Travel Tips for an Allergy Safe Vacation
Ah travel. Time to relax, re charge and let loose . . . . .unless you have a food allergy. Don’t let that stop you! With proper planning and a few extra of your favorite allergen free snacks packed in your carry-on, you will be able to relax and recharge when you travel, allergy and all.
The harsh reality is that travel to any destination away from home can be a potential allergy risk. All inclusive resorts that produce mass amounts of food, international travel that has menus in new languages and remote countries that don’t understand the severity of allergies or have resources to treat an allergic reaction can all cause added stress on travellers with food allergies.
Knowing the questions to ask, starting to plan early, talking to your doctor and allergist canal help you get ready to take on the world!
Travel Tips for an Allergy Safe Vacation
Plan ahead – as far ahead as possible.
Plan for both the travel part of the trip and the destination.
Notify the airline, rental car company, destination hotel, resort, organizer of any activities you will participate in of your food allergies.
Pack all the snacks - take into account travel time by road, by air; assuming delays and limited access to allergy safe food along the way.
Pack all medication and epinephrine auto-injectors in your carry-on.
Ask your allergist for recommendation of allergy friendly restaurants, hotels.
Ask your doctor for extra prescriptions that you can carry with you.
Get any paperwork required from your doctor for airline, resorts to verify your allergies and medications.
Learn brand names of medication in your destination country.
Learn how to translate your food allergens into the language of the country you are visiting.
Call air lines and destination hotel/resort in advance to inquire about allergy policies.
Talk to flight attendants about your food allergy.
Find out if there are any local allergist and closest pharmacies to refill medications at destination or along the way if travelling by car.
Booking rooms or hotels with kitchenettes to give you more flexibility to prepare your own meals.
Research restaurants in the area and their menus. Call ahead to confirm.
Pack enough snacks for the length of your trip to supplement meals and and day travel away from hotel/resort.
Bring non perishable foods that can be prepared – pastas, rice, snack bars.
Bring sanitizing wipes and wipe down airline seats, tables, arm rests, rental car steer wheels, doors, hotel door handles, chairs, bathroom surfaces, restaurant tables, chairs, beach loungers.
Consider buying travellers health insurance if your current policy doesn’t cover out of country.
Find out how far your destination is from the nearest hospital, is there 911 service in the area
Resources for International Travel
There is so much information available now online to help you plan for your travel – especially if it is to a new country. The International Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Alliance (IFAAA) is a tremendous resource for all your travel needs.
Download the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Emergency Care Plan.
Fill out and carry with you multiple copies of the IFAAA Travel Plan Document
Review Allergic Livings Airline and Allergy Policies Guide for 16 major Airlines. https://www.allergicliving.com/2018/05/15/allergic-livings-airlines-and-allergies-policies-directory/
Carry a chef card that outlines the food to avoid in the language of the country you are in. https://www.foodallergy.org/resources/food-allergy-chef-cards
Download and print out a tip sheet for the country you are visiting https://www.foodallergy.org/resources/tips-international-travel
Don’t let travel plans overwhelm you. There are so many resources at hand and once you plan the first trip you’ll know what to ask, what to look for, what to plan for and you’ll get more confident with each trip.
If it is your child that has the food allergy, let them help you with the planning. Involve them in the pre planning and looking up new destination, allergy policies and languages.
Take control of your food allergy when you travel so it doesn’t control your fun!
Foodallergy Canada www.foodallergycanada.ca
Food allergy & anaphylaxis Alliance www.foodallergy.org
Allergic Living Magazine www.allergicliving.com