Hosteling with Asthma
I don't know about you but I really enjoy traveling and seeing new places. I love to explore cities and learn about the history of the place. Up to this point, I have mostly traveled in the United States, with a few brief trips to Canada (which sadly means my passport contains no actual stamps). When I'm looking for a place to stay I have some pretty basic requirements: it needs to be reasonably clean, have wifi, and no complaints about the hot water. I often select hostels when available as they can be a good way to keep my trip on budget. I have had some great experiences staying in hostels in a variety of places. There are some things to keep in mind if you decide to stay in a hostel on your next trip:
- Find out what the layout is of the hostel. Will you be in a dorm with many bunk beds in one room? Is the bathroom attached (ensuite) or down the hall? How many outlets are in the room? Are there private or semiprivate rooms available? If you aren't comfortable with taking medications in "public" a dorm might not be the best option. Of course you can take your inhaler into the bathroom or some other private space to use it. Your roommates will also hear your cough, if you're self conscious about it. I don't mind the communal nature of shared dorm style accommodations. I'm one who can sleep nearly anywhere and brings along earplugs to ensure a good night's sleep. However, when an excellent night's sleep is mission critical or I think I might be getting sick I opt for more private accommodations.
- Are there air fresheners used in the restrooms? Can you tolerate a roommate who uses perfume? Do they allow smoking on the premises? You might want to look into a private room with just a shared bathroom if you are worried about triggers your roommates may bring into a dorm style accommodation.
- The majority of hostels I've stayed in have been very clean. Often including the odor of fresh bleach in the washroom and elsewhere. While this is reassuring that it has been cleaned my lungs tend not to agree with bleach fumes. I take along some antibacterial wipes especially during flu season. Just like any other community living scenario hostels have their fair share of germs. I general on vacations I try to keep up with hand washing and other preventative measures to stay well. Between handling cash, taking public transit, and staying in a hostel or hotel I know I'm exposing myself to more bugs than usual.
- As far as bedding goes, I don't tend to have troubles sleeping without my usual dust mite encasements. Hostels often have regulations about bringing in linens due to bedbug concerns. It doesn't hurt to ask if you can bring your dustmite pillow encasement if it will help you sleep. One thing that helps me is that the hostels I've stayed in have always had feather free pillows and synthetic blankets. No down pillows and duvets to trigger my allergies.
Overall reading online reviews and giving the front desk a call ahead of time can greatly increase the chance that you will find a hostel that fits your needs. Happy travels!
Do you experience allergies and/or sensitivities?