How to stay healthy on your next flight

Travel takes its toll on any air traveler. The stress of rushing to catch your flight combined with jet lag, long hours, and interrupted sleep can make you vulnerable to catching a cold — or worse. Below are a few tips taken from our upcoming book, 300 Healthy Travel Tips, that we hope will help you avoid catching a bug the next time you fly. Safe travels to you!

Your seat can be a germ magnet, and an easy way to catch a cold. Bring sanitary antibacterial wipes in your carry-on bag. (Clorox makes travel packs of disinfecting wipes that we highly recommend.) Studies have shown that it’s the surfaces you touch rather than the airplane’s air you breathe that will likely make you sick. Before you settle into your seat, wipe down everything around you, including your tray table (it’s the most germ-infested item you will encounter on the plane), air vent, armrests, seatbelt buckle, and anything else you might touch. Pro Tip: Wiping down the passenger next to you won’t go over too well, however.

Important: Avoid using or touching the seat pocket in front of you. It’s germ central. Previous passengers have stuffed it with used Kleenex, diapers, and other unmentionable trash.

When using the plane’s bathroom, assume that every surface you touch is a gateway for E. coli and other germs. Be sure to wash and sanitize your hands thoroughly. Use a tissue or a silicone surgical glove to protect your hand from directly touching the bathroom’s toilet seat, toilet flush handle, faucet, door lock, and doorknob. If you’re traveling with children, make sure they do this too.

In airports and on the plane, any doorknob, surface, or handrail is a potential vector for colds, flu, and other diseases. Keep your hands clean and sanitized while you travel. Keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer in your pocket and use it as you go.

From our upcoming book, 300 Healthy Travel Tips. Learn more at