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Travelling with scent allergies

Level Contributor
62 posts
27 reviews
28 helpful votes
Travelling with scent allergies

Does anyone have tips on travelling with scent allergies?

Husband and I are on a transcontinental road trip, and are having problems with hotels that use room deodorizer and scented cleaners. These give him migraine headaches. On previous trips, he has resorted to sleeping on the bathroom floor a few times to get away from the scent embedded in the carpeting.

When I'm making a booking (usually online), I always make a note in the "special requests" section), but sometimes the desk staff will say "I guess housekeeping forgot". I have started sending a reminder the morning we arrive. At out last hotel, part of the Wyndham chain, it was clear that the desk manager had ignored the two messages, and didn't care about meeting the request.

I have had one hotel tell me that they couldn't accommodate us, which is fine. That means I can book a different hotel. It ticks me off when they don't tell me that they can't.

One trick we have found that works if the scent is not strong is to buy take-out Chinese food to eat in the room, and then we leave the pans and plates around the room overnight. It works with strong-smelling foods like black bean chicken and honey garlic ribs.

At smaller, boutique places and B&B, searching the room for scented candles and moving them out if the room is also part of our routine.

Dies anyone else have any tricks?

2 replies to this topic
Wrexham, United...
Destination Expert
for Singapore, Traveling With Disabilities
Level Contributor
3,059 posts
337 reviews
278 helpful votes
1. Re: Travelling with scent allergies

Hi Kevin, I'm aware this is a serious problem for some. A friend got a migraine if exposed to a specific ingredient of cheap perfumes. To make matters worse, he worked in a shop close to a store selling (and had testers) for those perfumes. He knew the smell, and had to retreat fast if someone came in wearing the perfume. His boss did complain to the standards officer and learnt a product was only banned if it affected more than a certain percentage of the population.

You seem to have thought of quite a few solutions, well done.

Getting more advice is a challenge. I Googled cleaning products migraine (it autocompleted, so it's a known issue), couldn't find anything to help you. I expect you've already tried that.

Hope you can enjoy your trip.

United Kingdom
Destination Expert
for Cornwall
Level Contributor
22,925 posts
296 reviews
153 helpful votes
2. Re: Travelling with scent allergies

I’m very surprised the strongly smelling food option works for your husband as it would only mask the smell not remove it. It may be that your husband’s expectation of getting a migraine on smelling perfume is so strong that the perception triggers the migraine rather than the actual ingredients in the perfume.

If he hasn’t already attended a specialist clinic or visited a consultant it would be a good idea to follow it up. Or, if available in your area, he could enrol for ‘expert patient’ training. They cover some tremendous coping techniques, new prescription, OTC and alternative therapies including hypnotherapy and it’s good to hear others’ stories.

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