My Top 5 Tips For Traveling with Food Allergies
Bring at least 3 epipens. Even though 3 or more might sound excessive, you always want to be prepared because anything can happen while on your vacation. An epipen might malfunction, you might lose one, you could have more than one allergic reaction, etc. Especially when travelling internationally, it’s always better to bring more epipens than you think you will need on your trip.
Bring a lot of extra snacks that you know are safe for you to eat. I think this is really important when travelling because you could be stuck in a situation at a restaurant, on an excursion, etc. while on your vacation where the only food available is food that you know isn’t safe for you, or that you aren’t sure is safe for you to eat. For example, I always bring a lot of granola bars that I know are nut, sesame, and sunflower free on my vacation to eat when I’m unsure if the food at a restaurant on vacation contains my allergens or not.
When travelling by plane, wipe down the tray and seat before you get seated on the flight. You never know what could be on the seat and/or the tray when you get seated on an airplane. Not only can the seats and tray be really dirty, which you should wipe down anyway, but they could have your allergen on them. There is such a wide variety of food served and eaten on flights, that it could be very possible that crumbs of your allergen are somewhere on the seat and tray in front of you. The person on the flight before you could’ve left crumbs from a food that contains your allergen on the tray in front of you, and you might not even notice until you have an allergic reaction. I have experienced being on a plane and having crumbs of nuts left on the airplane tray. I just wiped it down really well and sanitized everything in front of me, and it was okay.
If you are travelling internationally to a country that primarily speaks a foreign language, bring cards that communicate in the foreign language what your allergens are and what to do in case of an emergency with your allergy. I have found this extremely helpful for when I travel to a foreign country and the waiters/chef at the restaurant don’t speak great english. It will strengthen communication between you and the waiter and after reading the card that explains the situation in their language, they will completely understand your allergy and communicate it to the chef. This will make eating out in a foreign country much easier and you will feel a lot safer knowing that the restaurant fully understands your allergies and can take action to ensure your food is safe for you to eat.
Research restaurants ahead of time and call ahead. When travelling out of state or to another country, you most likely aren’t familiar with all of the restaurants and don’t know if they are allergy-friendly or not. So, I definitely recommend before going on your trip, that you research restaurants that are good for people with food allergies, and call ahead to restaurants you plan to go to about your allergy and how they deal with food allergies. This can help make you feel more confident and reduce stress about going to those certain restaurants because the people at the restaurant can talk to you about dishes that contain or don’t contain your allergens.