The sheets aren’t stained. There’s no hair in the sink. The water glasses are wearing those little paper hats. Your hotel room looks clean – but is it? Not necessarily.
An overall appearance of cleanliness is a good sign, but it’s no guarantee that the hundreds of strangers who stayed in your room before you haven’t left a few of their germs behind.
Read before you reserve.
Before booking a room, read the reviews of previous visitors on travel sites. Consumer reviewers are known for their brutal honesty, so if no one raises any red flags about cleanliness, take it as a good sign.
Do a renovation check.
Renovations are likely to be loud, and may stir up dirt and dust, so call ahead to make sure parts of the hotel aren’t under construction.
Unexpected maintenance? Ask to switch to a room farther away from the upkeep.
Pack antibacterial wipes.
What are the germiest places in a hotel room? According to travel expert Peter Greenberg, the TV remote ranks #1. Not far behind are the doorknobs, phone receiver, toilet flusher, faucets, and ice bucket. Limit your germ exposure by giving all of them a thorough disinfecting before handling.
Beware of bedbugs.
When it comes to bedbug infestations, even the most upscale hotels with the strictest sanitary practices aren’t immune. And unfortunately, most do battle bedbugs from time to time thanks to an ever-changing international clientele. What can you do to avoid becoming infested yourself? Before unpacking or even laying your suitcase on the bed, start by checking under and between the mattresses for small reddish-brown spots left behind by the creepy critters. Look for the same thing between couch cushions and at the edges of the carpet. Spotting an actual bedbug isn’t easy, but they are visible to the naked eye and resemble tiny ticks. If you see anything that concerns you, alert the front desk right away and request a refund.
Bring your own snacks.
Keeping fruit (banana, apple), bottled water, and nuts or trail mix in your room helps ensure that you don’t overdo it when eating out.
Avoid the reusable glasses, even if they have a paper cover on top (plastic sealed cups are preferable).
Wipe down the TV remote and telephone with an antibacterial wipe before first use.
Toss the bed cover.
Bedspreads are notorious havens for dust mites (and worse). Stash it in the corner of the room.