OCD Travel Checklist

I recently read an article which detailed the dirtiest surfaces in hotel rooms. First of all, gross. I don’t know about you, but I like to pretend that every hotel room that I stay in is brand spanking new and I am the first guest to stay in it. I used to love hotels, especially when I was younger. It meant movies in bed, room service and having someone clean up after you when you left. Now, well, it is just another thing to worry about!

Take a guess… What would you say is the dirtiest surface in a hotel room? Toilet? That would be mine, or the bathroom sink.. or counter top in the bathroom… You know what, I think everything is disgusting. The article states that research has found that the bedside lamp switch and the TV remote are the most contaminated surfaces. Crap, literally… the article says that fecal matter is often found here in addition to 17 other common surfaces. Wonderful. I never even thought about the lamp switch…or the remote. But you know what, it makes sense! We all know G-rated movies aren’t the only ones offered for hotel guests. Gross.

Most people, especially “type A”  people have a travel checklist. You know what I’m talking about…toothbrush, check. PJs, check. Clean undies for 7 days, check, check. Got it? Well, I have an OCD Travel Checklist, probably something you (the normal traveler) will never, ever, think about.

When preparing for a trip that includes a hotel stay, here are my “must haves:”

  1. Clorox wipes- duh. At this point you must have guessed that these would be in the top three. Why you may ask? When entering the hotel room, I start a complete check of the room. This check includes examining the bathroom, tub, sink, toilet… etc. Everything must be clean to my standard (no post is big enough to explain what my standard is so I wont even try). Next comes the bed, sheets must look clean (no questionable stains of any sort). The top blanket and decorative pillow(s) MUST be thrown to the floor immediately. These are probably replaced before they are ever actually washed. Do you really want to snuggle up to a pillow that has drool and buggers on it from 100 or maybe 1000 other people? Once I deem the room “clean” I then go through and wipe down all surfaces with my Clorox wipes. I always feel much better after this is done. I mean that’s semi-normal right?
  2. Towels. Yes, that is right, towels. I usually bring one for me and one for Pat. Yes, I know the beauty of a hotel is that they provide towels…but no amount of bleach will make me comfortable with drying off my tush with a towel that has been used by thousands of other people. Gross. On top of that, the housekeepers man-handle them in the hallway… I have to wash my hands 5 times before I touch my own towel. Do you really think I would be able to let someone else touch it? You don’t know if they washed their hands after cleaning the room before yours.. or even worse going to the bathroom! Double, gross.
  3. Flip Flops. I will not take one step into the shower unless I have flip-flops. I have normal feet, I would like to keep them that way. No fungus for this girl, please and thank you.
  4. I have been known to bring my own toilet paper or tissues. I know it is wasteful, but I can’t use a roll if it is still there from the people who inhabited the room before us. I need a new roll, a fresh roll, a roll that hasn’t been touched by strangers. Normal? I think so…
  5. Last but not least, hand sanitizer. For any encounter with other germ-y surfaces that may have been missed- door handles…or handles on the mini-fridge.. etc.

On top of my suggestions for “must haves,”  I also have a couple helpful tips:

Make sure to check the whole room before settling in and don’t be afraid to ask for a new room (or leave all together if it is horrible). I’ve found very questionable things in hidden places. Beer bottles, beer caps, condoms (used- not kidding) under the bed…etc. If these things are left behind do you really think they scrubbed your toilet clean? No. Probably not. Actually, absolutely not.

Pack your toothbrush and toothpaste in zip-lock bags. That way they never have to touch the surface of the bathroom sink.

Finally, don’t hang your towel on any towel hooks – do you know how many other used towels have been there? find a clean place for it… I tend to put it on the clean sheets or on the inside of my suitcase…

Like I said, most people don’t give these things a second thought… and I am sure it wont kill you to put your toothbrush on the sink or use a hotel towel, but as I always say, better safe than sorry.


PS. This past weekend we stayed at my family’s beach house, no hotel = less stress! It was a lot of fun – a few pictures below.

5 thoughts on “OCD Travel Checklist

  1. Hi Jenna,

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  4. This post could have come straight out of my head. I decided not to let OCD and fear rule my life anymore. So I registered for an awesome seminar in Portland. At the airport Holiday Inn. For 6 days. Yeah, it’s still 4 days away and I haven’t slept more than 4 hrs per night in a week. I think about the Holiday Inn bedbugs and germs constantly. I think you’ve come a long way because you only bring hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes for disinfecting. My list is a bit longer. Instead of towels, I have to pack a shammy for drying off, since cleaning products will be taking up so much room in my duffel. Which I bought a gigantic ziplock type enclosure for. I’m just upset that I can’t secure my duffel inside of it during transport. How am I supposed to keep my luggage safe from the hitch hiking bedbugs in other people’s luggage?! Excuse me while I go collapse…

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