Back when we published our hotly contested Worst Tourist Traps photo gallery, dozens of readers wrote in to debate the hygienic wisdom of planting a wet one on the Blarney Stone for good luck.
Which got us thinking about other tourist attractions that might be a Petri dish for germs. So we asked our followers on Twitter what their votes for the germiest tourist attractions were.
Amivmi responded that the "Gum Wall at Pike Place Mkt in Seattle gets a big EEWW!!!" For years, people have been adding a rainbow of chewed gum to the Gum Wall, located outside the Market Theater. Last year, our sister site Trip Advisor even named the Gum Wall one of the world's germiest tourist attractions.
NG_LasVegas says the "Crazy Girl Statues on the Las Vegas Strip get my nomination—those bronze butts have been groped a lot." Check out the photos and you'll see it's true: those metal derrieres shine from all that polishing. With so many hands on the same surfaces, this would be a good location for a hand sanitizer dispenser.
And tweeting flight attendant Heather Poole weighed in with her nomination: "It's not a tourist attraction but it gets you to the tourist attraction and it's pretty germy—the airplane." Too true. A recent study said that passengers are 100 times more likely to get sick on an airplane compared to everyday circumstances. Yikes. Last fall, we rounded up some tips for staying healthy on airplanes, including staying hydrated, washing your hands, and avoiding those shared blankets and pillows.
On Facebook, the suggestions included Disney World, and The Fountain of Youth in St. Augustine, Florida.
What other germy tourist attractions have you visited? Does the germ factor cause you to think twice, or are you one of those travelers who laughs in the face of hand sanitizer?