Traveling and seeing different parts of the world is something to look forward to all year round. Vacation means the chance to sleep-in, explore, eat great foods, try extreme sports or lay on the beach. Because of our high expectations, it’s extra important to stay healthy during a trip. Unfortunately, many of the most bacteria-laden places are airports and airplanes. New reports continue to advise on how and where to avoid germs while traveling. The best way to avoid sickness is knowing where the worst offenders hide.

The 5 Dirtiest Places in Airports

5.  Toilet door handles

4.  Water fountain button

3. Bench armrests in waiting areas

2. Self-use kiosk screens. These machines will get you coming and going. At departure, check-in kiosk touch screens harbor major germs. Then upon arrival from another country, the Customs passport scanners are also rife with bacteria.

…#1 dirtiest place at the airport is:

1. The bins you use during security scans. It makes sense. Everyone is touching those bins and I’d bet they don’t get cleaned often, if ever.

What to do

It’s nearly impossible to avoid germs when you need to touch things like security bins or passport screens, so the best solution is to make the washroom your first stop after Security, Customs or check-in. Use soap and water to scrub hands thoroughly.

If a washroom isn’t available, then carry and use a good hand sanitizer.

This one’s easier said than done, but since germs spread to your face from your fingertips, be aware when you want to touch your face and try not to do it.

Read more: bacteria counts on airport surfaces

The 6 Dirtiest Places on Planes

6. Armrests

5. Seat Belt

4. Tray Table

3. Washrooms. Worst offenders are the washroom handle and the toilet flush button.

2. Seat Pocket. Since this is made of nylon mesh, I wonder how thoroughly it can be cleaned?  Flight attendants mention that it’s not uncommon to find dirty diapers stuffed in the pockets.

…#1 dirtiest place in the plane is:

1. Headrest.

It’s hard to believe, but this is the new #1 germiest place on a plane. Headrests have tested positive for fecal bacteria. Could this be because people don’t wash their hands in the restroom then they hold onto the headrest to steady themselves when returning to their seats?

What to do

It’s difficult to avoid germs when you can’t avoid touching these surfaces, so make sure to pack a kitchen storage bag with disinfectant wipes. As soon as you’re seated, wipe down all surfaces at your seat.

And don’t forget the headrest!

Read more about bacteria on planes: CBC Marketplace

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