Traveling and Allergies

Traveling with allergies can be problematic sometimes, and you may not have considered the potential pitfalls.

  • If you are very allergic to animals, make sure the destination (hotel room or friend’s house) has not had pets recently, depending on your sensitivity. Many hotel chains allow pets in their rooms, so it is important to check on this.
  • You can check the pollen counts at your destination and compare them to pollen counts in your area to gauge if you may have problems. You can also see which plants are most active in the area.
  • If you have mold allergies, check the mold levels of your accommodations. Your hotel staff may not be forthcoming with this information unless you stress the importance of it to your safety. You may want to check with a manager on this.
  • If you are allergic to down fillers in pillows or comforters, check to see that they are removed (if this will help you), or make sure you stay someplace where there hasn’t been any down-filled bedding for the past few months or more, depending on your sensitivity.
  • Bring your own pillows, or at least bring allergen-barrier pillow encasings. You may even want to bring your own linens and blankets, depending on your sensitivity.
  • Consider bringing an air purifier with you. Some purifiers with HEPA filters can be small enough to fit into a suitcase. You can use it in your hotel room to filter some of the pollutants and allergens.
  • En Route:
    • Food Allergies:
      If you have food allergies, you will can call the airline and ask them to direct you to find the contents of the meals. Many airlines make this information available on a website for just this purpose. Since fewer and fewer meals are served on planes, you will probably do well to pack your own food anyway. This will save a lot of hassle in the airport restaurants. And, you don’t want to be at 30,000 feet discovering that the waitress at the sandwich shop didn’t actually know what was in your food.
    • Peanut Allergies:
      If you have extremely severe peanut allergies, there are airlines that serve pretzels now instead of peanuts. Check with your airline.
    • Getting an oxygen supply on the plane:
      If you are very seriously asthmatic, you may even want to consider having a supply of oxygen made available to you on the plane. It may run about $100 per flight for this service (so, $200 if you are changing planes once), but with a doctor’s note, many airlines can make this accommodation.
    • Portable Nebulizer:
      Consider a portable nebulizer for the plane, car, or other places where you can’t plug in a regular nebulizer. These run from $100 to over $500, depending on the model.

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