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Can I Get Hay Fever On Holiday?

Scott McDougall
Scott McDougallMPharmDirector & Registered Manager

Reviewed on 24 Jul 2023

Whether you’re going abroad or staycationing this summer, if you suffer from hay fever, it can also affect you on holiday.

Here are some tips on where to go to minimise symptoms, what to pack and how to make travelling a little more comfortable when you’re suffering.


Hay fever season will start and peak at different times across the UK. For example, there’s a later start and shorter season in the north of the UK, where generally there is less pollen. Urban areas have lower counts than the countryside, and places inland have higher counts than around the coast.

This is also true abroad.

If you head to coastal areas or dry places with fewer plants they will have lower pollen counts, whereas city breaks can exasperate allergies due to the smog trapping pollen. It’s also thought that pollution can make the pollen thicker and stickier so it clings more easily to the nose, throat and skin.

Remember that smoking rules are often different abroad, so try to stay in a non-smoking room, and if you can, request synthetic or hypoallergenic pillows rather than feather pillows (common in hotels), or take a plastic cover with you.

Examples of short-season or low pollen count areas are;

: Northern Ireland, South West coastline, Devon, Cornwall, Brighton, Yorkshire and Scotland.

: West coast of France, Costa del Sol, Costa Almeria and Costa Dorada, Madeira, Algarve, Canary Islands, smaller Greek islands such as Kos, Crete or Corfu, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, and some cities such as Riga in Latvia, Tallinn in Estonia and Zagreb in Croatia.


Be prepared with your hay fever medication and pack more than you think you’ll need so you don’t run out when you’re away.

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If you’re flying put non-liquid medications, in their original packaging, in your hand luggage, just in case your luggage is delayed or lost in transit.

Don’t forget your sunglasses! Not only do they protect you from the sun’s rays, but will help protect your eyes from pollen.

If you’re staying in areas that are likely to have a higher pollen count it’s worth considering packing extra clothes. That way you can change from what you wore outside to fresh clothes inside, reducing the amount of pollen circulating indoors.
Washing your hair before bed will also stop pollen from settling on your pillows and worsening symptoms while you sleep.

Severe allergic reactions can also make affected areas more sensitive, so you might like to consider taking some natural toiletries with you to soothe your skin, scalp and cream in case hay fever brings you out in a red, itchy rash.


By car:

  • Clean your car first to get rid of any residue pollen.
  • Try to travel when pollen counts are low early in the morning or late at night.
  • Keep windows shut to prevent allergens from getting inside your vehicle, and if you use air-con, turn off the outdoor vent setting and circulate air inside.

By plane:

Planes are notorious for circulating dry air, which can worsen a runny nose and congestion.
Take a small nasal spray (under 100ml) in your hand luggage, which will help to cleanse and soothe your nose from the dry air.

Whichever way you’re travelling it’s important to stay hydrated. Drinking water also helps to soothe the throat and loosen mucus to help reduce a blocked nose from hay fever symptoms.

 Avamys Nasal Spray
Avamys Nasal Spray
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And don’t forget to take any hay fever medication as early as possible in the day before your symptoms start.

Hopefully, these tips will stop you from struggling too much with allergy symptoms, and help you to relax and enjoy your holiday.

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