Several years ago I was on vacation when I began feeling ill. After cutting the trip short, my doctor informed me that the reason for my sickness was due to a previously undiagnosed allergy. This started my quest to be a more informed traveler who knew what to watch for to prevent a repeat of the terrible vacation. My information comes from a variety of sources including other travelers with allergies.
Mold In Hotels
Choose a hotel that is mold free as well as non-smoking. Many people with allergies think about smoking acting as a trigger but forget that mold is a common allergen. When making the reservation, try to get a room away from the pool and facing the most sunlight. This helps to remove the possibility of mold creation.
Pet Friendly Hotels
A lot of hotels now welcome guests with cats and dogs. Check if the hotel features pet friendly accommodations to avoid triggering any dander allergies. There can be leftover pet hair and dander even with the most stringent cleaning from housekeeping.
Sometimes bedspreads or pillows feature allergy inducing down. If possible, carry your own allergy proof pillows for use in the hotel room. Some hotels offer allergy pillows and sheets sets specifically for guests.
Hotel Room Items
Sometimes traces of dust or other allergens remain on objects. This has happened to me a few times. Bring a travel pack size of moist cleansing cloths. When you get to the room, take a wipe out and quickly go over any items commonly touched such as nightstands, lamps, and remote controls.
Eating While Traveling
Anyone with food allergies needs to be aware of that issue while taking transportation. Pack food or snacks to carry you to the destination and back when food allergies are an issue. Try choosing foods that have a long shelf life. For long distance trips, contact the airline or travel agent to arrange special meals that fit any type of dietary needs.
I have found that the concierge is invaluable in helping me deal any problems or concerns that come with allergies. For example, ask the any concierge about the best restaurants for people with food allergies. If the hotel does not have a concierge, front desk personnel can offer suggestions or help to arrange any requests.
Quick Tips About Food Allergies
Although I do not have a food allergy, several travelers I know who do, have shared their experiences with me. There are several quick tips that work well when traveling with food allergies.
- Try to carry a note asking about food allergies in the country’s native language when traveling abroad. This is only necessary if you are not fluent in the specific language. A general rule of thumb when choosing food, is roasted or grilled fish, chicken and meats. Avoid any foods with flour coating or breading. Breading may feature several ingredients that trigger allergies.
- Call ahead to inquire about food preparation including oils used. While at the restaurant, check with the server concerning ingredients even if they are listed on the menu. Especially check into sauces which can feature many different ingredients from the actual entrée.
The most important thing I can say, is do not be afraid to travel if you live with an allergy. Having an allergy does not mean the end to traveling. Instead, a traveler only needs to be more aware of their specific triggers. Remember the simple steps throughout the trip that helps to ensure a successful trip and add your own touches.
Photo credits courtesy of Flickr creative commons: Idaho Falls by avaloncm.
A nutrition instructor, Sally Caruthers is also a content contributor to achooallergy.com. Sally suggests those suffering from allergens use air purifiers and dust-free cleaners such as the Miele Vacuum, which comes with self-sealing dust bags.