Traveling has changed since 2020 when Covid first entered our lives. We all know someone (or you are that someone) who is more conscious of germs than most. A germaphobe. The Coronavirus changed our world in many ways. Most of us are now a bit more aware of what we touch in public places. We are surrounded by products and bombarded with procedures designed to keep us healthy. We see this in airports, stores, the workplace, and even schools. If you don’t see disinfecting wipes or sanitizing gel readily available at these locations, chances are high that you have a travel size item in your bag. So, what are the best hand sanitizers for travel? Most cost effective? What should you know about the ingredients? What brand is trustworthy? We will travel into the not-so-tiny world of travel size sanitizers and disinfectants, and take you along for the ride.

Travel Size Sanitizers And Disinfectants

Travel sized items should be compact and easily transported. There is an endless list of options to choose from. Hand sanitizers for use on the go, sanitizing wipes and sprays to sanitize the world around you, and travel-sized soaps for more thorough hand washing. These are also perfectly sized for sharing with your neighbor on the train.

We all know the big names in the cleaning business and there are quite a few options that fit into your traveling bag or pocket. While liquids and gels are often our go-to grab for a hand sanitizer, you might also love the single-use, individually packaged hand sanitizing wipes to throw in the glove box, pack in your child’s backpack or bring along on a camping trip.

Keeping Yourself And The Space Around You Clean

Now that you are prepared to travel with items that will keep you clean, let’s look at the products that will sanitize and disinfect the spaces and surfaces around you. Whether you are adventuring across the globe, camping in the great outdoors, taking in a museum across town or simply on a quick business trip to the city, there are travel sized options to disinfect the counters, carts, desks, and chairs you will encounter throughout your day. Lysol Disinfectant Spray To Go is a perfectly sized aerosol spray to put in your luggage, carry-on, or purse.

To disinfect a hard, non-porous surface, Lysol recommends pre-cleaning the surface if possible, or a quick wipe down before holding the can upright 6-8 inches from the surface. Spray 3-4 seconds until covered with mist. Surfaces must remain wet for 3 minutes then allow to air-dry. (Just a reminder, if you are disinfecting an item like children or pet toys, please rinse those items before use.)  If you need to sanitize only, Lysol recommends surfaces remain wet for 10 seconds then allow to air dry. If you require sanitizing of a soft surface like a couch or bedding, spray until fabric is misted wet, but do not saturate. Fabric needs to remain wet/damp for 30 seconds, let the surface air dry. To deodorize, simply spray on surfaces or in the air as needed.

If you find that you need a disinfecting option and you don’t feel comfortable spritzing a mist around others, consider a travel pack of disinfecting wipes. Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, On The Go Pack is a travel size pouch to keep with you which includes 9 wipes per pack. If you need to pack more than a handful of wipes, consider the Clorox Disinfecting Wipes 70ct pack. Clean and disinfect with one efficient wipe.  These wipes are bleach free and just like the Lysol Spray and Go, can kill 99.99% of viruses and bacteria in high traffic areas when traveling. Wiping a doorknob when you exit or enter is helpful to both you and others who come behind you. A quick wipe down of the hard surfaces in your hotel room or the armrest on the plane is an easy way to help avoid germs and enjoy more of your traveling experience.

Airline Rules And Regulations

Airline regulations do change regularly, so we recommend always checking the TSA regulations for the most up to date information. Currently, the TSA liquids regulation is written as the following:

“You are allowed to bring a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes in your carry-on bag and through the checkpoint. These are limited to travel-sized containers that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item. Placing these items in the small bag and separating from your carry-on baggage facilitates the screening process. Pack items that are in containers larger than 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters in checked baggage. Any liquid, aerosol, gel, cream or paste that alarms during screening will require additional screening.”

If you are home-bound after traveling internationally and you would like to travel with liquids larger than 3.4 oz, (TSA refers to these items as duty free liquids) you can do so with the following stipulations:

You may carry duty free liquids in secure, tamper–evident bags, more than 3.4 oz or 100 ml in your carry-on bag if:

  • The duty free liquids were purchased internationally and you are traveling to the United States with a connecting flight.
  • The liquids are packed in a transparent, secure, tamper-evident bag by the retailer and do not show signs of tampering when presented to TSA for screening.
  • The original receipt for the liquids is present and the purchase was made within 48 hours.

The items inside the secure, tamper-evident bags must be screened and cleared. Any item that alarms or is unable to be screened will not be permitted in your carry-on bag. We recommend packing all liquids, gels, and aerosols that are over 3.4 oz or 100 ml in your checked baggage, even if they are in a secure, tamper-evident bag.

