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Tips for Traveling With Food Allergies

My daughter is allergic to tree nuts, and so far we’ve been able to manage them well.  She avoids all products with obvious nuts and when in doubt we ask.  But, when we recently traveled out of the country to the Cayman Islands, I did have some concerns.  We’d be eating foods that weren’t as familiar to us, and I wasn’t sure how experienced the locals would be with a tree nut allergy.  But, we were lucky in that it was an English speaking country – I knew at least there wasn’t going to be anything lost in translation. If you are traveling with food allergies, here are some tips that can help.


Do some food research

Before you leave on vacation, do a little research into the popular foods of the country you are visiting, and check to see what the typical ingredients are.  In the Caymans, we got a little rum cake delivered to our room daily, and through some earlier research I discovered that cake included nuts (something I wouldn’t have expected based upon the taste and texture of the cake).

Pack your medications

You may not have access to the same medications you are used to, so pack extra medications like Epi-Pens and Benadryl.  Also make sure that you check the expiration dates on everything, and be sure to pack them in your carry-on bag – not your checked bags.

Bring along allergy cards

To help with the language barrier, bring along allergy cards to help with communication.  You’ll find shops online that sell allergy cards for just about every allergy and language, or you can make and laminate your own.  Just make sure that you bring multiple copies – in case one gets lost during your travels.

Pack safe foods

Make sure you also bring some safe foods, like granola bars or crackers, just in case you can’t find safe food on the go.

Trust yourself

On our recent trip to Quebec City, I gave our server the allergy cards and she explained that they didn’t have any nuts in the restaurant. But when we got the kids’ dessert menu, the crepe was described as being covered in “choco-hazel”. Assuming that was hazelnut Nutella, we had our daughter order strawberry instead. When my son got the choco-hazel, sure enough, it was hazelnut.

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