Travel: ALL the ASTHMATICS! Edition
Currently, I’m less than a month out of my first travel adventure of 2017 (for those playing along at home, I’m writing this on February 26, and my next flight lifts off March 17). I’ll hit 10 states—8 new ones for my travel map. My first stop is St. Louis, MO, where I’ll spend a night at Kat’s place, before we head off on the train bound for Philadelphia to meet with the Health-Union staff and contributors—with a 6-hour stopover in Chicago, and then 24 hours in Washington, DC.
I’m going to stop there for now because this brings us to our most recent (but not first) episode in Travel: ALL THE ASTHMATICS! edition. Because you know what’s fun about asthma? THAT NO ONE IS THE SAME EVER.
So, as we are three weeks out from my visit to Kat’s home for the night, Kat and I engage in a series of messages.
Kat: Oh, and how de-fragranced do I need to make the house? Like there aren’t any air fresheners or anything crazy like that. But I do have some scented bath products and a candle in the bathroom.
Me: Lol, you’re probably fine.
Kat: Detergent is free & clear 🙂
Me: Perfect, that was my next question. We’re good then haha
Kat: Yeah even I can’t do non-free & clear detergent
Me: I was going to say that your house probably has the same or lower scent level than an average hotel so it’s probably fine.
First plus about travel with asthmatics: THEY GET YOU. First, I had no real concerns about Kat having a house full of air freshener and things—I presumed (which she confirmed) that she does not have many scented products around, and that she mainly cleans with baking soda and vinegar. The best part is though that she asked, which I thanked her for. Dia and I have had a similar conversation in November when she wanted to make sure her mildly fragranced deodorant wouldn’t bother me when she crashed in my hotel room before an event in Toronto. Similarly, I’m not about to show up at Kat’s house with a bundle of bananas, balloons, and avocados (…not that I’m sure I’d show up anywhere with those items), as she’s allergic to latex. Sometimes, those things are just easier to keep at the front of your mind when you’ve got your own stuff to think about.
When Kat and I get to Philly, we’ll meet up with Dia and stay there for the next few days (Kat for three, Dia and I, four); we’ll meet all the contributors, and I’ll get to reconnect with or meet for the first time a handful of other friends both in and out of the asthma sphere, which is really exciting. We’ve been having this conversation for at least 2 months regarding our quest for cheesesteaks in Philadelphia that check all the boxes: vegetarian (for the three of us), and containing both a non-dairy option (for Dia) and a dairy cheese option if possible. People are probably like WHY ARE YOU EVEN TRYING TO DO THIS but hello, when in Philly ya gotta cheesesteak. Vegetarians included. People allergic to dairy included. THIS IS ABOUT THE CULTURAL VIBE, GUYS.
Planning ahead is key
Traveling with other asthmatics may be slightly more logistically complicated, but it’s totally worth it. Do I have to think about feather free bedding or allergen free hotel rooms? Not so much, but I do have to consider what triggers may be lurking in there and how to prepare—so I’m mentally a step closer to having the down-alternative pillows closer to the front of my mind. Another perk? When you forget your inhaler (and are down the street from your rented condo), you can check with your also-asthmatic friend like “You got medicine?” and keep going. When I was in Palo Alto with Dia and left the hotel without taking any meds (HOW?) and with only Ventolin in my pocket, she was able to spot me some medicine. It’s not exactly recommended, but it is super convenient. That’s what friends are for, right? 😉
I’m happy for any travel companions I may stumble upon… But, yeah, traveling with others with asthma just makes my world a lot more predictable and relieves a lot of potential anxiety when I know my hotel roommate is not going to be slathering herself in grapefruit scented lotion or spraying perfume everywhere!
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