Healthy Traveling With Allergies
Amy Scholten, MPH
Your vacation has finally arrived! Now is the chance to get away from it all. Unfortunately, you cannot take a vacation from your allergies.
If you travel, be aware of allergy flares. They can happen due to a change in climate, pollen levels, and places to stay. You cannot allergy-proof your vacation. However, you can take steps to reduce the effects of allergies.
Before You Leave TOP
Research where and when you want to take your vacation. Choose a time and place that will not make your allergies worse. Consider these tips:
- Know the pollen forecast or the weather for the area you plan to visit.
- Consider a beach or mountain vacation. Sea breezes tend to blow allergens away. And dust mites are not as common in places over 2,500 feet.
- Ask your doctor for any travel tips that might help your allergies. Also, if traveling overseas, ask if you will need more medicine.
- Find an allergy doctor in the area you will be visiting.
- Talk to your doctor about taking allergy medicine before your trip. Some medicines take time to be effective.
No matter how you travel, you can reduce your exposure to allergens.
Traveling by Car TOP
Follow these steps can make your car allergy-friendly:
- Turn on the air conditioner 10 minutes before you get in the car. Do this with the windows open. This will help remove dust and molds from the air conditioning.
- Keep the windows of your car closed while driving. This will keep pollen and other irritants out of the car. Use the air conditioner instead.
- If your trip is short (less than 1 to 2 hours) consider using recirculated air. Open the vents or windows for a few moments now and then.
- Begin your travel early in the morning or later in the evening. The traffic and air quality should be better.
- If you are renting a car, ask for one that was not used by smokers. Try to get a car with a with high efficiency particulate filter.
Traveling by Plane TOP
These steps can help if you are traveling by plane:
- Pack your allergy medicine in your carry-on luggage. Do not put it in a checked bag that could get lost.
- Make sure to bring more than enough of your allergy medicine.
- Bring a saline nasal spray. Use the spray often to help keep your nasal tissues moist. Be sure that your spray is saline (salt water) only.
- Consider the time zone you will be in. It is important when planning the right dosage of medicine.
At the Hotel TOP
Hotels may have dust mites and molds. They can live in the carpet, bedding, and upholstered furniture. To reduce your risk of these irritants in your room:
- When making your reservation, ask:
- If the hotel offers allergy-proof rooms.
- If you can have a room away from the indoor pool. Rooms close to indoor pools may have more mold.
- About the hotel’s pet policy—if you are allergic to animals. If pets are allowed at the hotel, ask for a pet-free room.
- For a non-smoking room.
- If the air conditioner filter has been changed recently. If not, see if the hotel can change the filter before you arrive.
- If the hotel offers foam pillows rather than pillows with feathers.
- Bring allergy-proof covers for pillows and mattresses.
- Shut the hotel windows. Use the air conditioner instead.
- Do not use the closet or drawers if you are allergic to mold. Mold can form in dark, damp areas.
At Your Destination TOP
Try to have a flexible schedule that considers your allergies. On some days, you may have to change your plans. It depends on your symptoms. Keep track of the local pollen count. When pollen counts are high, consider an indoor activity. For example, you could go to an art museum or visit a historical building. Ask the hotel’s concierge for some ideas.
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery
Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Public Health Agency of Canada
Allergic rhinitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/allergic-rhinitis. Accessed October 27, 2021.
Travel tips for people with asthma. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www2c.cdc.gov/podcasts/media/pdf/AudioRounds_AsthmaTravel.pdf. Accessed October 27, 2021.
Traveling with allergies. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America website. Available at: https://www.aafa.org/traveling-with-asthma-allergies/. Accessed October 27, 2021.
Last reviewed October 2021 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Last Updated: 10/27/2021