How to make your hotel room healthier

woman at hotel room window in dawn light

Did you know that your hotel room has the potential to make you sick? Hotel rooms can be a hotbed for germs, and the lighting and poor circulation in some make for an unhealthy environment. Luckily, there are some simple things you can do when you first walk in the door to make your room a little more inviting and hospitable.

Disinfect high tough items
Pack antibacterial wipes in your suitcase and disinfect the most commonly used objects before unwinding. Take care to wipe down the telephone, door handles, toilet flush, light switches, taps and TV remote.

Check for bed bugs
When you first enter your room, ensure you put your suitcase in a safe place such as the bathroom or luggage rack. Popping it straight on the bed or carpet could be seen as an invitation from any pesky bed bugs.

And those are the last thing you want to be bringing home from your trip.

Take a good look around for any sign of bed bugs. Check the corners of the bed, the sheets and the mattress for reddish-brown blood spots or live bugs.

If you spot bed bugs, notify staff immediately and request a room without a shared wall to your original.

Read: How to spot bed bugs in your hotel

Ditch the bedspread
Bedspreads are notorious for holding germs, which is why many hotels use duvets with removable covers that are easy to launder. However, just because duvet covers can be laundered does not mean that they are, at least, probably not as often as you’d expect. As Reneta McCarthy, a former housekeeping manager for a leading American hotel chain, told CNN, hotels may not switch out the duvet covers when they are providing fresh top sheets. Your best bet is to play it safe and either pack your own duvet cover or request for it to be washed when you arrive.

Create some soft noise
Invest in a portable white noise maker if you’re a light sleeper.

Open the window
Paint, furniture and cleaning products can often degrade the quality of the air inside a hotel room. Poor air quality may cause headaches and fatigue.

Improve the circulation in the room by opening a window, if possible, and inviting in fresh air (depending on where you are).

Alternatively, before booking, you could enquire whether the hotel uses non-toxic cleaning products if you want to err on the side of caution.

Read: How safe is the air quality in your home?

Request a non-smoking floor
Ask for a non-smoking floor when making your reservation. Not an option? Request a non-smoking room at least.

Bring your own snacks
Stock up on tasty snacks such as fruit and nuts at a local supermarket so you’re not tempted by the mini bar.

Maximise natural light
Relying less on artificial light and more on the natural may help improve your energy, mood and sleep while travelling. Light is the primary driver that regulates the body’s biological clock and sleep-wake cycle, which helps when adjusting to a different time zone.

Request a room with good light and which doesn’t face directly into another room or building.

Keep curtains open during the day and unplug anything that emits artificial light at night.

Avoid the glassware
Either thoroughly clean the glasses yourself before using them or stick with plastic-wrapped cups.

Read: Is your hotel really clean?

Inquire about renovation
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.

What do you do when you first enter a hotel room? Do you have any other tips to add to the list? Please let us know in the comments section below.

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Written by Ellie Baxter

Writer and editor with interests in travel, health, wellbeing and food. Has knowledge of marketing psychology, social media management and is a keen observer and commentator on issues facing older Australians.

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