How to avoid picking up germs during your next vacation

Heading on a trip soon? While that's cause for celebration, it's also a good idea to be mindful of areas that have germs lurking around. The task may not sound exciting but we promise it's worth it in the long run! Naturopath Dr. Olinca Trejo told us all we need to know about spots where germs are hiding and steps we can take to avoid coming in contact with them or bringing them home with us.


Waiting in the airport security line can sometimes feel never-ending. When there's a line of people in a rush to get through security, it's easy to not think twice about where you're storing your belongings. Plastic bins at airport security are the biggest culprit for spreading germs when travelling through airports. Another area that is typically germ-ridden is the check-in touchscreens that are placed near airline counters. The high touch rate is what causes many germs to sit on the screen.

Washing your hands before and after going through security is ideal, but if you're in a rush make sure you have some hand sanitizer in your bag.


Studies have found that the germiest place on an airplane is the headrest. This may sound alarming because it's likely where you'll be spending the majority of your flight, but by wearing a hoodie or hat you can avoid bringing germs with you. Upon arrival at your destination, try to give your hair a good wash as an extra precaution. 

As convenient as it is to store your magazines and snacks in the airplane seat pocket, we recommend against it. The airplane seat pocket doubles as a trash can for many passengers and during quick flight turnovers, they often don't get sanitized between destinations. Instead, keep your stuff in your own bag or on your lap.

When it comes to tray tables, they carry more bacteria than a toilet seat. They are touched by almost every single passenger, many of which leave dirty tissue depositories behind. Ensure you give your tray table a thorough wipe before using. 

Having an aisle seat can seem like a great perk with more leg room but it also means coming into contact with anyone that is walking down the aisle. Between sneezing, coughing and breathing, it's more likely that walking passengers will spread their germs to the aisle seat. Window seats are a better bet since they're shielded from exposure.


During long road trips it can be hard to avoid eating a full meal in the car. Things tend to get messy when you have a family eating, drinking and relaxing in one space. Though you might assume that the spot with the most germs in a car is the steering wheel, it actually is a tie between the front seat cup holder, the dashboard air vent, the driver side doormats and the trunk of the car.

The first step of action you can take is to avoid eating in your car. Skip the drive-through and head inside. Getting out of your car is also a good opportunity to stretch, use the washroom and eat properly. For overnight rides this might be unrealistic, so if you do decide to have a meal in your car make sure you throw out the trash once you reach your destination or at any stop. Also, keep a pack of disinfecting wipes in your glove box so that you always have them on hand!