By Caroline Evans
Traveling can be an inspiring and restorative experience but for those with food allergies it can also be very challenging and daunting. Below I share with you some tips for travelling with food allergies. I hope that this gives you some ideas of how to prepare for your trip, so that you can feel more confident about your travels.
Research your destination
Before embarking on your journey, conduct thorough research about your travel destination. Look for allergy-friendly restaurants, accommodation options, and nearby medical facilities in case of emergencies. If you are travelling with children with allergies then bear in mind that their needs may differ from an adult’s. Some people with food allergies also have environmental allergies, so consider climate, local environment and how it might affect your allergies. If you happen to know someone living in the area that you are visiting then it can be helpful to reach out for some local knowledge. If you are travelling with a child with allergies then researching whether some of their essential foods and drinks are available at your destination can be helpful.
Pack allergy medications and essentials
Ensure that you pack all the necessary allergy medications and essentials for your trip. I would suggest that you carry medications in your hand luggage and where possible also carry spare supplies in your checked luggage in case of unexpected delays or loss of luggage. Keep a copy of your prescription with your medication and also check whether you need an additional letter from your GP to take certain medications to certain countries. If you have severe allergies, it may be wise to wear a medical alert bracelet or carry an allergy card with you, detailing your specific allergies and emergency contact information. It can be reassuring to check with your health care provider before you travel for any country specific advice that they may have.
If you are travelling with children with allergies then creating an allergy alert card with their photo on, and a list of things that they are allergic to can be useful.
Inform travel companions and accommodation providers
Be sure to inform your travel companions and hosts (hotel staff, etc.) about your allergies, they can become your allergy allies. Explain the severity of the allergies, the specific triggers to avoid, and the necessary precautions to take. This way, they can assist you in finding allergy-friendly dining options or making any necessary arrangements to accommodate your needs. I would also recommend that you check airline policies especially if you also react to airborne allergens as different companies have different policies so you can choose accordingly. Certain airlines (with a letter from your GP/Dietician) will allow a free extra luggage allowance to carry extra medications and foods (this can be especially handy if you are travelling with a child that needs a certain infant formula for example as it can take up a lot of luggage space).
Be cautious with food
To minimize the risk of accidental exposure, research local cuisine and ingredients commonly used in the region you are visiting. Learn key phrases in the local language to communicate your dietary restrictions or allergy concerns effectively. When dining out, inform restaurant staff about your allergies, and ask detailed questions about the ingredients and cooking processes. If you have severe allergies, consider packing safe snacks or meal replacements just in case they are needed during your journey especially if your child has food allergies (children tend to be less understanding about waiting hours until you can find something to eat).
If travelling to a foreign country then I would also suggest you check the ingredients lists even on products that are ‘safe’ foods at home. For example, Hula Hoops in the UK do not contain milk but in some other countries the recipe is different and they do contain milk.
You might also feel more comfortable staying in self-catering accommodation. As well, it is possible to purchase online allergy alert cards in different languages and some people find this helpful or you can make your own.
I hope that this helps. It is understandable to feel worried when you are travelling away from your ‘safe’ space but usually a little preparation will ease some of the anxiety.
Do you have any other questions? Something you agree or disagree with in this article? Let us know in the comments!
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Nurturing Families with Expertise and Compassion
Caroline Evans is dedicated to supporting families. With over 20 years of experience, she offers a wide range of services, specializing in areas like sleep, infant feeding and feeding difficulties, weaning, behavioural issues, reflux, allergies, toileting and emotional development. Caroline’s approach focuses on understanding root causes, empowering parents to trust their instincts and understand their child’s cues, and of course to offer tips and guidance too.
Caroline’s journey began in the early years sector and evolved into postnatal care and parenting support. Degree educated, she holds a certificate of professional competence Early Childhood and continuously invests in professional development to stay updated with the latest research. She maintains that children are her greatest teacher.
Caroline provides personalized remote consultancy worldwide. Her philosophy promotes child-led parenting, recognizing the uniqueness of each family. Caroline is passionate about the work she does and is dedicated to the well-being of families.
If you are seeking guidance on your parenting journey, Caroline’s website and social media links can be found below. Parenting can be challenging, and Caroline’s goal is to remind you that you’re doing an incredible job and that you’re not alone.
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