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In a recent post, we discussed why you may want to carry your own bedding when you travel. It’s not always that you can trust the bedding at hotels and vacation rentals. We did not talk about towels, which are a major ick for some people.
How clean are hotel or Airbnb towels? Should you trust them or just play it safe and carry your own?
Are Hotel Towels Hygienic?
There are plenty of shady hotels with iffy hygiene, but most hotels do a great job when it comes to cleaning bedding and towels.
They are cleaned and sterilized using high temperatures and detergents after each guest. Hotel towels generally tend to be clean and safe to use for most people.
For Airbnbs, vacation rentals and homestays, though, you can’t always be sure. Of course the hosts are obligated to provide clean bedding and towels, but standards are typically not as strict as in hotels.
When To Carry Your Own Towel?
In most cases, if you are planning to sleep at a hotel, there is no need to carry your towel. It will just bulk up your luggage for no reason. That said, there are circumstances where it’s a smart idea to carry a towel from home or buy one when you get to your destination. These include:
- If you are sleeping at a budget or dodgy hotel, motel or hostel. Their hygiene standards may not be up to scratch.
- If you have sensitive skin that’s prone to breakouts and other issues. If only your face is sensitive, just carry a small face towel.
- If you are sleeping at an Airbnb or some other kind of homestay or vacation rental, bring your own towel just to be safe.
- If you prefer a specific type of towel and can’t stand using any other type.
- If you are planning to go to the beach during your vacation. Pack a large bath towel that doubles up as a beach towel. Your hotel will probably not allow you to carry their towel to the beach.
What Type of Towel Should You Pack When Traveling?
The biggest concern for most people when it comes to carrying your own towel is that towels are large and bulky, so they take up a lot of space.
But you don't need to pack a big towel. A smaller highly absorbent towel will work just fine. It may not be as good as your large and fluffy towel at home, but it’s only for a few days. A cheap microfiber towel works great for most people.
Make sure you get a fast drying towel. If it stays damp for too long, it could attract bacteria, mold and mildew. We recommend the HercLeon Tegan towel. It is quick drying, absorbent, super-soft and antimicrobial (meaning it’s anti-acne and doesn't stink).
Here’s another tip. Consider packing an empty dry bag or a large ziploc bag when you travel. It will come in handy when you pack up to go back home. Your towel will most likely be damp from your morning shower. You definitely don't want to mix it with the rest of your stuff.
Put the towel, along with any other wet or wet items like a swimsuit, in the dry bag or ziploc. Since dry bags and ziplocs are waterproof, your other items are safe. Just remember to empty the bag immediately when you get home to keep mold and mildew from growing on the towel.
If you are going on a long trip that will last several days, pack two or more towels or, better yet, plan to do laundry.
Unless you are using our antimicrobial Tegan towel, using the same towel too many times can be unhygienic. That’s why we recommend getting a quick-drying hotel. You can wash it in the sink and it will be dry in no time.