Wanderdust: A Guide to the Most Germ-Ridden Items

Holidays are, undoubtedly, the best time of the year. Whether it’s a Christmas getaway, a long weekend exploring a new city, or a two week, all-inclusive, poolside break in an exotic country, it is always, always something to look forward to. But how much do we actually know about our holidays, and the places we visit – especially when it comes to how many germs we’re encountering? We are all careful to wash our hands, wipe down the surfaces with anti-bac, and carry hand sanitizer with us when we’re at home, but when we’re away we can become unwittingly trusting that the place we’re staying in – and the places we’re visiting – are squeaky clean. Is it because the idea of a professional cleaner makes us assume things are cleaner than they are? Or do we simply care less because we’re on holiday, and feeling more care-free?

Whatever the reason, the chances are you’ve been lulled into a false sense of security, so we decided to put it to the test and see just how germy each aspect of your holiday is. From the airport all the way to the beach, we thoroughly analyzed every part of the travel experience to find out the most germ-ridden places and objects you are likely to encounter while traveling. We’re afraid the results aren’t pretty.

Germs You Will Encounter While Travelling

First things first, in order to properly assess how germ-ridden a holiday can be, we looked at a variety of different places you encounter while traveling: the airport, aeroplane, hotel room, public transport, cars, the beach, and the pool, using various sources and statistical data sets to analyse the number of bacteria found on objects in these places.

To get right down to the dirty details, the number one most germ-ridden item you will encounter while traveling is the self-check-in machines found at the airport, with some machines hosting over 1 million colony forming units per square inch (CFU). Considering the sheer volume of people that pass through an airport every hour, let alone every day/week/month/year (for instance, Heathrow has on average 8,904 people pass through the airport every hour), as well as the increase in people seeking out “do it yourself” technology in otherwise stressful situations – such as when travelling – it is unsurprising that these machines are so germy.

Surprisingly, the least germ-ridden part of your holiday is the airplane’s toilet seat, as this is something that will be cleaned constantly. It still harbors tons of pathogens though, so experts recommend lining the seat with toilet paper, so your skin doesn’t actually make contact with the seat.

Have a look below at our breakdown of bacteria across different locations you visit while traveling.

The Airport

The worst part about going on holiday is, undoubtedly, the airport. Checking in, hanging around, dealing with screaming kids, having to find your check-in gate, it’s pretty much all awful. But wait, that whole experience is about to get worse. Because the airport is absolutely FULL of germs. Wherever you are in an airport, you name it, it’ll be germier than probably your whole house put together.

At least 10% of airport surfaces have traces of virus causing bacteria on them, which is a hefty amount when you consider you how big an airport is. Not only this but the water in water fountains that you’re encouraged to use to fill up your water bottle? Turns out toilet water would actually be cleaner, because water fountains are rarely if ever, sanitized. Which is fine, just make sure you use a towel to turn the sink on and off if you fill your bottle up in here, because the sink handles are absolutely covered in bacteria (50,000 CFU per square inch, to be exact).

The Aeroplane

Even though flying is often advertised as being cool and glamorous, the reality is far from this. The truth is, it’s uncomfortable, cramped, the temperature is never right, the lack of humidity dries out your skin and causes breakouts, and there’s always at least one person who’s got some sort of flu. All in all, it’s pretty grim. Which is why it’s not surprising that most people end up ill after flying.

Not only is the plane not cleaned between flights, but those magazines that everyone handles every trip? Only changed once a quarter when a new edition comes out. Those overhead air vents that are great for cooling you down? Excellent distributors of airborne germs. And that seatbelt you wear to keep yourself safe? The likelihood is that it’s never been cleaned.

The Hotel Room

Considering that every single time you stay at a hotel you can always spot at least one maid making the rounds, a hotel room is really not as clean as you would think. Or as clean as you would like. Case in point: fecal matter can be found on 81% of surfaces. So that’s four out of five things you touch that has fecal matter on it. Grim.

