Whether you’re completely exhausted from your flight or totally pumped to get out and explore your destination, you should always pause for a beat after checking into your hotel. Take a few extra moments to do these five things so you’re better grounded and ready to enjoy your vacation.
Look for bedbugs
Staying healthy and safe on the road is a matter of keeping good habits. Checking a hotel bed before you sleep in it should be second nature, even in establishments that look clean. Lift the corners of the mattress and peek underneath the sheets. If you see any small reddish-brown stains, that’s a red flag. Use a flashlight for better visibility. It’s not a bad idea to check other furniture in the room as well. If you find any evidence of bugs, you’re perfectly within your rights to ask for a new room or even to find different accommodations.
Wash your hands
How many germs do you think you came into contact with in the airport? Spoiler alert: it’s probably best not to count. Washing your hands regularly should be a good habit at home, but it’s perhaps even more important when you’re on vacation. Get into the swing of it by thoroughly washing your hands as soon as you arrive at your hotel. Keep up the good work by washing your hands before meals, before bed, and upon waking up.
Plane air is notoriously dehydrating and not having enough water in your system can seriously run your immune system down and make you more vulnerable to catching a disease overseas. Even if you drank water in flight, chances are it wasn’t enough. Once you’ve found your accommodations, take an extra minute to down a large glass of H2O or pack a water bottle and fill it up. Sugar, alcohol, and caffeine are all dehydrating, so steer clear of these treats for your first afternoon while you get your water levels back up.
It can be tempting to unpack your suitcase so you feel more settled, but keep that bag intact. Scattering your belongings around the unfamiliar territory of your hotel room makes it much more likely that you’ll forget something when it’s time to pack back up and go home. Instead, you should only take items out as you need them. If everything but a couple essentials are in your suitcase, then you know where everything is.
After a long flight across time zones, it can be even more tempting to crash in your hotel bed. But you should resist that urge to get horizontal and sleep away your first hours in your destination. Sleeping during the day in your new time zone is a surefire way to let jet lag take its hold. Try to stay awake until 9pm at the earliest. It will help your adjustment. Another thing you can do to combat jet lag is to not just stay awake, but to stay in natural light. Once you’re settled in at the hotel, make the first activity of your holiday something outdoorsy, like a long walk around the neighborhood to help you get your bearings.