It is possible to travel with food allergies!
Suffering from a food allergy should not prevent you or a family member from exploring the world. Here are some tips to make sure your trip goes without a hitch.
Never leave home without it!
Pack your epinephrine auto-injector (EpiPen) in your carry-on luggage and keep it on hand throughout the trip.
Check the injection’s expiration date before you leave and make sure you bring enough (or even extra). Do not store it in a checked bag as baggage holds may not be temperature controlled.
Safe buffer zone?
To avoid risks, many airlines have banned snacks and foods on board their aircrafts that contain nuts and other allergens.
Before booking your flight, take the time to review the airline’s policy on food allergies.
Before boarding your flight, inform a flight attendant that you suffer from a food allergy. They will take precautions and often ask other passengers to refrain from consuming foods that you are allergic to during the flight.
Wear the chef’s hat
You have heard the old adage: there’s no place like home. When you prepare your own meals, you know exactly what you’re eating.
Travellers with food allergies prefer accommodations with on-site cooking facilities. It’s also par for the course to pack approved snacks so they can munch with confidence… and never be caught empty handed when a craving hits.
They also use dried or dehydrated foods.
Making yourself understood
Every person suffering from food allergies wants to avoid their worst nightmare on a trip: the possibility of being misunderstood.
There are lots of apps at your fingertips to avoid becoming lost in translation.
The Allergy Food Translator app lists 86 food allergies that can be translated, and no Internet connection is required. You can now travel worry-free in 57 countries.
If you are more old school (or your cellphone battery dies), you could carry illustrated flash cards that explain your food allergy and possibly offer a translation in the local language.
Choose your destination carefully
Choose your destination wisely if you are a newbie to the world of food allergies.
Disney parks and cruises are renowned for bending over backwards to accommodate guests with food allergies. Simply explain your food allergy to your server and you will be offered a personalized menu.
When it comes time to booking an all-inclusive resort or other types of travel, tell your travel agent about any food restrictions and they will find a dream location where you can focus on fun and eat stress-free.
It goes without saying (though we are sorry to say): avoid street food like the plague. As tempting and affordable as it is, the possibility of cross-contamination is simply not worth the risk.
International chain restaurants are your best bet, instead of local restaurants where menus may have a hit-and-miss approach to accommodating those with food allergies.
When deciding what to eat, pick the most international dish instead of local fare. Play it safe for peace of mind!
Approachable hotel chains
Some hotel chains stand apart from the others by how they accommodate travellers with food allergies. Palladium and Beaches are two resort chains that have put specific policies in place to protect guests with food allergies.
Avoid travelling solo
It can be very reassuring to tour with a travelling companion… they will be on hand to help if you have a bad allergic reaction.
They can also be your royal food taster if they do not have any food allergies themselves. Get them to take a bite first to suss out the presence of allergens before you dive into a dish.
This is not the most reliable method to use, but it can help reduce the risk.
Travel insurance for the unexpected
Despite all the precautions you take while travelling, it is recommended to get insurance for emergency medical expenses. You will be covered if you need medical care abroad or if you have to be repatriated home.
You could also plan ahead with trip cancellation and interruption insurance. This will be extremely useful if you want to be repatriated to Canada after an allergic reaction.