Relax, germaphobes. We’ve got you covered! With all the bugs, staphs, and strains floating around, even the well-seasoned traveler can feel a little squeamish when the guy sitting next to him sneezes and touches his tray table. Try these handy products that can help keep you safe, sane, and sanitary.
1. Sleep Sack
No one relishes the idea of sharing a bed with bugs, germs, and other peoples’ dead skin cells. Fortunately, there is a solution less drastic than hauling along a whole set of bedding: the sleep sack. There are several different kinds of sleep sacks available online, but if you are a budget-conscious traveler, sleep sacks are also simple to make yourself. A sleep sack is essentially a sheet folded in half and sewn across the bottom. Silk is an excellent fabric choice because it rolls up very small, breathes well, and is less likely to get twisted around you when you sleep.
2. Pocket-sized hand sanitizer
Make sure you choose a sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Carrying a pocket-sized bottle—not a large bottle stored at the bottom of your suitcase—will help ensure you actually have it on you when you need it. The mini hand sanitizer from Purell contains 62% alcohol and has a handy carrier that can hook to your belt loop or bag strap.
3. Personal stash of toilet paper
There is no need to wonder who else has touched your piece of toilet paper when you pack your own. Also keep in mind that some countries don’t offer TP for free—you have to pay an attendant and hope you are given an adequate swatch for your needs. Charmin To Go Toilet Tissue comes in a water-resistant dispenser pack and is easily refillable.
4. Disposable toilet seat covers
For a few pennies a day, you can afford to avoid sitting on someone else’s germs. No more speculation about when the last time the toilet was disinfected. Biodegradable toilet seat covers are great if you are traveling to a place where the quality of the septic systems is suspect.
5. Flushable personal wipes
Flushable wipes, while an extremely handy addition to your toiletry kit, aren’t just for the restroom. Feel clean and fresh as you remove sand after a day at the beach, or wipe away sweat after you hike up a cliff for that beautiful view.
6. Public Restroom Survival Kit
If the previously suggested items aren’t assuaging your fears of foreign public restrooms, bring out the big guns: the Public Restroom Survival Kit. In addition to the personal toilet paper, wipes, toilet seat covers, and hand sanitizer, this kit also arms you with a travel-sized Lysol Disinfectant Spray, Safe2Touch On-The-Go Surface Cleaner, and two disposable gloves.
7. Pocket-sized first-aid Kit
With community-acquired MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureusis) on the rise, it’s become essential to keep all open cuts or scrapes covered. Don’t count on anyone else to run forward with a bandage and disinfectant—always carry your own. The pocket-sized first aid kit from Johnson & Johnson includes alcohol wipes, gauze pads, and various sizes of Band-Aids. There’s enough room in the small plastic case to fit other useful items, such as a fever-reducer, a small pair of scissors, blister protectors, and first aid ointment.
8. Travel-sized first-aid Kit
If you feel nervous leaving your medicine cabinet behind and a pocket-sized first aid kit just won’t do it for you, try the customizable Traveler Med Kit. The kit has 17 items, including fever reducers; anti-diarrheal, anti-histamine, and motion-sickness tablets; antibacterial ointment; medicated lip balm; alcohol wipes; insect sting relief; insect repellant; sunblock; personal bandages; a single-use cold pack; and a thermometer.
9. Toothbrush Sanitizer
Your friendly toothbrush often harbors risky germs. Toothbrush sanitizer to the rescue! Using the battery-operated VIOlight Travel Toothbrush, you can kill the nasty bacteria on your toothbrush with UV rays.
10. Disposable airline tray covers
In a recent study done by the University of Arizona, MRSA was found on 60% of tested airline trays. Use these handy tray covers to protect yourself from potentially dangerous bugs.