Many companies featured on Money advertise with us. Opinions are our own, but compensation and
in-depth research determine where and how companies may appear. Learn more about how we make money.

Advertiser Disclosure

The purpose of this disclosure is to explain how we make money without charging you for our content.

Our mission is to help people at any stage of life make smart financial decisions through research, reporting, reviews, recommendations, and tools.

Earning your trust is essential to our success, and we believe transparency is critical to creating that trust. To that end, you should know that many or all of the companies featured here are partners who advertise with us.

Our content is free because our partners pay us a referral fee if you click on links or call any of the phone numbers on our site. If you choose to interact with the content on our site, we will likely receive compensation. If you don't, we will not be compensated. Ultimately the choice is yours.

Opinions are our own and our editors and staff writers are instructed to maintain editorial integrity, but compensation along with in-depth research will determine where, how, and in what order they appear on the page.

To find out more about our editorial process and how we make money, click here.

Passengers in an airport
Passengers in an airport
Weerasak Saeku—Getty Images

When you’re racing to catch a flight, you’re probably not thinking about all the germs lurking at the airport’s self check-in kiosks. In fact, you’re probably thinking, I hope I inserted my credit card properly so we can get on with the show here.

Unfortunately, it may, in fact, be time to consider those germs. Texas-based InsuranceQuotes.com recently completed 18 tests across six surfaces inside of three major U.S. airports and airline flights. The results aren’t pretty.

“We sent our swabs to the lab and found the average number of viable bacteria and fungal cells per square inch, or colony-forming units (CFU), to see how clean traveling really is,” the company explained on their website. Overall, they found the self check-in kiosks were germiest of all the spots they tested with 253,857 CFU. Even worse, one kiosk at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta recorded an astonishing 1 million+ CFU! Securing the not-so-coveted silver medal were airline gate bench armrests with 21,630 CFU, and the water fountain button trailing closely behind with 19,181 CFU for the bronze (You’re hitting that with your elbow already though, right?). As a point of comparison, the average home toilet seat has 172 CFU.

Of course, avoiding these kiosks and other icky spots isn’t the only method to avoid getting sick while traveling. Once you’ve safely landed at your destination, you’ll also want to keep these 7 ways to avoid germs during a hotel stay in your back pocket—tucked beside your hand sanitizer.

Advertiser Disclosure

The purpose of this disclosure is to explain how we make money without charging you for our content.

Our mission is to help people at any stage of life make smart financial decisions through research, reporting, reviews, recommendations, and tools.

Earning your trust is essential to our success, and we believe transparency is critical to creating that trust. To that end, you should know that many or all of the companies featured here are partners who advertise with us.

Our content is free because our partners pay us a referral fee if you click on links or call any of the phone numbers on our site. If you choose to interact with the content on our site, we will likely receive compensation. If you don't, we will not be compensated. Ultimately the choice is yours.

Opinions are our own and our editors and staff writers are instructed to maintain editorial integrity, but compensation along with in-depth research will determine where, how, and in what order they appear on the page.

To find out more about our editorial process and how we make money, click here.

EDIT POST