Cleanliness Tips for Travellers and Hosts

Not every country is this 'generous' with their toilet paper.
Not every country is this ‘generous’ with their toilet paper.

In the spirit of the last post, I thought I would put a short list of fun things we can all do to ensure that we travel cleaner. Incorporating a good hygiene program into your daily list of things to do while on the road will always be a bonus for your travel companions.. trust me there’s nothing worse than walking into the shared bathroom in the morning to find, nail clippings, 3 people’s hair and what might be dried blood on the sink while you’re trying to brush your teeth. On the other hand there are also a few tips and hints that hosts could use to make their guests a little more comfortable when they stay. Believe me, people like to stay in clean and healthy homes, not some creepy cesspool that reeks of old feet, mold and last week’s leftovers.. even if they remember to pack a good list of medical supplies.

I have stayed with the best and the worst hosts, travelled with both clean and dirty people and had some interesting experiences with cleanliness on the road; here are a few of the most memorable tips I have gleaned for my time travelling the world.

Cleanliness Tips For Travellers

–  A dry shower is not a shower: I don’t care what Axe (Lynx) say, you can’t replace a shower in a bathroom with a shower in a can, you just can’t.

–  Soap actually works: Yep.. use it all over. Soap + water = clean people.

–  If you can smell yourself, everyone else can to: I’m a big fan of the age old bachelor sniff test for clothes; however my nose and my girlfriend’s nose tend to disagree on their definition of clean – see next point.

–  Women have a far better sense of smell than men: See previous point.

–  Take your shoes off: Common sense, if you’re staying in a beautiful new house with pristine white fur rugs on all the floors then perhaps it’s a good idea to leave your mud encrusted Dc Martins at the door. Best to just ask your host on arrival if they have a barefoot house.

–  Use an old sheet as a liner if need be: Some places are dirty.. you can’t help that.. if you’re really grossed out by the state of the place, use a sleeping bag liner inside the bed. You can also easily make one yourself instead of buying one using an old sheet, folding it in half before sewing up 3 of the sides.

–  Black underwear: Gentleman, the colour black let’s just say, is less ‘revealing’ than any other colour. I recommend black underwear at all times especially when in the 3rd world where upset stomachs are a little more common.

–  Linen soap: For those times when you can’t find a laundry or don’t want to pay the often extortionate prices some hotels and hostels charge for laundry services, carrying a washing machine in your pocket gives you flexibility to keep your gear clean no matter where you go.

–  Hand steriliser is.. handy (see what I did there?): Use it liberally especially after using the public toilets in [insert 3rd world country of your choice here].

–  Always carry tissues: Some places around the world don’t have toilet paper in the cubicles with patrons needing to buy it before entering a cubicle. For those awkward moments where you forget and your pants are already heading south, carrying tissues in your day pack is an elegant solution.

Cleanliness Tips For Hosts

–  Clean your house before the guest arrives: It’s not rocket science, vacuum it, disinfect it (if necessary), wipe things that need wiping, tidy things that need tidying, take the rubbish out, clean out your fridge, clean the toilet (this one seems particularly hard for some people).

–  Have clean linen on hand: Yes I do have a travel towel, which is now so small (due to being cut in half to save space) that calling it a tea-towel would be far too generous.. it does the job I guess yet it’s not exactly the height of luxury; the point? Clean, fresh linen makes a guest feel special.

–  Messy vs Dirty: Messy is not a bad thing, many a room or house can have a certain chaotic sort of charm to be found somewhere in the lived-in mess on the floor. Dirty on the other hand is just gross. Know the difference between messy and dirty and avoid dirty like… the plague…

–  Pet cleanliness: Pick up after your pets and don’t let them lie/eat/sit/poop on the beds of guests… again, common sense and courtesy goes a long way.

–  Potential guests do actually use the cleanliness score to pick accommodation: All online booking sites have a cleanliness score as part of their review system and if there are more people like my girlfriend out there (and trust me, there are) you will lose money if you’re cleanliness score is lacking. She won’t stay anywhere (thus we won’t stay anywhere) that has less than a 4.5+/5 rating in the cleanliness department… a clean house translates into more money for a host.

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About Author


Hi, I'm Pete, an ex-cubical slave and corporate love monkey currently writing my way around the world. My background is in branding, digital marketing, media and I'm probably about a level 10 at moustaches.

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