Traveling with Allergies
Life with allergies can be tough in the best of circumstances. When you live with allergies or conditions like asthma that can be exacerbated by allergies, you learn quickly to control your environment. You keep your home as allergen free as possible. You avoid places you know will cause problems. You learn which restaurants have allergy friendly menus or are willing to cater to someone with special dietary needs. This is just common sense. However, when you travel with allergies, all of that can quickly go out the window. Suddenly you’re thrust into a completely new environment, both indoors and out. You’re in unfamiliar territory. Your routines are shot. All of your old standbys are nowhere to be found. It’s almost easier to just say forget it and stay home.
But staying home is not your only option. It may not be a cake walk, but you can travel with allergies. The key is preparation. Here are a few steps you can take to make traveling easier and more enjoyable.
- Do your research.
Thoroughly research where you plan to go and what allergens are going to be prevalent when you’ll be there. If pollen causes big problems for you or someone in your family, it just makes sense to check the pollen report before you get there. You’ll also want to research your accommodations. You may want to look at newer facilities to avoid mold. Call ahead and ask if they are willing and able to work with you to make your stay as comfortable as possible. Do they have rooms that are pet, and therefore, pet dander free? Do they have rooms that would allow you to prepare your own meals? And speaking of meals, you should definitely check into the local restaurants to see which are the most allergy friendly in the area.
- Plan ahead.
Once you’ve done your research, it’s time to start planning. Choosing where you’ll stay is obvious, but it’s also helpful to use that research you did to go ahead and plan your meals. It’s much easier to avoid potentially dangerous situations when you’ve not only researched, but also decided where you’re going to go. Waiting until the last minute could mean not getting a table and having to wing it. Planning ahead may also mean consulting your doctor. Talk to him/her about where you’re going, what you found in your research, and what your concerns are. They may prescribe different medications or even have you begin some medication before you leave.
- Be prepared.
Once you’ve done all your research and planning, make sure you’re totally prepared. Pack any medication you’ll need while you’re gone and make sure you aren’t going to run out. Concerned about dust mites? Pack your own linens. You may also consider purchasing a portable air cleaner with a HEPA filter to improve ventilation and reduce allergens even further.
Allergies don’t have to keep you from traveling. And traveling with allergies doesn’t have to be scary. It may take a little more work on the front end, but if you’re willing to put in the time, travel can be just as relaxing and rewarding for you as it can for anyone else.