How to protect yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning while traveling

There are several potential risks that you plan while traveling. Although carbon monoxide poisoning is relatively rare, it is easy to overlook when planning a trip and enjoying your stay in the country. Here are some signs to look out for and ways to avoid carbon monoxide (CO) hazards.

What is carbon monoxide poisoning?

The recent death of two American tourists at the Sandals resort in the Bahamas is a sober reminder to be on the lookout for the hidden threat of carbon monoxide.

Carbon monoxide is produced when fossil fuels such as gasoline, natural gas, charcoal or propane are burned. It is a colorless, odorless gas that is almost impossible to detect with the naked eye until you experience symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.

The Mayo Clinic states that common signs of carbon monoxide poisoning include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Labored breathing
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fainting

Unfortunately, severe carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal.

These symptoms can easily be confused with other illnesses that may seem more common when traveling. If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, move to fresh air immediately and seek medical attention.

Stay in well-ventilated areas

Excess carbon monoxide is more likely to occur in gas-fired hotel rooms or vacation homes. If you have a gas stove in your country house, do not use it to heat the house.

Look for reviews from previous guests to find any potential red flags about faulty heating or kitchen systems.

Know where the fire exits are

Getting outside and getting some fresh air as soon as possible is the best medicine. Know where the nearest fire exit or outside door is.

Your hotel room should have an emergency evacuation map showing the exits in relation to your premises.

Bring a carbon monoxide detector

Portable carbon monoxide detectors fit easily into travel luggage and have a long battery life. They’re available for less than $30 each, so you might want to take a few with you to place in your bedroom and kitchen areas.

If you’re renting a holiday home, check to see if the landlord has installed carbon monoxide detectors.


Carbon monoxide poisoning is difficult to suspect because it is an invisible threat. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to avoid getting sick.

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