I have been traveling with food allergies all my life. I even managed to live in Paris with food allergies! I have raised two children with food allergies, environmental allergies, in addition to general food sensitivities.
This is part of what led me to write my first book, “The Thriving Child,” followed by my cookbook “Shut Up and Cook!,” so I completely understand any angst these food struggles can cause.
I always suggest to keep living life. Don’t let your allergies hinder you. Through many tears, I decided to push forward and I am thankful that I did. I encourage you to do the same.
We can help ourselves and better our travel experience by being more prepared. People that don’t have allergies are not always as sensitive to the emotional part of this journey and may not take it seriously, but more than anything, they may not know how to help and what to do.
Here are some things you can do to help yourself and your loved ones while traveling with food allergies right now.
Call and tell your airline your situation ahead of time. Some airlines are more sensitive and caring and understand that being 37,000 feet off the ground can be very dangerous if a serious life-threatening food allergy moment occurs. Airlines ought to be equipped with allergy life-safe medication and stop serving items like nuts, as they are a top allergen for many. Choose the airline that offers care and concern up front. That can ease your comfort level.
Wipe down the surfaces:
Wipe the tray in front of you before using it. Even if you are only putting your computer on top, someone may have left residue from an allergen.
Pack well and be prepared:
Be sure to have all required life-saving allergen items and medications on your person. You simply don’t know when they’ll be needed, so be prepared.
Keep copies of important documents:
It’s important to travel with our medical records. If you have to go to a doctor abroad, you’ll know what you are taking and what you have been given.
Wear a medical bracelet:
This tip is beyond helpful. If your child goes camping, be sure to send them to camp wearing one, or even if they have a sleepover at a friend’s house.
Have your top 5 emergency numbers available without having to scroll or search for them.
Foreign language allergy cards:
I love having these on me because I have always been able to present our allergies in different languages to the waiter, no matter where we are.
Choose your hotel wisely:
Get a hotel, if you can, that offers 24-hour front desk support so if you have to call at any time, someone is available to assist you.
View the menu before going or call ahead. When you get there, notify the person taking your food order in addition to the manager on duty. This way you know more than one person was well informed. Let them know it is an actual allergy, rather than a dietary preference. Do not forget to take your life-saving medication with you to eat either. I hope one day that restaurants are all equipped to have life-saving food allergy items on hand. If you are sensitive, and not allergic, consider avoiding the food you are sensitive to in order to avoid being uncomfortable and feeling unwell.
Thoroughly wash your hands to remove any residue before touching your face and food. Traces of allergens may be on your hands, so it’s best to keep them clean.
Always bring some items on hand to nibble on for you or your loved ones to eat at any given moment (especially where food is limited like on airplanes). Ask the hotel to pack you some items you know are safe for your outings out of the hotel.
Regardless of the language, be sure to read, read, read the ingredients. If you’re not sure, it’s not the time to guess.
Where and when you go, be sure to go in style and allergen-free so you can enjoy life’s pleasures.
Please let me know if this was of any help and what you may do when you travel with food allergies by leaving a comment below.
Much love and gratitude,
Certified Holistic Health Coach
Certified in Gut Health
Author of The Thriving Child, Shut Up and Cook!