The biggest hot spots are the light switches, telephone keypads, and TV remotes because let’s face it, these are the easiest items to forget about but that clearly doesn’t mean everything else is clean. For example, sponges often carry bacteria from one room to the next, contaminating different sections of rooms, and glasses are often cleaned with cloths previously used to clean dirty surfaces and then not cleaned themselves.

Public Transport

Unless you’re lucky enough to have your hotel smack bang in the middle of everything, chances are you’ll use at least one form of public transport while traveling. Everyone knows about the germs that are present on public transport because this isn’t a new thing for germaphobes to focus in on, and one in ten people are reported to avoid public transport completely due to hygiene fears.

It turns out people are right to have these fears: the subway is often the dirtiest way of traveling around a city, with train seats over six times dirtier than toilets. And if that’s not enough to put you off, thanks to the high level of bacteria found on bus handles/poles, if the same level was found in a supermarket it would be shut down by a health inspector. Nice.


If you decide against public transport (which isn’t surprising considering that little nugget of information about how dirty public transport is), chances are you’ll be hiring a car. But be wary here too, as studies show that on average people only clean the insides of their car less than 10 times a year. That’s a long time for germs and bacteria to build up.

In fact, the dashboard of a car is said to be as dirty as a toilet seat, while a gear stick is a home to 356 different types of germs. On the bright side, the steering wheel is the cleanest part of your car – until you have to use your gear stick though, apparently.


Despite it being hammered into you when you were a kid that a pool is full of chlorine, hence why you shouldn’t drink the water (like it stopped you anyway), that doesn’t actually mean it’s clean. Did you know, for example, that if you can smell the chlorine that means the pool is actually very dirty? It’s because chlorine only emits that specific chlorine smell when it’s been activated i.e. when it’s doing its job and cleaning the water – which means the water is dirty.

As for the beach, turns out although seawater is likely to be contaminated with wastewater from sewage and other sources, there are still up to 100 times more bacteria on the sand than in the water. Plus, for those that like to play in the sand or be buried in it: you’re more likely to develop diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.

Looking for some more dirty details? Have a look at our travel germs by numbers breakdown below.


Lonely Planet: A Good Trip Fellow

Sometimes it is difficult to know which the best places to visit are or where to invest your time. Especially, when you are travelling to a destination you have never been before.

The internet is of course a good source, but it can turn out to be a bit complicated. There exist so many websites that offer different opinions. Therefor, it may be tricky to know which is the good one.

What is it?

For this problem, we have a fair and completely reliable solution for you: Lonely Planet. This is a travelling guide which will provide you the best advise, no matter where you are travelling. The most touristic cities are available in several languages making your experience easier. In addition to that, it is recommended by travelling experts who really care about this kind of experiences.

Of course it is a way to guide your vacations and you will love this guide if you still like paper writing books. Each one is written by a well experienced person who knows perfectly the zone. He will provide suggestions to visit the best places.

How to proceed?

Our suggestion is that, the first day you arrive to your destination, you may catch your taxi previously booked. Go to your hotel or apartment, leave your luggage there and go to the closest bookshop to your location.

They usually have a specified department devoted to travel. Here, you will easily find the Lonely Planet version in your own language.

You will find two versions, the normal and the pocket one. The last one is more appropriate when you are travelling few days and you want to do. After all it will suggest plenty of things and activities. Prices varie between 12 and 25 EUR, you can also visit their webpage.



You will not regret having invested your money in that guide, that is for sure. Furthermore, you will be given details about every place that is worth a visit.  In addition, it will give you prices and schedules. As a result,  you can plan your trip and enjoy it as much as possible. You will also find recommendations about museums, interest points, nature and many more! Everything will depend on the destination you are visiting, but you will be recommended the best places and experiences from this location.

Food and drinks

You are also given advices for restaurants and places for having some drinks and food. As people usually try to avoid touristy places and go to local establishments, this is usually a tricky point when travelling. In that way, you will be also able to save money, as the guide will indicate different options for all cuisines and in several price ranges.

This guide will indicate you places that are offering you food and drinks that are typical of the location. Of course, this is one of the best things to experience when travelling abroad.


