The 3 things I do before every hotel stay during the pandemic
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
For most of March, April, May and June, I stayed at home, avoiding any and all travel, doing whatever I could to limit my exposure to COVID-19.
As we learned more about how the virus spreads — and after I was able to get my hands on some N95 masks — I decided to begin venturing out, with several house rentals and even a hotel stay within driving distance from home.
With short stays at a total of 10 different hotels, that last trip really helped me refine my check-in routine, letting me prepare each room before removing my N95 mask. To some, it may feel like overkill, but I consider it to be a very important element of my mid-pandemic travel approach.
It’s clear that airborne transmission presents the biggest risk of contracting COVID-19, and droplets can linger in the air in a poorly ventilated space. Certain masks can offer protection, but that isn’t a practical solution for anyone hoping to enjoy an overnight stay.
So, to limit my chances of exposure, I’ve been taking the below precautions at each hotel — the only indoor place I’d consider taking off a mask outside of my own home.
- I book rooms with balconies or windows that open all the way, or window AC units, so it’s clear that ventilation isn’t shared between rooms
- I call the front desk and ask the hotel to keep the room empty for 24+ hours prior to check-in, if occupancy allows
- I open the window as soon as I arrive, turn the air on high and leave for an hour or so, usually to pick up a takeout meal
Then, on the surfaces front, I work through the room with disinfecting wipes, catching all light switches, door handles, bathroom fixtures and anything else I might come into contact with.
While this last step may be less of a factor when it comes to COVID-19, wiping down surfaces can help keep you safe from other germs, and may add some peace of mind.
In total, it takes me about five to 10 minutes to prepare a new hotel room, even with larger suites, such as the one-bedroom condo I booked at Embarc Palm Desert.
You might also consider avoiding using elevators (ask for a room on the ground floor, or use the stairs), limiting yourself to sealed cups and utensils and declining housekeeping and other services by keeping the do-not-disturb sign on your door for the entire stay. Checking for bedbugs is never a bad idea, too.
Admittedly, this process does take some of the fun out of staying in a hotel. In fact, we ended up cutting this trip short by a night to avoid dealing with another room, choosing to take a redeye flight home from Los Angeles (LAX) to Newark (EWR) — the fact that most other passengers would choose to sleep instead of removing their masks to eat also added some appeal.
I’ll definitely keep up some of these practices even after the pandemic — while I’ll be less concerned about ventilation once COVID-19 is no longer a threat, wiping down surfaces has always been a priority, and will continue to be in the future.
Featured photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees