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    Monika Sudakov

    Tips for Dining in New York City When You Have IBS

    I took my first trip since February of 2020 last week to New York City. It was a whirlwind trip focused on seeing two shows, doing some sightseeing, and eating some great food. In the past, I’ve always loved to travel, but if I’m completely honest, I had a lot of anxiety surrounding this particular trip. Partly it was generalized anxiety over traveling in a post-COVID world, but more specifically I was extremely worried about managing my IBS symptoms. I am the ultimate foodie and being able to eat well is fundamental to my enjoyment of a trip. In fact, I typically research what restaurants I plan to visit in a new city before I plan anything else about my vacation. This time was no different except that I’ve been dealing with an IBS flare of late, precipitated by both anxiety over major life changes and a bout with COVID-19 which seemed to disproportionately affect my gut causing more frequent diarrhea and increased sensitivity to a myriad of foods. What timing. All was not lost, however, as I took numerous precautions to insure that my short trip would not be disrupted by my disagreeable bowels. I only had 48 hours to enjoy New York City to its fullest and I had zero desire to spend any of it glued to a toilet. How did I do it? Here are a few tips and tricks for a (mostly) hassle-free food-centered trip when you have IBS. 1. Front loading Pepto Bismol chewable tablets. I actually googled how to prevent an IBS flare on vacation and this advice came up multiple times. Several articles suggested taking two chewable Pepto Bismol tablets four times a day for the duration of your trip. Having IBS that alternates between diarrhea and constipation, I was a bit concerned with such a high dosage of Pepto. It typically will constipate me, which might be problematic for a longer trip, but I thought for two days it wouldn’t be too big of an issue. I decided to start with taking it twice daily rather than four times a day, adding doses as needed if my intestines started to rebel. Fortunately, the two-dose method worked like a charm. I took it before breakfast first thing in the morning and then again about an hour before dinner. I will note that it did cause some constipation, but that resolved itself by the next day when I stopped taking it. Again, for a longer trip, I’d consider an even more conservative dosage, but for the most part, this was quite effective. 2. Drink plenty of water. To combat the use of the Pepto and to assist with just keeping everything lubricated, I made sure to drink more water than I typically consume. To be fair, I’m terrible about drinking water at home and usually forget until I feel dehydrated, so any water was more than my usual. But I intentionally drank about the equivalent of a liter of water a day. This is a good practice in general when traveling, but in particular when you are trying to make sure you are flushing your system of toxins adequately… it’s necessary. 3. Finding public bathrooms. With the increased water consumption, finding restrooms became a sport. I had already been concerned about the bathroom situation. Anyone with IBS knows that diarrhea can occur seemingly out of the blue and when your intestines start doing somersaults the necessity of finding a restroom quickly is crucial. Herein lies the problem — New York City is virtually devoid of public restrooms. Most restrooms in stores and even fast food restaurants are reserved for customers only and require a PIN number to enter. I was traveling with a friend who has an Android phone, and I have an iPhone. We both decided to download a different toilet locator app on our phones to see if it would point us in the right direction when needed. I won’t mention the names of the apps we tested because we found them to be completely unhelpful. Often they directed us to restaurants that had restrooms, but we couldn’t use them without making a purchase or they’d send us to a place that was out of business. Our best bets were public parks during the daytime and hotel lobbies. We were also successful in asking patrons at fast food establishments for the PIN numbers to enter those restrooms in an emergency, but I honestly wouldn’t rely on the generosity of others to help you out in a pinch. We used every opportunity to purchase a bottle of water just to gain access to patron-only restrooms, particularly when we were taking long walks. 