Travel expert warns passengers to avoid touching ‘dirtiest’ surfaces in planes

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    We Brits love to go on holiday whether it's an all-inclusive in sunny Spain, a long-haul trip to Florida or a cheap and cheerful staycation in the UK. But, one of the worst ways a holiday can be ruined is by getting sick.

    It's no fun being unwell while abroad or when using annual leave and it can often feel like a waste of money. Unfortunately, there are lots of reasons why you might fall unwell when travelling – whether that's because someone on your plane had a cold or because a fellow guest hopped in the pool with norovirus.

    READ MORE: Magaluf tourist slams hotel covered in 'sex stains, dirty sheets and mould'

    Thankfully, there are some things you can do to limit the transmission or picking up of bugs and viruses. Many of us learnt the basics when travelling during the coronavirus pandemic such as washing your hands frequently.

    But, there are also some rather unhygienic areas you might choose to pay attention to when on holiday.

    You might want to avoid the dirtiest places on planes, in taxis and at hotels. Alternatively, you can just make sure you clean your hands after coming into contact with them.

    Anton Radchenko, Travel expert and founder of AirAdvisor, told the Daily Star all about the grossest places when you're travelling. He shared the most unhygenic spots in planes, taxis, hotels and even by the pool. Check them out below…

    On the plane

    Anton explained: "Tray tables in-flight are often used as a surface for eating food, resting personal items, or working on a laptop, but they are rarely disinfected between flights.

    "Studies have shown that airlines’ onboard tray tables can harbour more bacteria than the airplane's bathroom or even the overhead air vent. Containing 2,155 bacteria colony-forming units (CFU) per square inch –eight times more than the airplane’s toilet flush button."

    He added: "Airlines' seat pockets are often used to store used tissues, food wrappers and other trash that can harbour harmful bacteria and viruses. It's a good idea to bring disinfectant wipes and clean these surfaces before using them to reduce your exposure to harmful germs and bacteria."

    Previously, flight attendants have also warned passengers to avoid touching the air vents or seat pockets as they are rarely cleaned. Plus, they say that the 'water' on the cabin floor is not actually water.

    In a taxi

    Anton told the Daily Star: "Seatbelt buckles are often the dirtiest place in taxis as they are frequently touched by different passengers throughout the day, and they are often not cleaned between rides. They can harbour high levels of bacteria, including harmful pathogens such as E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus.

    "Other areas in a taxi that can be dirty include the door handles and the air conditioning vents." So we'd advice keeping hand sanitiser on your person when travelling between venues.

    In the hotel room

    "Upon arrival from airport, hotel rooms may seem clean, but there are several items and areas that can be considered dirty and harbour harmful bacteria and germs the TV remote is one to look out for," said Anton. "It’s frequently touched by different guests and is rarely disinfected – you could try disinfecting yourself or popping a clear plastic bag over it to avoid direct contact."

    He commented: "Another item that isn’t generally cleaned between guests is the phone, this could do with a good wipe down before touching it. You could also try using the speaker function to avoid touching your face and wash your hands immediately after use."

    At the pool

    Anton explained: "The dirtiest place by a pool is often the pool deck, particularly in areas where people frequently walk. Other areas around a pool that can be just as dirty are the furniture such as lounge chairs and tables particularly if they’re not cleaned regularly."

    The expert continued: "Bathroom facilities can also be a source of harmful bacteria and germs, you can use a paper towel to open doors and use it as a barrier, seat covers are another good way to help avoid germs on toilet seats. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly, avoid touching your face or mouth whilst in the restroom and be extra careful to sanitise your hands after leaving to kill any remaining germs."


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