followed this rule but now surely go for it as it looks interesting.

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  6. I really enjoyed reading this, as I’m obsessed with cleanliness. I’ve never heard the term “traveler’s breath” but know what you’re referring to- and no one wants to smell that! I love your trips regarding cleaning the places you stay in. We always do our best to leave the places in the same condition we found them in. I travel with small cleaning products so I can sanitize things quickly when we arrive, because you never know if it was properly cleaned for you (and I have a toddler, so I want to be especially careful).

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  7. I definitely can relate to how important this topic is. After a long flight, or just a long day going around sightseeing, you can just feel how dirty your body can get. I travel with kids so we always carry baby wipes and hand sanitizer with us. I think I will never give up on carrying the baby wipes with me again. They can be used in so many things.

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  8. Thanks for making these excellent travel hygiene suggestions, which are relevant to short road trips and long-haul flights alike (and beyond). You clued me in to a few products I didn’t even know existed, like the no-rinse body wash. (Now that you mention it, I might add some dry shampoo into the mix.)

    There’s nothing more embarrassing than realizing you have a hygiene issue while traveling…thanks for posting a great resource!

    Reply
  9. Hi, I read Your blog and I am very impressed after reading your blog, and your information about travel Hygiene is very helpful for me. thank you very much.:)

    Reply

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