Are you ready for Spring Break holidays? If you are travelling and have food allergies, here are some tips to make sure you have a safe and relaxing vacation.
Inspect your gear
Get out your auto-injector and asthma medications and check to see that they are up to date. (EpiPen offers a free service that sends a notification when you are due for a new one). If you have asthma, check your medications to see how much is left and whether you have refills ready.
Reminder: always carry your gear with you in your carry-on luggage, never check it. The cold air in checked luggage can ruin an autoinjector.
Depending on your allergies, you may be packing a meal or snacks as well. Assume that there could be delays in your travel and pack enough food or drink to get you through.
Know your surroundings
Make sure you understand the language, culture and health care system of the place you are visiting. Contact the hotel or your AirBnb to find out about the location, as well as services you may need (grocery stores, allergy-friendly restaurants, etc).
Purchase travel insurance whenever possible, and be prepared for an emergency. Find out whether your destination has 9-11 service and how to access health care if you need it.
Find out which restaurants are in the area and learn about their allergy policies. Apps such as AllergyEats and YoDish can help. Many restaurants also include allergy info on their websites, or you can phone ahead. Facebook also has travel groups for people with allergies, where travelers can share recommendations.
Visit our Dining Out page to learn more about eating out safely.
If you’re cooking in a suite with a kitchen, you may want to bring some of your own cookware or utensils. “We bring our own pan, spatula and a few other things,” says Anne King, whose son has multiple food allergies. “It’s different for everyone but that’s what works for us.”
If you’re staying in a standard hotel room without kitchen, bring a hot plate to cook your own meals. Many rooms include a microwave and fridge (ask ahead). Food allergy musician Kyle Dine used this strategy as he traveled across China last year. Check out his blog for more on the trip and his travel strategies.
A note on air travel
There can be a big difference between airlines in terms of their food allergy policies. Some companies offer buffer rows or make announcements asking passengers not to eat peanuts: others don’t. Phone ahead, preferably before you reserve a flight, to find out their policies.
For more info on flying with allergies, and travelling in general, visit our Travel webpage.
From all of us at Food Allergy Canada, have a great spring break!
- Food Allergy Canada’s Travel webpage
- Traveling with children (from our Newly Diagnosed Support Centre)
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