4. Know your food triggers. As a foodie, I refuse to completely deprive myself of the opportunity to try new foods or to splurge on vacation. Honestly, what’s the point of travel if you can’t enjoy your meals? That being said, there’s a limit to how much you can and should test your luck with your digestive health when you have IBS. Let me be clear — if you have a food allergy or intolerance that you know will make you sick, don’t take unnecessary risks. If you are gluten or dairy free for example, there are plenty of restaurants that can easily adjust or accommodate your needs while still creating culinary masterpieces. However, for myself, I know where I have a tiny bit of wiggle room and where I need to just say no. Dairy typically affects me negatively, so for the most part I was cautious with consuming things like milk or soft cheeses that I know are usually a problem. I did splurge on some amazing fresh mozzarella, but then opted for the vegan gelato when we stopped for a late-night treat. And I know that meat doesn’t usually work well for me, so I stuck to fish and seafood options, not hard to do in a city like New York which has an abundance of fresh seafood flown in daily. Coming from a small town in the Midwest which is a veritable fresh fish and seafood desert, this was a treat. And, as tempting as they may seem because they are cost-effective and smell amazing, I avoided the street vendors that are a part of the very landscape of the city. I know a lot of locals swear by them and food trucks have certainly made a resurgence during the pandemic, but I didn’t want to have to guess which ones were the safe ones to eat from. There were plenty of outside patio dining options as well as well-ventilated inside options. 5. Don’t overindulge. This kind of goes with knowing your triggers, but it’s easy to eat more than you usually do when you are on vacation. Especially if you are doing more walking than usual and busy with activities all day. But… don’t overdo it. Listening to my hunger and satiety cues is important at all times but it is critical when I’m not in my normal routine eating at the same time every day and at my regular activity levels. I always ask myself “Could I eat more right now?” and if the answer is yes, “Do I need to eat more right now to feel satisfied?”If that answer is no, I skip it. Overloading my system just makes digestion that much harder and the less I tax it, the more likely I’ll be to avoid an IBS flare. Plus, it’s New York — you can always find a cute place for dessert at 11 p.m. after a show if you develop a sweet tooth. 6. Loose-fitting clothing. Fashion has never been my priority. I’ve always put comfort over chic. Even if my shoes don’t match my outfit or I’m wearing a goofy hat with a cute dress I honestly don’t care if it keeps me cool, sunburn free, and my feet from blistering. This goes for my tummy too. Now is not the time to wear something super tight around the waist. Give your belly some room to expand after you eat. This may sound fairly innocuous, but I am one of those people who does get a noticeable food baby when I eat and I get extremely uncomfortable if my gut is being squeezed in like a sausage in its casing. A loose top with an elastic waistband solves this problem. 7. Wash or sanitize your hands. I’m fairly certain most of us automatically carry hand sanitizer around with us now, but don’t forget to use it on vacation. I may be a bit hyper-vigilant where germs are concerned, but I do tend to be more aware of surfaces I’ve touched and how many people I’m around, particularly in a city as densely populated as New York. The last thing your gut needs to test it beyond its limits is to throw in some kind of bacterial infection or virus. While washing your hands is preferred, if that’s not an option, hand sanitizer will do the trick. Some of these tips are good practice any time when you are away from home if you have IBS, but they are definitely important when you are in a foreign environment doing irregular activities and behaviors. My advice is, don’t skip the opportunity to travel if you are concerned about your symptoms flaring. Just be conscious of doing the right things to make your trip as uneventful as possible. The only fireworks you want on vacation are the kind in the sky, not the type that come with your IBS getting triggered.

