Food allergies can be difficult to handle on any regular day, which means that you may think that traveling with food allergies will be downright impossible. However, I am here to tell you that you can easily take your child, who has food allergies, on vacation anywhere in the world without continuously worrying about a horrendous outcome.
Here are 8 tips on how you can travel safely with a child with food allergies:
1. Always Have an EpiPen with You
As a parent of a child with food allergies, you probably carry an EpiPen with you wherever you go. However, when you are at home, you have the backup option of having a medical facility close by just in case. When you are traveling, you may not have that sense of security, which means you need to check your EpiPens and have backups when you are away from home.
I recommend checking the expiration dates on your EpiPens prior to leaving for vacation. It is best to have the expiration date be at least six months in the future, to ensure that they are going to be effective during an emergency. You should also carry a minimum of two EpiPens with you, although more may be necessary if you are going to be away from home for a longer period of time.
2. Obtain an Emergency Care Plan from Your Child’s Doctor
Your child’s doctor knows them best and they know exactly what should be done if your child has an allergic reaction to something that they eat. Therefore, you should obtain an emergency care plan signed by the doctor to take with you when you are traveling.
You can then show this care plan to a doctor or medical facility in your destination, if your child happens to have a medical emergency. This plan will save precious seconds, as the medical professionals will not need to figure out what will work best.
3. Always Know Where the Closest Medical Facilities are Located
You will be doing a lot of research for your trip, but make sure you take the time to check to see where the closest medical facilities are located too.
This will ensure that you are not scrambling in the middle of an emergency to see where you need to go to get some assistance.
4. Choose Your Destination Carefully
You may want to see so many different areas of the world, but if you do not speak the language, and the locals do not speak your language well, you may have a problem. Food allergy information can get lost in translation if you and the person you are speaking to do not speak the same language.
To avoid this issue, you may want to stick to destinations where you know you can easily communicate with those you are purchasing food from. If you do choose a destination where you do not speak the language, I recommend purchasing a food allergy card to take with you. These cards are available in many different languages and will allow others to read the important information that you need them to be aware of.
5. Pack Lots of Wipes
Since others are not going to be aware of your child’s allergy, and you cannot guarantee what was eaten in a chair or at a table you are all going to be sitting at, you need a way to remove any allergens.
Wipes will allow you to wipe any hard surface down, as well as your hands and your child’s hands. Most airplanes are thoroughly cleaned at night, so you may want to consider flying early in the morning. This will ensure the least amount of food allergens for your child to react to. Of course, you will still want to wipe everything down on the plane as a precaution.
6. Pack Snacks and Meals
Despite all the research that you may do on your destination, you may still end up at a restaurant that does not have the necessary safety measures in place for those with food allergies. If you are ever unsure of the safety of the food for your child, the snacks and meals that you bring from home can come in really handy.
These snacks will be mostly appreciated on the airplane, where peanuts have long been the norm when snacks and drinks are being served. I also recommend letting the flight crew know of any allergies that your child has, so that they can avoid serving those items.
7. Reserve a Room at a Hotel that Has a Refrigerator and Microwave
One of the easiest ways to ensure that your child doesn’t have an adverse reaction to something that they have eaten is to prepare all their food for them. This will take a lot of advance planning on your part but will be well worth the peace of mind you have when you are traveling.
If you want to prepare meals for your entire family, you may want to consider renting an apartment or house for your vacation, as that will give you access to a full kitchen.
8. Inspect the Hotel Room or Apartment You are Staying In
Yes, hotel rooms and apartments are cleaned in between guests, but you never know what may be missed during those quick cleanings. There could be food laying on the floor or food residue on countertops or dishes. If there is any doubt in your mind, do your own clean up after your arrival.
You will never need to do staycations or skip vacations altogether, simply because your child has food allergies! As long as you use the proper precautions, and follow the tips listed above, you can easily travel the world and have adventures of a lifetime.
I recommend planning a trip not too far from home for your first adventure and once you have seen the success that you can have, begin to venture further and further away from home. You will be surprised at how soon you will find yourself halfway around the world even though you have a child with a food allergy.