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  • Writer's pictureConnie George

31 Germy Surfaces to Quickly Disinfect When Traveling to Avoid Illness

Updated: Nov 1, 2023

Hand holding blue package of wipes in front of tan background with another hand pulling a wipe out

I don't know about you, but too often, I come home from a trip to a cold that starts within days. Most typically, it's after trips that involved flying.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "disinfection destroys most pathogenic and other microorganisms." When trying to avoid getting sick from a cold or Covid-19, Norovirus, flu, and other nastiness, that's good news!

By spending a few minutes using disinfectant wipes on the high-touch surfaces you'll encounter, you will reduce your chances of getting sick on your trip or coming home with a bug.

Tips on using disinfecting wipes:

  • Disinfectant wipes and antibacterial wipes are virtually the same things.

  • Read the directions on your package of wipes.

  • Do not overuse a wipe. Wipes are only effective when they are wet. Also, using the same side of a wipe on multiple surfaces can share germs between the surfaces.

  • Disinfectants should not be used on skin. That includes using them to clean your hands.

  • It's best to wear gloves when using disinfectant wipes.

  • If you don't wear gloves, be sure to clean your hands afterward.

Since disinfectants shouldn't be used on your hands, you should also travel with hand sanitizer. Sanitizer will also come in handy when you can't wash your hands after using antibacterial disinfectant wipes. I'll share more about hand sanitizer at the end of this article.

The 31 surfaces you want to wipe down with your antibacterial disinfectant wipes:

These high-traffic, hard surfaces include items on airplanes, hotel rooms, cruise ship cabins, car rides, public areas, and electronics.

Bottom of the overhead in an airplane with a hand pressing flight attendant button, lights and air vent nearby
Reach up and disinfect your flight attendant call button, air vent and light.


  • Flight attendant call button

  • Overhead air vent

  • Overhead light

  • Window shade (if you have a window seat)

  • Seat belt clip

  • Armrests

  • Headrest

  • Tray table & latch

  • Lavatory (door & faucet handles, toilet flush button & seat)

After disinfecting, use hand sanitizer. To protect your hands against the effects of the disinfectant, sanitizer, or hand-washing and dry cabin air, follow up with a hand cream to moisturize them.

Hotel rooms & Cruise ship cabins:

  • Entrance, bathroom & closet handles

  • Door locks

  • Remote control

  • Telephone

  • Sink, tub & shower faucets & knobs

  • Toilet seat

  • Toilet flush lever/button

  • Drawer knobs

  • Light switches

  • Counter, table and vanity tops

  • In-room safes

  • Pens

  • Room keycards

After disinfecting, wash your hands with soap and water.

Smiling black woman using her phone in the back seat of a yellow taxi with window down
Be sure to use an antibiotic wipe to clean off car surfaces whether you are a share rider or are renting a car.

Cab & ride share vehicles:

  • Handles

  • Window control button

After disinfecting, use hand sanitizer.

Old-fashioned tan, brown and black poster with the word toilet and silouettes of a woman in a long dress with umbrella and man with closed umbrella, pipe and hat
Restroom toilets and ATMs are two of the public areas you want to disinfect before touching.

Public places:

  • ATM buttons

  • Public restroom toilet seats and flush lever/button

After disinfecting, use hand sanitizer or wash your hands with soap and water.

hand holding remote control aimed at a television
Any electronics with touchscreens and buttons whether it belongs to you or must be used by you should be wiped down.

Electronics & Misc.:

  • Keyboards

  • Touchscreens

  • Cell phones

  • Tablets

  • Luggage handles & zippers

After disinfecting, use hand sanitizer or wash your hands with soap and water.

Why Not Use Disinfectant Wipes on Your Skin?

There are a couple of reasons. First, because it destroys what your skin needs. According to Donald Ford, MD, family medicine doctor at Cleveland Clinic as quoted in this article, “…..because “good” bacteria live on your skin, so when you apply something that kills basically all the bacteria on your hands, you’re killing off some that are actually helpful and natural."

Secondly, you could have an allergic or chemical reaction.

31 surfaces to clean with disinfectant wipes
This infographic covers, at a glance, all items suggested to be cleaned with disinfectant wipes. Permission is granted to share this providing it is not changed in any way.

The only thing worse than being sick at home is being sick on vacation. By following these fast and straightforward tips, we can reduce our chances of getting ill while traveling and when we get back home.

Book your cruise or tour with Connie George Travel Associates for additional trip-related tips.

Happy Traveling!


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