Traveling with Allergies – We Did it!

By Heather Legg

So we vacationed out of the country last week and of course were a little nervous as there are nuts in lots of French food. We would walk in a patisserie and see “pistache” and “noisettes,” lot of the chocolate contained nuts and so did some of the entrees on many menus, but we had no problems at all. We even made it through some chocolate shops in Belgium with very nice help in picking out chocolates with no nuts.

We had a couple of things on our side, one, my very fluent friend. She would make sure there weren’t nuts in the things we ordered for my daughter and though my family tries to stay away from nuts, my other daughter did end up with one nutella filled croissant which I shared with her. I was thankful my allergic daughter didn’t order that one because it just looked like a regular pain au chocolat and we both had bit right in.

Another positive note was that most everyone spoke some English, and they were also very aware of allergies. The woman in one chocolate shop asked before she even gave us samples if we wanted with nuts or without. Again, my daughter is not severely allergic so we were able to go in places and have some things that others with more severe allergies may not be able to do. Our friend’s son is a nutella fiend and ate it throughout the week, in croissants, on waffles and in ice cream but it never caused a problem for our daughter, she just didn’t share with him.

On the other hand, she ate plenty of ice cream and chocolate croissants, pastries and chocolates. All of which I was a bit anxious of before going, but after seeing that it all went smoothly, I am inspired to keep it up.

We did take the Epipen and Benadryl and kept it in our pack, along with the translation cards which though were a great idea, never used. Perhaps if there was more language barrier, they would have been more necessary, but they just stayed put in my wallet.

I am so glad we went on this adventure and let our children experience other places, cultures and food. We didn’t let allergies hold us back and came away with great experiences, fond memories and probably a few extra pounds, while looking forward to more safe travel.

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