15 steps to a healthier hotel stay

Whether it’s for business or pleasure, chances you’ll stay in hotels where hygiene and cleanliness aren’t quite up to par. Here’s how to make your vacation home healthier and safer

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Healthy hotels

Let’s say you’re lucky enough to take two weeks’ vacation away from home each year. Or perhaps your job sends you on a training course for a few days. Then there’s your niece’s wedding, a weekend getaway or two to the country. All in all, we may spend 10 to 20 nights a year in a hotel room. That’s not to be sneezed at. Or, more accurately, that’s a lot to sneeze at. We’d all love to stay at five-star hotels with immaculate cleanliness, but the reality is most of us can afford only smaller, cheaper hotels-and hygiene and cleanliness may not be quite up to par. Here are 15 ideas on how to make your vacation home more pleasant, healthier and safer.

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woman at gym

Stay active

• Divide your breakfast and lunch breaks in two. Whether away on vacation or business, use half the time for eating and the other half for walking outside. Just as you should always do.

• If you’re staying for several days, book a hotel with a pool or gym room. Exercising will ease any stiffness from travelling and burn off some of the calories from the breakfast buffet, business lunch or wedding cake.

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Pool precautions

• Pack a pair of flip-flops. Use them in the bathroom, on the carpet (who knows the last time the carpet was properly cleaned) and in the pool area to prevent any fungal (or worse) infections.

• Be wary of a hotel’s hot tub. There’s no doubt that hot tubs are luxuriously soothing and, if you’re fit and healthy, go ahead and plunge in. Just be aware that hot tubs can foster bacteria such as the one that causes folliculitis (itchy red bumps). And occasionally people have developed bronchitis and even serious forms of pneumonia from breathing in air contaminated by bacteria in the water.

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hotel door

Safety first

• If someone knocks on your door, ask who it is and verify before opening. If you didn’t order room service, or don’t know why the “employee” is there, call the front desk to verify they sent someone.

• Use all of the locking devices for your door, and lock all of the windows and sliding glass doors.

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bug spray repellent

Don’t let the bedbugs bite

• Check your luggage for alien bugs and insects when you get home. If you find any, put your clothes straight into the washing machine, then dry them on high heat for at least 15 minutes. Anything that isn’t washable should be put into the freezer for a couple of days.

• Pack insect and pest repellent. In tropical and sub-tropical countries your hotel room could be invaded by mosquitoes, particularly if it is close to open water. Always take an effective insect repellent (and make sure you’ve taken any necessary precautions in advance, such as anti-malaria pills). Some people also find that taking 100 mg vitamin B1 or 300 mg of brewer’s yeast keeps mosquitoes at bay-take it in advance as the benefits are only apparent after about a week. In some cheaper hotels you may also need protection against bedbugs which leave itchy welts on the skin. The evidence is tiny bloodstains on pillows or mattress liners and seams. If you see any, you should immediately contact the management, ask for a change of room and make sure it’s bedbug clear.

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swine flu sneeze

Clear the air

• Ask for an allergy-free room. Some hotels offer rooms that are designed to minimize the amounts of dust mites and other allergens. Even if you don’t have allergies, this might be a good choice if you’re prone to colds and flus. Other hotels provide allergy packs, including face masks, special pillows and mattress covers. But you have to ask for them.


• Moisten the dry air with the help of a kettle. If your room has a kettle, fill it with plenty of water, heat it until it steams, then let the steam escape into the room until the water’s almost gone. Your sinuses will thank you.

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alarm clock

What to pack

• Pack a photograph of someone you love (even your dog). If, when you come back to your room after a stressful day, you begin to feel lonely or get that “What city am I in?” confusion that often comes with long trips, you can cheer yourself up by looking at the picture and reminding yourself of home.


• Use a battery-operated travel alarm clock. You’ll fall asleep quicker and sleep better if you don’t have to worry about missing an important appointment because you set the hotel alarm clock wrongly or someone at reception has forgotten your wake-up call.

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sleeping at night

Sleep hygeine

• Pack a long-sleeved pyjama top and long PJ pants. If you are concerned about the hygiene of bedding in a budget hotel, reduce contact by wearing body-covering PJs and light socks to bed.

Use your bed for sleeping only. Don’t work or eat on it and don’t watch TV on it. Not only is this more hygienic, but you’ll probably find it easier to fall asleep.

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hotel room

Out with the old, in with the new

• Choose modern over old. Yes, older bed and breakfasts are far superior in terms of charm and personal touches, but their rooms and public sitting areas also tend to accumulate more allergens and dust. So if health is a real concern while travelling, go for good modern hotels.


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Stealth Health

More healthy travel tips from Stealth Health

You don’t need to add hours of exercise or cut out all the foods you love to reap the rewards of good health. Most of these smart, simple solutions actually take no more than 5 minutes! Strategies like drinking two or more glasses of orange juice a day to increase good cholesterol; eating fresh tuna regularly to improve memory; reversing gum disease by humming while brushing teeth! You can even turn a sock, rice and cinnamon sticks into an amazing tension-reducing device! Brimming with extremely easy, very accomplishable, tried and tested tips to reduce blood pressure, boost energy, lose weight and super-charge your well-being.


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