The news last week that the top hotel rooms are not always the cleanest will have had most of you squirming. The study, by US-based site Travel Math, found that four and five-star hotels actually contained more "colony forming units" of bacteria than cheaper, three-star accommodation.

I once watched with amusement as a friend took all the crockery and cutlery from a holiday home we were renting and ran it through the dishwasher before we used it, citing the disgusting habits of previous guests as reason enough for extra cleanliness.

Someone told me recently that hotel chains use special fabric for their upholstery that is, err, bodily-fluid repellent, which makes sense when you think about what potentially goes on behind a closed hotel room door. Gross.

What can you do about the germs? Nothing much really, apart from travelling with a packet of antibacterial wipes for door handles, phones, and TV remotes; and possibly removing the bedspread (which reportedly is routinely overlooked in the room-cleaning process). Or, you could just relax. A few germs won't kill you.


• This issue is our Travel Family Special, which we've put together to help you plan your holidays for 2016. It's worth remembering that, especially around the school holidays, popular destinations and properties book out early - you'll get the best deals if you plan and book early. If you leave it too late, you'll miss out or have to pay a premium.