The unfortunate new reality of traveling for so many of us that have been exposed to toxic mold.
“Will the plane ride create anxiety on my body? Will the planes be cleaned thoroughly? Will there be food that I can eat (that meets a mold free diet)? Does the hotel room have mold in the walls or in the ventilation systems? Will my in-laws home have mold? Has there been water damage recently? Will the humidity levels be under control? Will the hotel use hypoallergenic sheets and pillows? Will the air quality be sufficient? If I call and ask the hotel or my in-laws any of the above questions…will I get an honest answer and will they think of me as being crazy?” These are just some of the thoughts and questions that go through a persons head, that has experienced mold. However this is the reality for so many.
Vacations should be enjoyable, but for those recovering from mold traveling can be daunting and something that can create anxiety.
Moms Against Mold has compiled a few tips, that we have found helpful to reduce our anxiety when considering travel. Mind you, some of these are because we’ve been in hotel rooms with mold, we’ve unfortunately forgotten our own sheets and we’ve forgotten to call ahead and ask important questions. We truly desire for everyone that has experienced mold to have a high quality of living; this includes being able to travel with some enjoyment.
hotel & lodging planning
If at all possible avoid areas that have recently experienced flooding and/or that have high humidity.
If staying in a hotel, do your research and find out which hotels are the “newest”. By new I mean, most recently built (as many hotels renovate older buildings into hotels).
It is OKAY to call the hotel or family members home, explain your situation and ask if they have recently experienced any water damage.
“Hello, my name is ________, I plan on being in your area and am looking for a hotel. However, my family has severe allergies to components that exist due to water damage. Thus, I need to ask if your facility has had any water damage in the last few years.”
What do their customers say?
If possible, check the reviews of the places you’ll be staying. The hotel may say, “no water damage” but reviews may tell you otherwise (this note is from personal experience).
It’s totally YOUR right
Upon creating a reservation, request that the room NOT have goose down pillows or comforters. Also request that there are no chemicals sprayed in your room as well as the plug in smell good things.
BE OPEN & HONEST
Communication is key
If staying with family, explain your situation more thoroughly. If they are receptive to being understanding, they will give you an honest answer. If they are defensive, you may want to look for a hotel (following the above guidelines).
If you will be staying with family for a long period of time, you may want to offer to have a mold inspection completed, or offer to purchase a High-Tech Solutions unit to have installed before you arrive.
Hotel & Lodging Arrival
CHECK VENTS & SURFACES
Bring a good flashlight and check the vents and surface of the walls upon arrival. Look for mold. DO NOT BE EMBARRASSED. This is your health and the health of your family. Shining a light parallel to the surface of the walls can help you find mold that you can’t see when looking at the wall directly on or by shining the light at a wall directly on. See the photos below as a guide at how easy it is to not see mold on the walls without a good flashlight shining parallel to the walls to reveal the circular patterns of mold on the surface of the walls and or the raised texture of spores on the walls that are hard to miss because they are whitish to light color. Many species of molds that produce mycotoxins are a light color such as Penicillium, Aspergillus, and Cladosporium.
Shows the light shining directly at the wood paneling.
Showing the light shining parallel at the paneling; revealing the growing mold.
Shows mold growing on the drywall; easily found by shining the light parallel to the drywall.
Conduct a smell test
Notice the smell in your room. If you smell mold at all, trust your gut.
Any water damage?
If you see water damage, assume there is mold. It is better to be safe than sorry.
what to do next…
IF SUSPECT MOLD
Ask to move rooms immediately if any of the above are realities. If the mold is in the ventilation units, leave and ask for a refund. It’s not ideal but you won’t get sick.
IF LOOKS FINE
If the room seems fine (YAY! Your hard work in picking this hotel has paid off) change the sheets and check that the comforter is what you requested.
Set up your room, with the items listed in the below “Packing” section.
Packing for your trip
Bring your own hypoallergenic sheets and pillows (at least pillow cases).
(or plan on purchasing one upon arrival)
Bring a dehumidifier (or plan on purchasing one upon arrival)
If possible, bring a
portable High-Tech Solutions unit.
If you are an Essential Oil believer (which we are incredibly biased towards) bring a diffuser and thieves oil (for mold) and an oil that helps you reduce anxiety.
We personally recommend Lavender which is a featured product on Elizabeth’s Young Living site. For diffuser options, click on all products and search diffusers.