Don’t Let Swine Flu Fears Get in the Way of Your Timeshare Vacation

Flu season is almost here, only this year it includes the added concern of H1-N1 flu, the name we are supposed to now use instead of swine flu so we won’t offend the pigs or create a bad marketing image for the pork industry. (Okay, fair enough)

It is natural to wonder whether it is a good idea to travel at all with concerns so high about exposure to illness. But before you cancel your timeshare vacation, you might consider just taking some preventative measures to improve the odds that you stay healthy, especially if your vacation is planned for a timeshare you already own (and therefore have already paid for) or you’ve arranged a great deal on a timeshare rental.

And while the threat of flu exposure may give you pause to rethink your timeshare vacation plans, the overall health benefits of vacation and relaxation time probably outweigh the risk of coming down with a bug. According to ARDA, the American Resort Development Association, at their website, “Men who don’t vacation regularly are 32 percent more likely to die of heart attacks; women are 50 percent more likely.” This single fact alone is an eye-opener to the fact that vacation time is critical, even if it means washing our hands a few extra times along the way.

Simple Steps to Increase the Odds of Staying Healthy During Your Timeshare Vacation

Your timeshare unit should be clean when you arrive, and if for any reason it is not, contact the timeshare management immediately to ensure that you are either switched to a different unit, if one is available, or that housekeeping takes care of your concerns.

But even in the cleanest of timeshare resorts, there are little steps you can take to improve your chances of staying healthy during your timeshare vacation.

  1. Worry less about the sink and toilet and more about items such as the on-off buttons on light fixtures. Take along some sanitary disposable wipes and wipe down doorknobs, telephones, light switches, the refrigerator and microwave door handles, salt and pepper shakers, and other places that people frequently handle but housekeeping is more likely to miss in clean-up. This is not major cleaning; you only need to do this once upon first entering your timeshare condo or unit.
  2. Some timeshare vacationers routinely load the dishwasher with all washable kitchen items and run them through the hottest or longest washing cycle before they use anything.
  3. Deal with the most unsanitary item(s) in the room … the TV and video remotes. Since you can’t bathe the remotes in disinfectant, try taking a zip-closure sandwich bag turned inside out, picking up the remote and then pulling the bag over it, and ‘zipping’ it closed. Great trick, super simple, and you can still work the remote just fine right through the bag.
  4. Put a pair of thongs or other slip-on shoes inside the front door, for each family member. Leave outside shoes on a newspaper inside your timeshare, and wear the clean thongs inside the unit. This way, you won’t be bringing more outside germs into your timeshare nor will you be walking around barefoot inside the unit.
  5. Author L. A. Robinson (“Keeping Germs at Bay“) suggests a bottle of alcohol for cleaning up tubs and toilets. It is cheap, easy to splash around, safe for most surfaces and you can pick up a small bottle anywhere.
  6. And finally, wash your hands. You can’t hear this enough or do it too much. Buy a handful of those little bottles of waterless liquid soap and make it a game with your kids to use the stuff liberally and often.

Finally, if you do get sick, seek medical attention promptly. And if you are traveling outside the US, and you or a family member becomes seriously ill, contact the embassy or consulate for that country. The Department of State Diplomacy in Action website is

To contact this agency by phone from the US or Canada call: 888-407-4747. From outside the US call: 00-1-202-501-4444.