    Community Voices

    What is your favorite part of travel?

    <p>What is your favorite part of travel?</p>
    8 people are talking about this
    Community Voices

    TSA Cares?

    Has anyone ever contacted TSA Cares before? How was it? Were they nice and helpful? I’m going on a trip Friday and I’m absolutely terrified of going through security. Idk what it is about it but it’s horrible and it makes travel so hard. I’ve never contacted TSA Cares before but I’ve heard online that it might be helpful? I know you still have to be screened but honestly anything to reduce the anxiety would be fantastic, I just have no idea what they even do
    #Autism #Anxiety #Travel

    8 people are talking about this
    Brittany Johnson

    How a Digital Nomad Lifestyle Can Harm Your Mental Health

    I did it. I let go of my apartment and all the associated bills and secured a digital nomadic lifestyle. I’m currently waiting for a French visa so I can start my travels where Carrie decided to take Big back for good (which I’m still mad about). Until then, I’m at my parents’ or my friends’ homes with my little dog living my best life, or I’m supposed to be. OK, confession? I’m not living my best life at all. In fact, this whole process has only hurt my mental health instead of helping it. If you aren’t familiar with the digital nomad lifestyle, it’s a lifestyle where you work remotely and you travel wherever you want, and have temporary living situations versus permanent ones. It’s currently all the rave, with people choosing to work internationally in ways they once couldn’t. The idea is glamorous – waking up on different continents and enjoying different cultures, all while working a job that sustains that lifestyle . Our world is so big and our town is so small, so why stay when you can explore? This was my idea when I decided to go live in France for a few months. The only problem is that it was delayed due to some personal situations, so now there’s a gap of time where I’m a digital nomad, only I’m just traveling to different places in central and west Florida. That idea of having no roots after being stressed out by the ones that I had was enough to entice me into trying this. Granted, it’ll probably be better once I set foot in Paris, but for now, I’m a little miserable. I grew up chronically lonely and constantly questioning the concept of “home.” In fact, I still am in a lot of ways. Right before the pandemic hit, I secured my first solo apartment. This place would become my sanctuary and home throughout the hardest years, losses, and transitions of my life to date. No matter what changed, my bed was a constant safe place that could protect me from the horrors of the world or my own life. Letting go of that was hard, but now I’m struggling in ways I didn’t expect. I never knew how much of a rooted person I was until trying this out, and now I’m just uneasy and triggered non-stop. I’m learning that if you’re an extrovert who thrives when surrounded by loved ones, maybe being on your own somewhere across the world isn’t exactly the best idea. When people suggest this lifestyle, they’re usually raving about it, but they don’t speak to the downsides and how isolating it all can be, especially when you already struggle with your mental health. While I know I’m not alone, and I’m ultimately going to create more relationships with people all over the world, I’m still feeling very put off by the fact that I’ll be separated by the people who have held it down for me through my toughest periods. All of my mental health safety plans include family and friends , so what do you do when you’re at some French café ordering a little latté and you have a breakdown but your safety net is thousands of miles and an ocean away? I’m not giving up. I’m gonna see how this plays out when I get to France, and I’m hoping that at the end of the day it’s a lot better than what it’s been. Overall though I do now know that stability, especially when it comes to living situations, is my number one priority when it comes to my mental wellness kit. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and all that.

    Community Voices

    Calling all Travel Tips!

    I'm going on a trip for the first time in years and I'll be honest, I'm terrified. It's for a wedding and is going to be a lot of flying and driving. I'm meeting my significant other's family for the first time, plus we are staying with them. I spend a lot of time isolated lately and I'm really nervous not only about getting through everything, but about making a good impression.

    I'm have fibromyalgia, lower spine pain, generalized anxiety, chronic migraines, and I'm always photosensitive. I've looked into supports and resources available, but I'm definitely still worried about how I'll be able to handle it. Standing in lines and bright lights aren't exactly my forte. Especially when I won't be coming home at night to all the tools I usually use to ease my symptoms.

    While I can't control everything, I do like to try to set myself up for success. I'd like to be able to enjoy the trip, plus it'd be nice to get to know my partner's family without *always* being surrounded by brain fog and migraines. Tall order, I know!

    So any advice on how to manage, I'll take it! Whether its about flying, packing, traveling, or anything about coping on the go. Even tips for how to cope at weddings or how to handle social situations with chronic illness. I know it's a broad question, but I'd love to hear how others cope with similar situations!

