Travelling with family members who have food allergies, especially children, can be stressful. Even a simple day trip takes planning when you’d prefer not to stop at a restaurant or roadside snack bar for a bite. But fear not! There are ways to reduce both the risk and the stress. Here are a few tips:
1. Use a checklist while packing. Even if long lists and checkboxes aren’t usually your style, they’re a good practice when travelling with food allergies. EpiPens and allergy-safe snacks to eat in the car simply cannot be left behind, so be like Santa: Make a list and check it twice. Maybe three times. If you prefer digital to paper, get a smartphone app for lists, like Google Keep, Asana, or Todoist.
2. If possible, travel in your own car. It’s much easier to control the food and allergen environment in your own vehicle than in someone else’s. You can feel assured that your car is allergy-friendly. For example, if your child has a milk allergy, you don’t have to worry that someone has spilled a milkshake on the upholstery.
If you plan to rent a car, make sure that it is clean, including any car seats.
3. Prepare and pack full meals. Since you’ll only be eating what you bring with you, make sure there’s enough for everyone. It’s better to pack too much than too little, and coolers/ice packs are the family’s best friends.
4. Make sure your GPS is fully charged. If you’re going to an unfamiliar area, make sure your GPS is charged and working properly, and know where the local medical facilities are located just in case you need them.