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Travelling with food allergies

Travel passportTravelling can be pretty stressful for most of us: remembering clothes, money, passport, and plane tickets can be enough of a challenge to make you grateful for a holiday in the first place! When you have food allergies or intolerances, it is one extra thing to think about that unfortunately doesn’t go away when you reach your destination. There are ways you can reduce the stress however, and make sure you can still make the most of your time away.

Planning

As with most things, doing your research and planning ahead can be an important step to a successful trip.

  • Learn about the kind of food you can expect to find at your destination, and if necessary, specific words and phrases related to food in the local language.
  • Different parts of the world will differ in how much ‘free from’ food they provide (if any at all), and whereabouts you are staying will also influence food availability – larger cities will potentially have more choice on offer compared to remote locations. Keep this in mind when thinking of what food to take with you.
  • If it’s a catered trip, always let the company know in advance about any special dietary requirements.  Fruit and Veg Stall
  • Consider going self-catered and enjoy local food by visiting shops and stocking up on local produce.
  • If you’re travelling with others, inform them of your needs to help them understand and if necessary support you.

 

Packing

  • Stock up on foods that are suitable for travel in case you run into difficulties with finding appropriate food, such as cereals and snack foods. If you’re travelling overseas check you can bring your own food onto the flight and also if there are any restrictions in the country you are going to.
  • Make sure you have enough of any medication, adrenaline auto-injector devices etc., in an accessible place in your luggage. You will need a letter from your GP explaining your medication’s necessity, so make sure to get this in advance so you can keep these items in your hand luggage.
  •  If you’re travelling abroad you may want to consider getting hold of some translation cards. Allergy UK Suitcaseprovides a set of three cards including an allergy alert message; an emergency message; and a card suitable for use in restaurants when ordering food. They are available in a range of languages here: http://www.allergyuk.org/getting-help/translation-cards

 

Tips for kids’ trips away

  • Speak to the adults looking after your child in advance of the holiday – help them understand the allergy and any foods that must be avoided, plus information about medication if necessary.
  • Help your child understand how to be responsible for their food and medical information at an age-appropriate level, for instance: not to swap foods with other children; to tell an adult immediately if they suspect they are suffering from a reaction; and how to read food labels.

If you’re prepared and careful throughout your trip, there’s nothing stopping you from enjoying yourself, exploring new places and relaxing!

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