Should You Wear Flip Flops in Hotel Showers?

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A very important travel question.

Quick question: should you wear flip flops in your hotel’s shower? It’s an important travel philosophy: do you protect yourself from the thousands of travelers who have visited your hotel room before you? Or, is the point of travel to be one with the world, including whatever’s on the bathroom floor?

To find out how Fodor’s readers feel, we posted this question on our Facebook page: “Should you wear flip-flops in your hotel shower? Why or why not?” What did we find out? That this may be one of the most divisive questions in the travel sector. It seems that everyone has strong feelings about what you should and shouldn’t do with your feet when you’re on the road.

The Well-Protected

For roughly half of our readers, going barefoot in a hotel shower is the last thing any traveler should do. There were a lot of exclamation points, all caps, and pleas for everyone to “wear protection” for safety’s sake.

The most obvious reason? Shower cleanliness varies. “Who knows what’s been there and if it’s been properly cleaned,” is a popular opinion. No one seems to be sure when to trust if a shower was actually cleaned regularly or if it’s only wiped down after an “obvious mess.”

Others thought about the gnarled, filthy, and otherwise unappetizing feet they’d seen on their travels. Some things can never be unseen and can make it seem like no amount of scrubbing is enough to keep them safe from the feet that may have come before.

And, surprisingly, lots of people said it wasn’t about cleanliness at all: “You should be concerned about falls first and foremost,” said one accident-averse traveler. Which, we guess, is a good reminder that there’s always something else to be afraid of, and an idea for another question: Why don’t more hotels put non-slip mats in the showers?

The Shoeless Sojourners

While half of our readers are adamant about in-shower protection, the other half think they’re getting nervous for nothing. The proof? Their own feet. They’ve been bare in showers all over the globe and they’ve managed to not only avoid itchy or fungal surprises, but also painful slips and falls.

But, it’s not all bravery. They trust in their own balance and the likelihood that whoever is in charge of cleaning their hotel room will, at the very least, “spray some bleach in the shower and call it a day.” Although, at least one commenter said that, just to be sure, they bring their own bleach to clean the shower before they put their bare feet in.

The Verdict?

We wish we had a recommendation, but the jury is split, and everyone seems very secure in their choices: the be-flip-flopped are more than happy to give up a little extra suitcase room for extra peace of mind when showering abroad. Those who free foot it say they’ve never had any problems, so everyone else should feel free to do the same.

That is, except for one reader who used to swear by the barefoot method but now, “I now have itchy feet. Acquired after a solid month on the road in Europe.” So, if you want our professional opinion, flip-flop it up just to be safe, or use that space in your suitcase for a little fungal cream.