We have a good friend who is an airline pilot. One night, while chatting, she revealed that airplanes are not as clean as you’d think. They typically look clean because they get vacuumed, but considering they spend very little time on the ground between flights there rarely is time for a deep, thorough cleaning. All day long, people with colds and other illnesses get on and off the plane. The flight attendants do pick up trash, tidy the cabin and put the seat belts neatly across the seats, but that’s about it.
This lines up with our experience: I noticed over the years that whenever we flew somewhere, I’d often be sick a few days later. We figured we’d been around new germs and that it was par for the course. But then our pilot friend gave us a tip that made so much sense: bring Clorox Wipes on the plane with you.
Now when we board, we quickly grab a wipe and clean the arms of our seats, the seatbelt, the seat belt buckle (being sure to get under that flap), the tray tables and those little things that swing around to hold them in place. Basically, we give a quick once-over to anything near our seats that we might touch. People look at us strangely, and we have to work hard to keep our fannies out of the aisle while others board, but I stopped getting sick after flying.
So you know what? We started bringing wipes to hotels because we’d heard that hotels can also be places for germs.
Now when we check in to a hotel room, we take about three minutes to grab a wipe and clean things like the remote control (which half the time is sticky, anyway), light switches, and the phone. Basically, we try to think of the things housekeeping wouldn’t normally clean but probably get a lot of dirty finger traffic.
Speaking of dirty finger (and other parts) traffic — we recently spent five hours at Union Station in Kansas City while waiting to board an Amtrak train late at night. Before resting our heads on a bench in the Great Hall, I took our Clorox wipes to the seats, which had already been cleaned by the night cleaning crew. Here’s what I got.
Moral of the story, if you don’t have time to have bronchitis (‘aint nobody got time for that!), then bring along a travel pack of Clorox Wipes or some other brand of disinfectant, and be well even after you get home. Given the fact that Ann is taking medication that suppresses her immune system, this is one tip we follow each and every trip.
How do you stay healthy when you travel? Let us know in the comment section. We’d love to hear from you.
The Neon Bar and Grill, located in the Motel Raine in Valentine, Nebraska, makes #3 on our list. Normally, we would not have expected to put a restaurant on our list, especially one located in a motel, but this trip around Nebraska made us learn to open our minds and expect the unexpected. If you are in Valentine, go to Neon, and you, too, can be blown away by this fantastic restaurant. (If you are staying in Valentine, you should also stay in the Motel Raine–which is also a fantastic place.)
Before we even get to the amazing food, let me just say that the Neon Bar and Grill is absurdly clean. After several days driving around western Nebraska worrying about picking up salt and pepper shakers, it was refreshing to go into a restaurant where they had so obviously been washed. We even took a picture with my phone to remember the occasion!
Neon was, by far, the cleanest restaurant in which we ate during our week-long trip across Nebraska.
Second, the service was fantastic. The staff working that night went out of their way to ensure that we had everything we needed before we knew that we needed it. And they helped us with a friendly, cheerful attitude that let us know that they actually enjoyed their jobs.
Third, and arguably most important, the food was terrific. They said they specialized in steak, and that is no lie. It is among the better steaks I’ve had in Nebraska, and you should know that I’m a guy who loves a good steak. The owner ages the meat himself, and then grills it to perfection. And I mean perfection–both Ann’s and my steaks were done exactly as requested. This is something that can elude the most competent chefs in some of the best steakhouses I’ve visited in New York, Chicago, and Kansas City. But Tim (one of the owners of the Motel) nailed it. He could (and should) be trusted with prime grade beef. Wow. The side dishes were also good, and the restaurant had a full bar and a surprisingly good wine selection that would provide options for even a more discriminating palate.
The steaks at Neon were suburb! The ribeye was seasoned and prepared well and and the strip was even better with a side of mushrooms.
Finally, the owners of the restaurant and motel, Tim and Dana Colvin, are willing to bend over backwards to make sure you have a good visit. Stay in the hotel. Enjoy a relaxing dinner in the restaurant, chat with the owners who are two of the friendliest, mosts personable people you’ll ever meet. If you are interested in golf, talk to Tim when you make your reservation, and he can hook you up with a good price at the Prarie Club, a championship course located just outside Valentine.
Nebraska has given us a number of surprises, and Neon Bar and Grill was one of our favorites. For this reason, it is #3 on our list of Nebraska’s Nicest Nine.
We’re Steve and Ann Teget. We spent more than two decades in corporate America and public education before Ann’s health and Steve’s aversion to middle school girl drama convinced us to try something new. Now we are making the most of midlife and telling authentic stories about extraordinary travel. And yes, we send ourselves postcards.