You're more likely to come down with a nasty bug than be injured while travelling - and that touch-screen entertainment device could be responsible.

Figures provided by Southern Cross Travel Insurance Australia showed colds and flus were the most claimed for conditions by travellers, followed by gastrointestinal upsets and food poisoning, news.com.au reported.

It found that one in five people could fall ill while on holiday, with 60 per cent of these cases requiring medical attention.

Injuries and accidents were much less common, with only seven per cent of travellers unfortunate enough to get hurt on holiday.

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And planes are actually one of the most common places to pick up an illness.

SCTI CEO Craig Morrison told news.com.au that cleanliness on planes had suffered due to tight budgets and turnaround times.

"The air in the plane is cleaner than in most buildings but where you do get sick, is from the dirty trays, the armrests, the TV screens and the toilets," he said.

"If the airlines are under pressure to turn the plane around quickly, the cleaning crew is not able to do a thorough job - so don't worry about the air you're breathing, worry about what you touch."

He recommended avoiding illness by carrying hand sanitiser and keeping your hands away from your face.

The most common location to get sick was the United States, which he said was a reflection of the length of the flight.

"There are much lower numbers between Australia and New Zealand, but then you're only spending three hours in the air," he said.

In a TED talk in January, 17-year-old Raymond Wang outlined his plan for a filtering system that would stop the flow of airborne germs around the cabin of an aircraft.

His specially designed filters could fit into existing air design and offer passengers "personalised breathing zones", no matter where they were sitting.

In 2013, 26 passengers on a Qantas flight from Chile to Sydney were quarantined after an outbreak of norovirus on the 14-hour flight.

The Centre for Disease Contol (CDC) recommends cabin crew combat in-flight infection by minimising other passengers' exposure to the ill traveller, keeping interactions brief and wearing rubber gloves and face masks when necessary.

- nzherald.co.nz