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Tips for staying healthy while traveling

Tuesday - 2/12/2013, 4:20am  ET

hotel room (Getty Images)
Watch out for germs on hotel light switches, remote controls and door knobs. (Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON - For many, a mid-winter vacation is a must to escape the gray skies and cold temperatures of February. However, if you want to ensure that a golden tan is the only thing you bring back from your next trip, consider the health hazards associated with travel.

Everything from airplanes, to hotel rooms and even food can pose a threat to the health of vacationers, NBC News reports.

Here are some tips for staying healthy on your next trip.

On the plane

If you have the tendency to get chilly on an airplane, consider throwing a shawl or light jacket in your carry-on bag. Sure, the airlines provide blankets, but those blankets may not be washed. According to NBC News, if the blankets provided on the plane do not come directly from a sealed bag, they may have been used before.

Flyers should be cautious before getting too cozy in their seats. Tray tables and arm rests are never cleaned between flights in the U.S., NBC reports. Carrying some extra disinfectant wipes to wipe-down the seat area could make the difference in catching the flu or staying healthy on your trip.

In the hotel room

Hotel light switches, remote controls and door knobs are often the places that contain the most germs in hotel rooms or cruise ship cabins. NBC News recommends using disinfectant wipes to sanitize these germ hubs during your stay.

Eating while traveling

Exploring a new city or a different culture through food is one of the most exciting ways to experience a vacation. However, travelers should take a few precautions before chowing down. NBC News recommends that travelers eat from popular street food carts, rather than obscure ones. Food stands and carts that cater to larger crowds and locals are more likely to be clean. Also, wiping down cutlery with hand sanitizer is recommended.

General tips for travel

NBC News also recommends the following tips to travelers:

  • Get a flu shot at least two weeks prior to traveling.

  • Keep your distance from those who are visibly sick.

  • Travel with a convenient-sized health kit containing items such as fever medicine, hand sanitizer and tissues.

WTOP's Rachel Nania contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2013 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)