Travel on a budget


One of the advantages this guide offers, is that it always provides prices about all the activities it is mentions. As a result,  you will not be surprised once you are there. Apart from that, it is offering the cheapest options for every type of visit (restaurants, shopping, etc.). You will always find different possibilities, no matter the budget that is at your disposal.

Transport and maps


As a proper guide, it is of course offering a map for every part of the city. Moreover, you will be given public transport options to reach the places. This way, mobility will not be a problem for you. Do not forget that the best transport for your arrival day from the airport is Taxi2Airport.com. Of course, for your your return transfer to the airport as well.

5 Best Places to Experience Fall in Paris

Go beyond the cliches if you want to experience Paris like a local

Forget the Eiffel Tower and leave with a Parisian to take a walk in Paris totally different from what you imagined and to discover the capital under a new angle.

Paris is filled with surprising activity and incredible places to be discovered. This guide will present you the 5 things to do in Paris as well as tips and advice for your stay.


Jardin du Luxembourg, 6ème arrondissement

Situated on the border between Saint-Germain-des-Prés and the Latin Quarter, the Luxembourg Gardens, inspired by the Boboli Gardens in Florence, were created in 1612. The gardens, which cover 25 hectares of land, are split into French gardens and English gardens. Between the two, lies a geometric forest and a large pond.

The garden has 106 statues spread throughout the park, the monumental Medici fountain, the Orangerie and the Pavillon Davioud. Whether you are Parisians or tourists, you can play chess, tennis, and bridge or remote control boats.

The cultural programme is characterized by free photography exhibitions on the garden railings and by concerts in the bandstand.

Opens between 7.30am and 8.15am, and closes between 4.30pm and 9.30pm according to the season.

Sacré-Cœur de Montmartre18arrondissement

The Sacré-Coeur, consecrated in 1919, is one of the most iconic monuments in Paris.  At the top of the Butte Montmartre, it has one of the most beautiful panoramic views of the capital, from 130 meters above ground. And to go even higher up, visitors can access the dome where the 360° view of Paris is magnificent.

After exploring the charming museum of Montmartre, take a break in the gardens of Renoir, a haven of peace overlooking the vineyards of Montmartre.

A short walk from the Sacré Coeur is the Place du Tertre, the old Parisian unique district of Abbesses with its steep, winding roads, and at the bottom of the hill, the famous Moulin Rouge cabaret.

The basilica is open every day from 6 am to 10.30 pm

Catacombes de Paris, 14arrondissements

If you like strange places, dare to go down into the bowels of the city. The visit of the Catacombs of Paris is without a doubt the most frightening attraction that Paris has to offer, with kilometers of tunnels lined with femurs and skulls of six million dead Parisians.

Built 23 meters underground at the end of the 18th century to prevent diseases from spreading in the cemeteries of the city center, the Catacombs are now the scene of a thrilling walk.

From Tuesday till Sunday from 10 am till 8:30 pm

Catacombs Official Website

Opéra Bastille, 12e arrondissement

After having read the website of the Opera Bastille, choose your favorite opera show and note the date in your diary so as not to miss it.

On the day of the show, go to the doors of the Opera Bastille to the around 16h. At 6 pm, the doors of the opera open and 30 tickets are available at a modest price of € 5 (2 tickets per person maximum).I

n the program, there are operas, ballets, and superb classical music concerts. Enjoy a fabulous show in one of the most beautiful buildings in Paris, we assure you that you will not regret it!

Bastille Opera  

Passages Couverts, 9e arrondissement

More than old shopping malls, The Covered Passages around the Grand Boulevards are galleries with a particular atmosphere dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries.

Covered by a charming glass roof, their second-hand bookstores, tea rooms, and gift shops make them fun alternatives to Parisian shopping galleries. We recommend the Galerie Vivienne and the Jouffroy Passage, which houses the Grévin Museum.

Parisian Covered Passages

To enjoy your stay in Paris, head to the place that inspires you the most: The Latin District will be the ideal place if you are looking for a student and intellectual atmosphere during your visit to Paris, the Invalides if you appreciate the architecture imposing place, Montmartre if you have the soul of an artist, Belleville if you want to find the atmosphere of old Paris typical.