How To Disinfect Your Area On An Airplane Or Train

There’s a balance we try to maintain when traveling. We try to keep from tipping too far from one side or the other when guarding against germs. There are those who tip toward the side of panic and phobia when it comes to disinfecting the world around them. They would prefer a nice, safe, clean, sanitized bubble to bounce around in. The truth of the matter is, we can’t do that. We are human beings who are susceptible to numerous dangers day in and day out. “Wiping down surfaces on a plane won’t hurt, as long as it doesn’t give you a false sense of security,” Andrew Mehle, associate professor of medical microbiology and immunology at the University of Wisconsin Madison, said, stressing that sanitizing your space on a plane should be done in conjunction with washing hands and following other best practices. (NY Times by Tariro Mzezewa)

If you would like to sanitize or disinfect the space around you on your chosen mode of transportation, a study from Emory University found that during the flu season, the safest place to sit on a plane is by a window.  “Book a window seat, try not to move during the flight, stay hydrated and keep your hands away from your face,” said Vicki Stover Hertzberg, a professor at Emory University’s School of Nursing and director of the Center for Nursing Data Science at Emory, and one of the lead researchers on the study. “Be vigilant about your hand hygiene.” (NY Times by Tariro Mzezewa)

When you get to your assigned or chosen seat, use a disinfectant wipe to clean the hard surfaces like the armrests, safety belt, TV screen, and seat back pocket. If the seat is constructed of a non-cloth material like leather, wipe that down too. If the seats are cloth, you can spray a disinfectant such as the Lysol Disinfectant Spray To Go.

As a reminder, microorganisms capable of causing disease usually enter our body through our mouth, eyes and nose.  Your best protection is keeping your hands clean and to avoid touching your face.

Choosing The Best Product

We have all done it. We have tried the newest name in retail items and sometimes we get lucky and find a product we can’t live without.  More often than not, however, it’s the brands we trust that are the most reliable. When it comes to sanitizers and disinfectants, we recommend you do your research and study the detailed information made available by your chosen brand. Your health and the health of your loved ones is important and choosing the right product and the right ingredients is key.

There are many brands that manufacture and provide products for your home and for your home-away-from-home. But which ones are best? Is there a brand that stands above the rest? Purell, Lysol and Clorox are the heavy hitters in the world of disinfectants and sanitizers. With the introduction of the Coronavirus into our lives, many are asking what products protect against and kill SARS-CoV-2. The liquids, gels, sprays and wipes from these major brands in this category meet the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) criteria. You can view the full list of EPA- approved disinfectants as well as learn more about this subject, on If you do choose an alternate less known brand, be sure to check the EPA website for details.

When choosing the items you will take with you when you travel, you’ll likely consider reviews, price, convenience and availability. There are three types of sanitizers and disinfectants, liquids/gels, wipes and sprays.  Choosing which ones you will bring with you will depend on your trip. How often will you need to use it?  Should you bring more than one option?  Will your destination have these items available? These and other questions will help you choose the right option for you.

Ingredient Comparison

Most people associate the brand Clorox with bleach.  While it is true that Clorox has a wide variety of products that contain bleach, many of their sanitizing and disinfecting products are bleach-free. If a comparative look is taken at the active ingredients in the most popular disinfecting products, it would be found that both Clorox and Lysol use Alkyl Dimethyl Benzyl Ammonium Chloride as their active ingredient for their surface wipes.

It seems when choosing a hand sanitizer, ingredients can vary. In November 2020 the Center for Disease Control (CDC) listed what to look for in a safe and effective sanitizer and what to avoid. The CDC recommends you use an alcohol based hand sanitizer containing at least 60 percent ethyl alcohol (also listed on label as ethanol), isopropanol or 2-propanol. The following are the guidelines they have advised against.

  • Hand sanitizers that contain less than 60 percent alcohol
  • Hand sanitizers listed on the FDA’s Hand Sanitizer Do-Not-Use List
  • Hand sanitizers that are labeled “alcohol-free”
  • Hand sanitizers packaged in a container that resembles a food or beverage container

We do recommend checking the website for the most up to date information regarding these products when making a decision.

Vacation Rental Homes Info For Travelers And Hosts

Hotels are a great option for many, but when traveling for leisure, we often want a place where we can relax on the porch, cook a meal, and have a little extra living space. Travelers often turn to vacation rentals like Airbnb or Vrbo. While these are rentals owned and operated by individuals, companies like Airbnb and Vrbo act as management and marketing, and they have cleaning requirements in place to keep guests safe.

Airbnb has their 5-step enhanced cleaning process listed clearly on their website. This process includes cleaning and sanitizing all high touch surfaces like doorknobs, counters and handrails, a thorough cleaning of the stay location and a double check process to avoid missing anything.

If you are a guest host of a vacation rental, we thank you. Some of the best vacation rentals experiences have been in a location where the host has provided detailed items like travel sized cleaning products for their guest’s peace of mind. A bathroom with the standard shampoo, conditioner, soap and lotion would stand out with the addition of a basket with a couple of mini hand sanitizers or a to go pack of disinfecting wipes.