Traveling With Food Allergies – Challenging But Not Impossible


Be Safe when Traveling with Food AllergiesTraveling when your child has allergies can be a scary proposition.  Each restaurant you enter is a potential threat to your child.  When you grab a snack, it is no longer an easy choice, you must carefully scan each label to make sure the product does not contain something that could cause your child to have a reaction.  For those of us who have children with allergies, this is the world we live in.  We can choose to be proactive, or we can stay at home and never leave again.  Believe me, in the beginning, I wanted to choose the latter.  It is a scary world out there for children with allergies, but after many hours of research and multiple discussions with doctors and other parents, I realized it was ok to take my child out into the world and let him taste it.

Here are some things we have learned about how to stay safe on the road when you have a child with food allergies:

  1. Before heading out of town, talk to your doctor and develop a plan.  What medicine should you take?  Do you need to travel with a prescription?  What should you do if your child has a reaction while traveling?

  2. Bring medications that you may need for an allergic reaction.  For us this includes Benadryl® and an EpiPen®.  Have each adult carry medicine with them at all times.

  3. Travel with a copy of your prescription.

  4. Bring some allergy free snacks and food to get you through the first couple of days or more.  We usually bring some bread and sunflower seed butter, cheese crackers, raisins.  Small food items that travel easily.

  5. If you are visiting a foreign country, bring allergy translating cards.  These will come in handy at restaurants or grocery stores, when you need to find out if a food is safe for your child to eat.  Be extra careful when scanning labels at the grocery store.  Not only are label standards different in other countries, but they may have different quality control procedures as well.

  6. Try to stay in hotels or apartments that have kitchens where you can prepare your own meals or at least have a small refrigerator where you can keep groceries on hand.

  7. Upon check in at your hotel or bed and breakfast, ask for the name and location of the nearest emergency clinic and/or doctor.  Also, ask for the emergency number in that country.  If possible, you should try to travel with a cell phone, just in case of emergency.

  8. You may also want to check with the airline regarding any food they may be serving on your flight. Many airlines will accommodate passengers with food allergies with an alternate allergy safe meal upon request.

  9. Bring hand wipes to clean surfaces where your child might be playing or eating such as airplane trays. You never know what the person before you had to eat or may have touched.

  10. Never assume. It only takes one mistake to end up in the hospital, so when in doubt, ask if the food item has the allergen you are concerned about, and if you don’t like the answer, ask someone else who knows the food is 100% safe.

Allergic Reaction

Don’t let this happen, be prepared!

Traveling with a child with allergies is certainly a challenge, but far from impossible. I will admit, there have been a couple of close calls along the way, but we have learned from our mistakes.  I have found that doing a little legwork ahead of time can make for a more enjoyable vacation in the long run.

*Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor.  My comments are based on my personal experience, and are not intended to constitute medical advice.  All allergies and individual sensitivities obviously differ so please be sure and consult your physician.

5 comments on “Traveling With Food Allergies – Challenging But Not Impossible

  1. I have a lot of food allergies, and that is difficult. But if either of my kids had them (which they thankfully don’t) I can only imagine how much harder it would be. Bless you for being so on top of things with your child. You have a lot of great tips there. 🙂

  2. Our family struggles with this as well. This is so well thought out and strategic! I appreciate the time you put into this!

  3. My child does not have food allergies, but we have children in out extended family who do and it is really great to see such a comprehensive list of to-do’s for us when we do have them around or when we go out on a trip together.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s