Scour the internet and you will find thousands of travel tips to avoid indoor toxins and nasty creatures in hotels, from “magic” sprays to portable cocoons for sleeping in. The truth is, as much as we would like the assurance of a perfectly clean environment when we are traveling, we are busy.
As an indoor environmental expert, Dave Hedman, CEO of ThermaPure, has overseen thousands of projects ranging from anthrax, to mold, to bed bugs. He knows what can be hiding behind those perfectly plastered walls and in those stylish duvet covers. So, what does he do when he travels?
- Request a room with windows that open. Nothing can substitute for fresh air when it comes to limiting your exposure to indoor pollutants. When you are making your reservation, be sure to ask if the rooms have windows that open.
- Ask if the hotel has rooms for the chemically sensitive. More and more hotels are becoming chemically conscious, and are setting aside rooms that only use green cleaning products, etc.
- Trust your nose. Your sense of smell is free, portable, and the most reliable tool you have. Sniff for musty, sweet, or chemical smells. The musty and sweet smells could be indicators of mold. Chemical smells can be an indication that the hotel is trying to mask the smell of mold, or that the room has recently been sprayed with chemicals to treat a pest, such as bed bugs.
- Ask to look at multiple rooms. You may not want to be a pain, but remember; only you have your best interests in mind when it comes to limiting pollutants. On a trip last month, Dave asked to look at three different rooms before he picked one. He was glad he did, because each room had a distinctly different odor, even though they looked very similar.
- Take bed bug precautions. Place your suitcase on the folding stand as soon as you get into the room. Bed bugs have a difficult time climbing metal surfaces. Then inspect the mattress for bed bugs, and the dark marks they leave, that look a lot like pen scratches.