It’s no myth that airports carry thousands of germs and are often a hotbed of illnesses–illnesses you can contract while traveling to or from your travel destination. The Journal of Environmental Health Research suggests that an individual is 100 times more likely to catch a cold when traveling. While there’s no a lot you can do about the cleanliness of an airport or the plane, there are several ways to prepare before your trip even begins.

Photo of map with toy car

Why Focus on Preventative Health?

Embarking on a preventative health plan can help you in so many ways. Not only will the plan keep you healthy, it will boost your immune system. This means that your body will be able to ward off germs when you’re visiting places like an airport.

Preventative care can be a traveler’s best kept secret. How can you embark on such a plan? It’s very simple. First, focus on eating a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Cut out processed foods and limit your sugar intake. Second, make sure you’re drinking enough water each day. This is important on travel days and during your regular routine. Finally, make sleep and exercise a high priority in your life. Aim for 7-9 hours a night for sleep; and 3-5 times a week for moderate to strenuous exercise.

Packing for your trip

That’s it? No Crazy Pre-Travel Planning?

When you focus on preventative health, you’re making a commitment to your sustained health. You’ll be less reliant on drugs or medical care and you’ll feel so much better. To prepare for your trip, take your preventative care to the next level. Get even more sleep. Take a long walk before your flight. Drink a lot of water before you step on the plane.

Avoiding Germs in the Airport

While the preventative care plan will help boost your system, of course it’s still possible to pick up colds along the way. To minimize your risk of exposure, be mindful of the dirtiest places in an airport/plane. These include:

Airplane tray table

When possible, pack a small container of lysol wipes to quickly clean your seat and area when you board the plane. Cleaning when you first arrive will help cut down on any existing germs.

Bathroom lock stalls

Be mindful of the bathroom and wash your hands immediately after exiting the stall. If possible, try and keep any personal belongings attached to you to avoid direct contact with the stall’s surface.

Airport Water Fountains

Pack a large, empty water bottle for your flight. The empty bottle will make it through security and once you’re cleared, you can fill the bottle up at any filling station. This can be safer than drinking directly out of a fountain. You can also look for water bottle filling stations at the airport. Many airports have installed stations for this use only.

No-shoe zone at Security

If possible, try and wear socks on the day of your flight. This will help protect your bare feet when walking through security. Socks are also a great idea for your flight. Often times, the temperature inside the airplane is quite cold and socks can be a great way to keep comfortable.

Finally, to stay safe, wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face. And remember–preventative care should be adopted as your lifestyle, not as a quick fix before you travel. The longer you implement this routine, the healthier and better you’ll feel.

Photo of an airplane