    #Travel #ChronicIllness #Fibromyalgia #Migraine #BrainFog #ChronicPain #GeneralizedAnxietyDisorder

    17 people are talking about this
    Community Voices

    If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

    <p>If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?</p>
    10 people are talking about this
    Community Voices

    Tips and tricks for air travel with dysautonomia

    I haven’t travelled on a plane since 2019, which was before my dysautonomia symptoms got significantly worse. The last few months have been the worst condition I’ve been in energy, symptoms, etc. wise and I’m planning a trip to England in July to visit family. It’s important to me to go and luckily I’ll be staying with family that also has dealt with POTS recently, but I’m most worried about the airport, flight and jet lag.

    I’m planning to get a wheelchair for the airport so I don’t have to worry about standing in lines, but other than that I’m trying to figure out what to remember to try to not end up in a horrible flare.

    Any ideas/tips would be great from anyone!

    #Dysautonomia #Spoonie #Travel #TravelTips #LivingWithPOTS

    2 people are talking about this
    Brittany Johnson

    How to Pack for a Vacation With ADHD

    Packing for vacation can be such a hectic time because you’re having to prepare to leave your home for however long while making sure your current day-to-day orders are in place. For a neurotypical, that can be a lot to handle. For someone with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) though? It can be straight hell. I’ve learned that life with ADHD can be easier when you lean into your ADHD traits versus trying to push them away. Thus, here are three ADHD travel packing hacks. 1. Use the ADHD clutter box to your advantage (Part I) Two weeks out from your vacation, put a small container or box in your bedroom and bathroom. When you encounter something that you’re not going to use super often but you will need on vacation, throw it in the box. This also goes for things you buy prior to your trip. Straight in the box. This is good because it’s a little-by-little technique that plays to the strengths of what can be an impulsive brain. Also because you’re doing it at random, you’re less likely to forget it when you’re thinking of everything else at once. Out of sight, out of mind, and for once that’s a good thing! 2. Use the ADHD clutter box to your advantage (Part II) Before I go into this, I admit this is a twist on making a list. Sometimes we do need lists, OK? However, this still plays to our strengths more than using a planner or some other convoluted system. OK, now get another container. Put it in an area that you will see every single day. I like putting it on my countertop. Whenever you remember something that you have to do, especially something you have to buy, write it down and throw it in the box. Eventually, when you’re in that “I have to do everything right now!” frame of mind, you have literally everything you have to do right now, in one space. Also because you wrote them on individual slips of paper, you won’t get overwhelmed at looking at a list of 50 different things you have to do. Just 50 little scraps of paper, but at least they’re segmented, right? 3. Do the fun stuff first, and push everything else off to the last minute and invite a friend over to help you through the rest Look, I did say play to your strengths, right? Fun stuff first! Shopping (that’s fun for me), primping, booking the fun stuff you’re going to do while away are all included. I work best under pressure, meaning that sometimes I have to put myself in high-pressure situations to get things done. The good news is that a lot will already be done because the  “fun” tasks are still tasks. Now that you have all the remaining tasks, an accountability buddy (read: a friend who will keep you on task, not help you procrastinate) can help motivate you to finish everything else out. Since we did wait until the last minute, it may be close to impossible to finish everything ourselves. That’s why enlisting some help as both an accountability partner and an extra set of hands is imperative. There are smart ways to procrastinate. This is one of them. Maybe it’s because I’m unmedicated, but the best way for me to get things done in any scenario is to play to my ADHD strengths and even warp situations so I can do so. That’s why these tips are constructed the way they are, so you’re not working against the mental grain. When thinking of your own packing habits, try it. Work with your brain, versus against it. Something tells me you won’t regret it. Or you may. Only time will tell.  

