Have Food Allergy; Still Travel

As I’ve hovered around food allergies all week, I’d like to stay on the topic and offer some tips on traveling with a food allergy. This can be challenging as well as frightening, especially if traveling outside of the country where you may encounter unknown foods or different languages. Hopefully these tips can help you feel more assured and you can enjoy the pleasures of travel without letting your food allergies interfere.

• Make sure you have all of your medications (Epipen, Benadryl…) with you at all times. Medication needs to go on the plane with you, not in your checked bags. I made calls to the airlines when we first traveled with my daughter’s Epipen to make sure we wouldn’t encounter any trouble on the plane; everything was fine. You can also take a doctor’s letter with you explaining your/your child’s medical needs and can find a sample letter on the FAAN website.

• Make sure your medication is in date and that you have enough of it. I often take 2 Epipens with us and extra Benadryl. My theory, better safe than sorry. And take it with you on all of your outings. It will do you no good stashed in your hotel room.

• Keep plenty of safe snacks with you for yourself or your child. With airline travel, check beforehand and see what you can bring on with you. You can also call ahead if you are receiving meal service and they will usually accommodate your allergy needs. If traveling by car, pack plenty of snacks, too. It beats looking to stop somewhere and is probably healthier then “road food” anyway.

• If you are visiting friends or family, let them know of your or your child’s allergy. That way they can accommodate you with plenty of safe foods as well as avoid serving anything you can’t have.

• Don’t be afraid to call ahead to restaurants or even your hotel and explain your allergy needs. It’s OK to bring your own food with you if you aren’t sure.

• If you are traveling outside of the county and are worried about translation issues, you can purchase a food allergy translation card from Selectwisely.com. You can match the country to where you are traveling and your food allergy and receive a wallet size card explaining the severity of your food allergy in clear basic verbage. These are very reasonably priced and can take a lot of the fear out of eating in a foreign country (I think I’ll purchase them for my daughter when we go overseas).

• Finally, enjoy your trip! You can do it, just be prepared, because there is a great big beautiful world out there!

– Heather Legg

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