Traveling with Food Allergies

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Food allergies can be troublesome even when you’re in a place you know well. If you’re traveling, especially in a place where you don’t speak the language, they can cast a pall over your trip. But having food allergies, even serious ones, shouldn’t keep you from exploring the world. Here are a few steps you can take to prepare for your trip.

– Take time to get ready mentally. New cultures can be overwhelming even when you don’t have to ask specific questions about the food or make special requests during meals. Before you leave, visualize potential problems and the ways you can deal with them. Talk about your concerns with your travel companions. And learn as much as you can about the food and culture of the place you’re going to visit.

– See your doctor before you go. In addition to helping you figure out any tweaks to your medication and writing you prescriptions, your doctor should be able to provide you with a letter describing your allergies and the purpose of your medications. Bringing that letter with you may help you at security checkpoints where the personnel are unfamiliar with food allergies. Your doctor can also help you plan for food emergencies.

– Bring your medication in your carry-on. Checked luggage can be lost or exposed to conditions that might degrade your medicine. It’s better to have to explain your meds at security than to be left without them.

– Consider preparing your own food. Shopping at a grocery store is a great way to experience local culture and save money, and if you control your food preparation, you can be sure to use ingredients that won’t cause you problems. An electronic translator can help you figure out the names of any items you don’t recognize.

– Bring familiar snacks. From time to time, you may end up having trouble finding food you can eat, but that doesn’t need to ruin your trip. Carry a supply of travel-friendly foods you know you can eat to make sure you’ve always got something to snack on.

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