    Monika Sudakov

    The Ultimate Chronic Illness and Mental Illness Travel Packing Guide

    So you’re going on vacation? Yay! But you have to think about what to pack? Boo. Frankly, as exciting as an upcoming trip may be, the prospect of packing always fills me with some anxiety and dread. I’m always worried that I’ll forget something important or that I won’t be able to find it at my destination, which could make my trip not only not fun, but downright dangerous if it’s something necessary for my physical or mental health. I can also attest to the fact that in my 17 years as an innkeeper, I have witnessed every possible permutation of items guests have forgotten, and have actually had guests drive two hours back home to retrieve the forgotten item so they could enjoy their getaway. Nobody wants to do that. It is in that vein that I decided to compile a comprehensive travel packing guide based not just on my personal experiences traveling with health conditions, but on those of the thousands of guests we have hosted at our bed and breakfast over the years. This list endeavors to cover every possible condition and concern I could think of. Some items may not apply to you, but I wanted to make sure I included them. I hope this list enables you to take some of the guesswork out of your next trip, allowing you to enjoy it more thoroughly and in a more carefree manner. One quick note: Where applicable, I will make distinctions between air travel versus a road trip, however, always check current TSA requirements before packing any item. You don’t want something you need to be confiscated if you can repackage it to fit the appropriate requirements. 1. Basics Appropriate ID, a passport if traveling abroad, and any credit cards you plan to use. A small amount of cash for incidentals. If you’ve received the COVID-19 vaccination, your proof of vaccination, as well as a good quality N95 or KN95 mask or two. A list of any medications you take and any allergies you have in case of an emergency. Your mobile device/tablet or laptop, a power cord, and perhaps a backup power pack, particularly on long travel days where you may not have access to an outlet to recharge. I recommend keeping basics on your person at all times, preferably in an anti-theft travel bag that you can wear across your chest. 2. Prescription and Non-Prescription Medications and Supplements Make sure you order any refills in advance of your travel. If you typically get a 30-day supply and will be traveling for longer than that, ask your doctor if you can switch to a 90-day supply. Pre-populate a pill case with all of the doses you will need (including supplements) with at least two extra days worth in case of emergencies. If your medications require refrigeration, I recommend contacting the property you are staying at in advance to make sure you have access to a refrigerator. Alternately, there are a number of mini portable refrigeration devices designed for traveling with prescriptions that are TSA compliant like this one. Never pack your prescription medications and supplements you rely on daily in your checked bag in case it gets lost. Always place them in your primary carry-on that can be easily accessible. If you have a lot of prescriptions or small medical devices such as a CPAP machine, you should pack them in a separate carry-on that contains only medical equipment. For flights within the United States, bags that contain only medical supplies do not count toward your carry-on limit and you cannot be charged bag fees for them. Larger items that must go in cargo, such as a power wheelchair or shower chair, are also exempt from baggage fees. 3. Medical Marijuana While medical marijuana has been legalized in many states, marijuana possession of any kind, medical or otherwise, remains a federal crime, and transporting it across state lines can be considered a federal offense. In certain states, even if you have a medical marijuana card, you can still be arrested. It depends upon the location you are traveling to and what their reciprocity laws are. Even though TSA doesn’t necessarily actively search for marijuana, particularly if it is in a sealed container in a checked bag, if they do find it, they can confiscate it. Additionally, many airlines outright ban it even with a medical marijuana card. The best rule of thumb is to check before you travel. As a property located in a state where recreational marijuana is legal, we have clear policies on where guests can imbibe, as do many other properties in our state. For the most part, the rules are the same as they are with cigarettes, but again, check before you travel. 4. Over the Counter Medications As someone with IBS, I always travel with backup anti-nausea, motion sickness, anti-gas, antacid, and anti-diarrheal medications. The last thing that I want is for my trip to be disrupted by an upset stomach. I also always bring back up pain medication like Advil or Tylenol, AZO for urinary tract pain, Neosporin and bandaids, alcohol swabs, and a decongestant in case my allergies kick in. Store OTC meds in a pill case rather than transporting individual bottles to save space. 