The 4 Things You Shouldn't Do at a Hotel During COVID, Doctor Warns

Staying in a hotel is risky business, but avoiding these things could help you stay safe.

With the holidays approaching, an influx of people will be hopping on planes and staying in hotels despite the threat of COVID lurking. No matter what precautions you take, it's impossible to travel right now and avoid exposure completely. But while the act of staying in a hotel remains risky, you can reduce your chance of contracting COVID by avoiding a few key things.

It's important to note that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has labeled staying in a hotel "very risky," second only to staying in a dorm. But Jessica Green, PhD, indoor environment microbiologist and CEO of biotech company Phylagen, does have some tips for keeping yourself safe if you're set on a hotel stay in the near future. Read on for four things you shouldn't do at a hotel during COVID, and for more essential hotel tips, learn 7 Danger Zones in Hotels You Need to Avoid, According to Experts.

Don't stay in a room that was recently occupied.

Hotel room with water as a welcome gift

Green suggests you "ensure your room has been deep cleaned and empty for 24 hours before you arrive." If you check in the same day a hotel guest that unwittingly had COVID left, it's possible viral particles will be waiting for you in the hotel room. Creating a buffer between your visit and the previous guest's allows time for the virus, if present, to dissipate.

"Hotels should do a deep cleaning once a guest has left and then leave the room empty and well ventilated for at least 24 hours before a new guest arrives," Green says. Taking the extra step of calling ahead to check that the hotel is taking this precaution could help protect you from COVID.

(Editor's note: This information has been revised at the request of Green to align with the latest CDC guidelines.) And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Don't get your room cleaned during your stay.

Cleaning service in hotel ro

Green suggests not getting your room cleaned during your stay—and so does the CDC. The organization has advised hotel staff that "guestrooms occupied by the same customer over multiple days should not be cleaned daily—unless requested," in an effort to reduce the potential for transmission.

"While disinfecting surfaces is important, a more significant travel risk is being infected by breathing in the aerosols of other people, such as hotel visitors, other travelers, and employees," Green says. To keep your room tidy and virus-free, bring along your own disinfecting wipes or sanitizing spray. And for more ways to stay safe, These Are the 4 Things You Should Never Touch in a Hotel, CDC Says.

Don't interact with anyone you don't need to.

Room service in hotel

Green advises you to "limit person-to-person interactions." While Green says hotels should be on top of regulating this, she adds that you can control how many people you interact with. For example, Green suggests that "if you choose to get room service, have your food left outside your door so you don't have anyone coming into your room." And for more on how coronavirus spreads, You're More Likely to Catch COVID in This Surprising Place, Study Finds.

Don't stay at a hotel that isn't proactive about COVID.

Hotel employees getting temperatures checked

You should "look for a travel company that is transparent and committed to regularly COVID-19 testing," Green says. "To keep everyone safe, travel companies should not only regularly provide human diagnostic testing of their employees, but also conduct regular indoor environmental surface testing to ensure their own safety and the safety of their visitors." You can generally find information about how the hotel is handling COVID on the website. If the precautions the hotel is taking don't seem sufficient, don't stay there. And for more hotel advice, This Is the One Thing You Shouldn't Do at a Hotel Right Now.

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