Food Allergies and Travelling
While now may not be the best time for it, current events considered, it doesn’t hurt to review helpful tips for travelling. While visiting new places is fun, it’s also important to make sure you’re safe, especially with food allergies.
If you’re travelling a long distance, planes are a convenient mode of travel for most people. However, when you have food allergies, there are a few precautions you should take. Whenever we have a flight, my family lets the airline know about my allergies when we book the flight, and we haven’t had any issues with this. The airline usually makes an announcement at the beginning of the flight stating that they won’t be serving any snacks with nuts, and a few times the flight attendant has come over to check if I need anything else to be accommodated for, or to ask whether it’s okay if they just have a “buffer area” where they don’t pass out nuts, or if I’d rather they not serve any at all. In addition to this, we make sure I sit with at least one other person from my family when we book flights, and we always make sure the area is clean. I also pack my own snacks for the flights in case I get hungry. If it’s an especially long flight, I tend to look around the airport and find something to bring on the plane for later as a meal, just in case I don’t feel comfortable eating one of the in-flight meals.
If you’re travelling out of the country, it may be helpful to learn a few key phrases in a foreign language to help you communicate, such as asking if something contains your allergens, or stating your food allergies. Alternatively, you could write these phrases down or keep them on a note in your phone to show someone in case this is easier than speaking a foreign language. Doing research about where you’re travelling will help you become more familiar with the area and make you feel more safe. An especially important question to research is “Are my allergens very commonly found in the cuisine there?” Researching this will help you be more prepared and feel more at ease on your trips.
No matter where you are, even if you’re in your hometown, it’s good to make sure you’re safe when eating out. This is especially important if you’re travelling somewhere you’re not very familiar with. When eating out at restaurants, you should ask about your meals and allergens, even if you think it might be okay if you don’t. I especially remember this after a trip to New York. We stopped to get some ice cream, and as we were eating, my sister realized there was a small sign that stated the ice cream cones contained almonds. Thankfully, I hadn’t eaten the cone yet. I took some medicine to be safe, and everything turned out to be okay. However, I should’ve checked before ordering, and it’s an important lesson I’ve learned. While eating out, it’s also important to always notify the restaurant staff about your allergies, even if you think the meals you’ve ordered should be safe. On a different trip, my family had ordered some soup, and to our surprise, it contained peanuts. Another time, we had ordered a meat dish, and even after telling the waiter about my allergies, we discovered there were peanuts at the bottom of it. In both cases, I thankfully didn’t have any severe reactions, and I’m now even more careful when I travel. I’ve learned that it never hurts to double check to make sure my food is safe, but it could hurt if I don’t. It’s always better to make sure and be safe, and this helps you enjoy your vacations and have fun!
It’s especially important to make sure your food doesn’t contain any allergens if you’re travelling, and even more if you’re travelling internationally. I hope these tips are a good refresher and help you out when it’s safe to travel again!