5. Personal Hygiene Products While most lodging facilities will provide shampoo/conditioner, soap, lotion, and shower gel, this may not be the case, and if you use a particular product, like a certain shampoo or cleanser for eczema or another skin condition, make sure you bring your own. If you are traveling by air, you will need to transfer liquids to 3 oz. containers carried in a quart-size Ziploc bag, three per bag. Don’t forget sunscreen if you are planning to spend any time outdoors or are extremely sensitive to sun, which is common with some medications. I also recommend bringing along any kind of pain relieving cream or rub that you use to calm aching joints and muscles. Travel can be hard on anybody, but it can be particularly challenging for those with conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia. Consider bringing disposable ice packs and hot packs. They are easier to use than trying to transport an ice pack or heating pad and don’t take up much space. 6. Sleep Aids If you are like me, sleep is an issue under normal circumstances, but when I travel, it can be downright impossible. This is partly because of being in a foreign location, but I am also extremely sensitive to noise and light, so it helps to pack basics like an eye mask, earplugs, and noise-canceling headphones. I also recommend a mild sleep aid, but consult with your physician first. If you can tolerate it, melatonin can be helpful. Other considerations may include a special pillow if you are used to a certain kind of pillow, a cuddle stuffy if you are used to having one, a special blanket if you have a favorite one, and even a weighted blanket if you use one at home and are traveling by car. I can’t go anywhere without mine, and when I’m traveling by air, I always end up asking for extra blankets to create the illusion of that weight. For those who are not used to sleeping without noise, I recommend downloading a white noise app on your phone. For anyone who sleeps hot, consider bringing a mini portable travel fan. There are battery-operated fans that you can place directly on the nightstand next to your bed as well as ones you can wear around your neck if you are comfortable doing so. If you use a CPAP machine, consider obtaining a travel CPAP machine that is smaller and more portable and uses distilled water cartridges. This takes the anxiety out of trying to find distilled water for a full-sized unit. If you don’t have a travel CPAP unit, make sure you bring distilled water with you. If you are driving, bring a large bottle. If you are flying, try to obtain it at the airport once you have cleared TSA. Many hotels do have it in their gift shops, but not all of them, and most convenience stores don’t carry it. My husband and I once had to hire an Uber to drive us 15 miles away from our hotel to a grocery store that carried it so that he could use his machine, and this was in Las Vegas. You can imagine it’s even more challenging in a more remote rural destination. 7. Travel Anxiety Remedies While travel is exciting, it can amp up anxiety, particularly if you already struggle with anxiety, like I do. If you do take any kind of medication for breakthrough anxiety (for example I have what my doctor refers to as “rescue Xanax”) don’t forget to bring extra along. I also recommend fidget toys, stress putty, noise-canceling headphones, your favorite video games, meditation or calming apps on your phone, a stuffed animal to cuddle, and music that soothes you. And don’t forget distractions like a good book or magazine. 8. Medical Devices Make sure you bring along any other medical device that you use on a regular basis including but not limited to catheters, glucose monitors, thermometers, blood pressure monitors, syringes, mobility devices, etc. Don’t forget to include menstrual products and incontinence products. 9. Clothing Everyone has different needs where clothing is concerned. Take into consideration temperature dysregulation, skin sensitivity, allergies, and general comfort both while traveling and once at your destination. Loose clothing with elastic waistbands is a great option, as is layering clothing. Comfortable footwear is also crucial, particularly if you plan to do any walking. High-quality comfortable undergarments and socks are a must. You don’t want to have an issue with any kind of skin irritation or fungal infection. For sun protection, don’t forget a hat and sunglasses, and you may consider investing in UV protection garments. Even if you don’t anticipate it raining, a disposable rainproof poncho might be easier to pack than a raincoat and umbrella. 10. Snacks/Beverages For those needing to regulate their blood sugar or who are on special diets of any kind, such as those with celiac disease, bringing snacks or beverages along, particularly on a driving vacation, is crucial. You never know when or where you will be able to find something to eat or drink that is safe. If there is a particular creamer, tea, or sweetener you use, consider packing that as well. And finally, pack a reusable water bottle that you can refill so you always have water on hand to take medication. The bottom line? Do some pre-planning. Going through this guide and then writing out a specific list to accommodate your unique set of needs will help you to plan for every possible scenario so that you can have a stress-free, safe trip. And as I’ve mentioned in previous articles, never be afraid to make special requests. As long as you let a property you are staying at know ahead of time what kind of accommodations you need, most will be more than happy to obtain any necessary items in advance of your stay. All you have to do is ask.

