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Publication: Travel Tips
Scary Hotels Aren't Just For Halloween

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Tips & Advice for the Seasoned and Armchair Traveler Alike! 

October 30, 2007 

Foreign language guides can be helpful when traveling.   

They tell you how to shout 'Taxi!', how to find a bathroom,   
and whether the menu item you’re eyeing is chicken, beef or   

But rarely are they much help when you need to quickly tell   
someone that you have a life-threatening allergy to gluten.   

This week's topics include:   




P.S. If you're interested you can now post comments on this 
and recent issues on our forum at... Travel Tips Forum 

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Travelers who suffer from allergies suffer from a range of   
problems that can spoil a vacation, ruin a business trip or   
even threaten their lives. And the source is usually   
invisible to the people packed onto the plane or tour bus   
with the sufferer.   

For some, it's food, like peanuts or shellfish. For others,   
it's pollen or cigarette smoke. Or mold. Or dust mites. Or   
bumble bees.   

Whatever a travelers particular sensitivity, there's one   
thing allergic adventures all need: Travel tips.   

Here’s this week's list, pulled together with help from the   
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology and my own   
experience as a traveler who takes asthma medication and   
blows up like a puffer fish from wasp stings.   

* "With you" means "with you"   

Always take your allergy medication with you when you   
travel. "With you" means in your purse, pocket or carry-on   
bag, not in anything that's going to travel in a separate   
compartment where you can't reach it.   

Folks with severe allergies who carry an epinephrine pen or   
an asthma inhaler probably don't need to be reminded about   
this. But people whose allergies seem to be under control   
often do dismiss the possibility of a sudden attack.   

Keep in mind that traveling, by its very definition, exposes   
you to new things. That means allergens as well as the   
Acropolis and topless beaches.   

* Location, location, location   

It may not be pollen season where you live, but it could be   
where you're going.   

Go online and check the pollen count of your destination   
before you leave. Prepare accordingly.   

For an online map of fairly current pollen counts throughout   
the United States, visit www.aaaai.org or   
www.accuweather.com. Once you get to your destination, click   
on the Weather Channel, if it's available, or listen to   
local weather reports to get an accurate pollen count.   

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* Allergy anticipation   

The best part of travel is experiencing new things. But   
activities that deviate from your normal routine can also   
expose you to things that can make you sneeze, swell,   
sniffle, itch, wheeze or die.   

Be prepared. If you're going to be outdoors, make sure you   
have got that bee-sting medicine you keep in the back of the   
medicine cabinet. Those Benadryl tablets you've safely   
ignored while visiting a city or a museum, may become a   
necessity after visiting a park or touring the countryside.   
Especially if you have no clue how to say "Benadryl" in the   
relevant foreign language and will have to resort to   
guesswork at whatever pharmacy happens to be near you when   
the allergies attack.   

If you're allergies are severe enough, you might want to   
consider skipping some potentially miserable activities,   
even if the rest of your group jumps right in.   

* Food flashcards   

If you suffer from food allergies, you need to try to learn   
the key, foreign-language words needed to convey your   
problem to waiters, cooks or medical staff. An alternative   
is buying a pack of food translation cards to hand out to   
anyone with a hand in your dinner.   

These laminated cards - about the size of a credit card -   
address food-related problems in English and just about any   
other major world language you need. If, for example, you're   
traveling to India, you can get cards that say, in Japanese,   
"I have a life-threatening allergy to shellfish". The card   
would include a picture of a mollusk with a "not allowed"   
symbol stamped over it.   

The cards are available through Select Wisely.com   
(http://www.selectwisely.com). They cost about $8.50 a pack   
and address the most common 40 food problems in the 15 most   
common languages. For an additional fee, you can get the   
problems translated into other languages, such as Hebrew,   
Khmer and Hindi.   

* Unwanted traveling companions   

Traveling by bus, car or train can sometimes hold you   
captive to dust mites, indoor molds, pollens and other   
substances that lurk in the carpeting, upholstery and   
ventilation systems of vehicles.   

Before beginning a lengthy car trip turn on the air   
conditioner or heater and open the windows for at least 10   
minutes before entering the car. This will help flush out   
mites or  molds that may be in the system. If pollen is the   
problem, close your windows and turn on the air conditioning   

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* Airborne, edible allergens   

If you have food allergies, be extremely cautious when   
eating airline food. Bring snacks with you so that, if you   
are suspicious at all, you can bag the meal and survive on   
nibbles during the flight.   

Why take such care?   

First, since the food comes from a vendor, no one on board   
may be able to tell you the specific ingredients of the   

Second, you're on a plane. A PLANE! If something goes wrong,   
there's no rushing you to the neighborhood emergency room   
before the symptoms threaten your life.   

* Hotel hell   

Every once in a while, some intrepid TV reporter will make   
the rounds of hotels armed with an ultraviolet light or some   
other device that show up every stain, secretion or mite   
poop on the sheet.   

Even the cleanest hotels may contain large concentrations of   
dust mites and molds in the carpeting, mattresses and   
upholstered furniture that can worsen your allergy or asthma   
symptoms. Irritant fumes from cleaning products may also   
cause problems.   
When making hotel reservations, ask if there are allergy   
proof rooms available. If you are sensitive to molds,   
request a sunny, dry room away from areas near indoor pools.   
Also, if you have allergies to any animals, inquire about   
the hotel's pet policy, and request a room that has been   

People who are allergic to dust mites may want to bring   
their own dust-proof, zippered covers for pillows and   
mattresses, or personal bedding. 

Well, that's it for this week, group. Thanks again for 
reading, and please keep those comments, complaints and 
questions coming in. 

You can send me an e-mail message at: Email Pierce

Until next week, thanks for reading.   

Your Tipmeister,   



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