Tips for Allergic Travellers
Having food allergies doesn't mean you can't travel! It just means you might have to do it more carefully, and with advanced planning. Here are some of my tips for planning an allergy-friendly vacation:
1. Book a hotel or Airbnb with a kitchen
The hardest part of travelling with allergies is having to eat in restaurants for all your meals. So just eliminate the restaurant! I often find hotels with a small kitchenette, or an Airbnb with a kitchen, so that I can prepare my own meals. Do some grocery shopping when you arrive, stock the fridge, and enjoy your trip knowing that if you can't find a safe place to eat you can make something safe for yourself.
2. Pack safe snacks
When I travel, half my suitcase is full of food, and I'm not exaggerating. Bring pocket snacks to carry with you for in case you get hungry during the day. I also bring oatmeal (try Holy Crap cereal) and Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips so that I can make some tasty oatmeal in my room. Just request an electric kettle from the front desk, or heat up some water in a pot on the stove. There are so many individually wrapped safe snacks available, and many of them now offer nutrition in addition to safety. Check out Kinwa Bars and MadeGood foods for some tasty and healthy options.
3. Let the airline know about your allergies
Call ahead and let the airline know about your allergies so that they can create a buffer zone around you. Each airline has their own policy, and some airlines are friendlier towards allergies than others. I have had great experiences with Air Canada and United, so they are my go-to airlines. Carry your epinephrine and antihistamines in your carry-on and be sure not to pack them away in your luggage. They're of no use when they're under the plane and the temperature down there is not regulated, so they may be compromised. Bring your own food to eat during the flight. I always bring a couple bananas, baby carrots, and some cookies.
4. Make restaurant reservations ahead of time
Save yourself the stress and plan where you will eat before you leave for vacation. Allow yourself the time to read reviews on allergy blogs and forums, email restaurants of interest, check the Allergy Eats app, and secure your reservations.