    Monika Sudakov

    Questions to Ask About Accessibility When Choosing Where to Travel

    I have been the owner and operator of a bed and breakfast and restaurant for over 17 years. In that time I have received every possible permutation of accessibility question you can conceive of. Whatever your specific needs are, always ask the restaurant or hotel/bed and breakfast if they are able to accommodate you. For the most part, you will find that you aren’t the first person to ask and that the facility will generally do everything they can to accommodate your needs to the best of their abilities. Please note: While historic properties are not exempt from the ADA, depending upon the age, cost, and degree to which a historic property may need to be reconstructed, some facilities may not be able to meet all of the requirements to become fully ADA accessible and are granted a waiver as such. Here is a comprehensive list of accessibility questions you can and should ask about before you travel: 1. Is there accessible parking near an accessible entrance that’s specifically designated as such, and if so, where on the property is it located? 2. Are there elevators to the upper floors or any rooms or suites on the first floor? 3. Do any of the rooms/suites have low entry roll-in showers with safety rails and seats? 4. Are shuttle services available to and from the airport or train station locally, and if so, are they equipped with ramps or lifts? How close is the hotel/bed and breakfast to accessible transportation and/or local tourist attractions? 5. If there is a pool on premises, is it equipped with a hydraulic lift? 6. Is the property pet-friendly? Service dogs are legally allowed anywhere but emotional support animals may or may not be. Even a property that lists itself as not pet-friendly may make accommodations for certain emotional support animals. 7. Are the comforters or pillows down feathers or microfiber? If they are down, can substitutes be arranged for allergies? 8. Is the laundry soap utilized fragrance-free? If not, can fragrance-free be requested to accommodate allergies? 9. Are toiletries fragrance-free? If not, can fragrance-free alternatives be arranged? 10. Are there refrigerators in the rooms/suites or is there access to a refrigerator to store temperature-sensitive medication? 11. Is there access to a freezer to store ice packs? 12. Are there electrical outlets or extension cords available on both sides of the bed to plug in a C-PAP machine? Is distilled water available for C-PAP machines? 13. Is there free high-speed Wi-Fi available for use with sleep, mental health, or other health/fitness apps that are needed? 14. Is there free bottled water or filtered water available for taking medications? 15. What snacks or beverages are available for free or for sale on the premises for regulating blood sugar levels? 16. Is the chef able to accommodate dietary needs of any kind safely and without cross contamination? These can include but are not limited to celiac disease, diabetic-safe, keto, low FODMAP, AIP protocol, paleo, vegetarian, vegan, and any combination thereof. 17. What protocols are followed for high sensitivity allergies like peanuts or shellfish where even breathing in the allergen may cause a reaction? 18. Are dairy-free creamers available for coffee or tea? Can they be obtained? 19. Are sugar substitutes available for coffee or tea? Can they be obtained? 20. Is decaf coffee or herbal teas that are caffeine-free available? Can they be obtained? And anything else you can possibly think of. Honestly, my job as an innkeeper and chef is hospitality and that means doing everything I can to accommodate your needs. And if for any reason there is something that I cannot accommodate, I will be polite and give a reasonable explanation as to why. Please don’t ever feel any shame or guilt for asking. I promise it’s not an inconvenience or something that will be frowned upon. We are used to it and it is our genuine pleasure to take care of you and show you the kindness that you deserve. If a hotel or restaurant balks at any of your inquiries, look elsewhere. They don’t deserve your business.