Food allergies can make traveling a challenge, but they certainly don’t have to make it impossible. The following tips for advance planning and preparation can help travelers with allergies to stay safe and healthy while making the most of their trip.
Be a card-carrying traveler.
Allergy translation cards, also called “chef” cards, can be extremely helpful if you’re traveling in a country where you don’t speak the local language. Many websites these days allow you to create personalized translation cards with an explanation of your allergies in the language of your destination. Simply print and pass them around when needed. It can also be helpful – particularly if your allergies are severe – to memorize the name of your allergy in the local language in case anything should happen to your card supply.
Do your research.
Before your trip, check out all the aspects of your destination that could have an impact on your allergies. You should try to find information about the local cuisine, places to buy your own food supplies, and restaurants or other establishments that cater to special diets. In addition, you should search for local hospitals, pharmacies, and doctors or other specialists who could help you in an emergency.
Bring food with you.
Depending on your destination and the kind of trip you’re planning, it’s a good idea to arrange accommodations with a kitchen or other cooking facilities so that you can bring (or purchase locally) and prepare your own meals. If this isn’t feasible, make sure you have some backup snacks like energy bars that can help fill you up in an emergency and give you time to find a suitable restaurant.
Try new foods, but use caution.
Sampling the local cuisine is one of the best parts of traveling, and it’s by no means out of bounds for people with allergies. Just be sure to try only one new thing at a time and to wait 24 hours before trying another new food. In case you have an allergic reaction, this will help you to better identify the cause.