Travel remains complicated while the COVID-19 pandemic continues around the world, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still recommends staying home for your own safety as well as for others. But if you do decide to travel, local laws permitting, you’ll want to take as many safety precautions as possible. This includes sanitization, even if the hotel you’re staying in has stringent protocols in place.
To help, Travel + Leisure turned to medical professionals for advice on how to disinfect a hotel room when checking in during the pandemic. Below, we review the steps you should take upon booking and arriving at your hotel room.
1. Communicate with your hotel and confirm cleaning procedures.
Before booking, contact your hotel, and don’t be afraid to ask questions about the property’s COVID-19 cleaning protocols.
“Start by asking your hotel if they’ve had any positive cases among staff or guests, and review the COVID-19 updates on their website,” says Dr. Jack Shevel, founder and CEO of Zappogen, a distributor of hospital-grade sanitizing products. Dr. Shevel himself is immunocompromised, so he understands the importance of keeping yourself safe while traveling during the pandemic.
He adds, “Request their sanitization and disinfection policies: Are temperature checks mandatory for everyone coming in and out? How frequently are employees tested?” He also recommends checking in remotely and using keyless room access whenever possible.
“I would also ask the hotel how long ago your room was occupied,” says Dr. Shevel. He notes that if the hotel isn’t disinfecting rooms thoroughly, allowing new guests to enter a room that was occupied less than 24 hours ago could be hazardous. Airbnb, for example, recommends a minimum of 24 hours.
“Ask the hotel if they are disinfecting airborne pathogens via an electrostatic sprayer that uses an EPA-registered disinfectant. If hotels are taking the proper precautions, they should be disinfecting using a diffuser that sprays a mist into the air and kills airborne pathogens, as well as cleaning surfaces. If hotels are only wiping down surfaces, it isn’t sufficient to keep guests protected.”
He explains, “Disinfection has traditionally been achieved by wiping down non-porous surfaces. The SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, is transmitted primarily by inhalation or from touching contaminated surfaces and then transferring the virus to your face and eyes. The latest studies indicate that the virus acts as an ‘aerosol’ and can remain airborne for up to 10 minutes.”
For this reason, Dr. Shevel recommends bringing your own diffuser and disinfectant to spray down the hotel room. “Ideally, you need something that kills pathogens in the air because the virus hangs in the air for long periods of time,” he says. “In addition, surfaces, floors, and porous surfaces such as curtains, fabrics, and couches need to be accounted for and disinfected.”
Before your arrival, you can also ask the hotel to remove unnecessary