Coping, Triggers

That Stinks

Certain odors are obvious and terrible headache triggers for me, but I avoid artificial or strong scents and other triggering smells as much as possible. The cleaning products and air “fresheners” used in hotels can be really bad, but I’m generally OK if I stay in a non-smoking room.

Then there are the times that my plans don’t work out.

The first night Hart and I were visiting my sister, we stayed in a hotel so her cat and dog wouldn’t exacerbate his allergies. This was the first time we’d done so and were excited to have a pet-free place to spend time with the kids.

Everything was fine until we got into our room, which had the air conditioning on but was hotter than the horrendous heat outside. When we went to switch rooms, we were told that the room with the broken AC was the last non-smoking room available. The only other hotel in town is a dodgy place, so taking the smoking room was really our only option.

The cleaning crew had achieved the goal of covering up the smoke smell — with strawberry bubblegum-scented air freshener. I was near tears. This was supposed to be an easy, relaxing couple days during which we had fun with my sister and her family. But noooo, nothing is ever that easy. We debated our non-existent options and knew that all we could do was spend as little time in the room as possible.

It turned out OK. My sister and her family are building a house (literally), so we toured the framed-in rooms and laughed at their 100-pound dog who insisted in lying in a not-hooked-up bathtub. The we took the kids to see Pirates of the Caribbean, which meant a smoke- and pet-free three hours.

I got a migraine in the night and woke up feeling like I needed to hose out my nose, but felt much better after I showered and checked out of the room.

Telling you this story is kind of silly. There was no drama in the event, nor is there an illuminating solution that could make all your travels odor-free. I’m just complaining because the whole thing stunk. (tee, hee)

Today we’re off to go camping in Glacier National Park. We’ll spend tonight in a hotel so we don’t have to set up camp after dark. I’ve got my fingers crossed that we’ll get a non-stinky non-smoking room.

2 thoughts on “That Stinks”

  1. Sometimes a bigger hotel in the big fity doesn’t care, either. I had to move three times at a Marriott earlier this year before I could get into an acceptable and smoke-free room, even though I had requested a non-smoking room well in advance. Tossing in the words “duty to accommodate” and “disability” in relation to migraine seemed to make little impact on the management.

    Ironically, Marriott is now making a big marketing splash about being the first hotel chain to go to all non-smoking rooms. (Not true–they are not the first.)

    What I have found to be moderately effective is a de-ionizer. Larger hotels will have them. Oddly enough, I have only required them at the Marriott chain….

    Funny, I stayed in a Marriott on this trip and it was the most odor-free place I’ve ever stayed. Your story is a good reminder to avoid generalizing.

    The search function is terrible, but is a compliation of “green” hotels. Availability of fresh air, non-smoking rooms, envrionmental cleaning and allergies (no idea what they mean by the last two, but I hope it’s good clean products and a minimum of allergens) are all noted. Obviously it all takes follow-up research, but it looks like a good place to start.


  2. Oh yeah, I know what you mean. Whenever I make reservations at a hotel, I make/leave a comment that I’m sensitive to strong smells. They’re usually pretty good about it since I typically let them know beforehand.

    But sometimes, the smaller hotels in tiny, remote cities don’t really care. It seems they’re not so focused on catering to their customers.

    Have fun camping!

    We wound up staying in two hotels and neither were smelly, phew!


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