May 2, 2012

What’s up internet world? My name’s Gardner. I’m 21 years old, allergic to peanuts and tree nuts, and currently enrolled in an Ontario university.

In stereotypical university-style, my friends and I decided that we were going to go away for Reading Week, and we decided on a 5-star resort in Cuba.

Map of Cuba

Prior to leaving, especially with my allergies, I was concerned. I had never flown on a plane before or been to a country where English was not the primary language spoken, so I was naturally nervous. I got in contact with the resort, and found out that they often have families with allergies stay with them, and there were no peanuts or tree nuts on the resort. However, they couldn’t promise that the food wouldn’t have some traces in it, because food labeling standards are nowhere near as high as they are in Canada. After talking to them, I felt relieved, but still slightly nervous.

I did end up committing to the trip, even without their guarantee of safety. At this point, I must admit: that may not have been the safest idea. I took a risk, and I could have been more diligent before deciding whether or not to attend. However, when I got there, I did take steps to minimize the risk when it came to eating. For example, I tried to stick with simple foods, such as rice, corn, and pizza, and I didn’t eat desserts.

By taking steps to minimize risk, and with some luck, I made it through the week without incident. I had no issues getting my epinephrine auto-injector through airport security, no issues with food on the plane, and no issues in Cuba.

Looking back, I’m glad I went, because it allowed me to have one of the greatest weeks of my life, with some of my closest friends, and moments I’ll never forget. I highly recommend that anyone take a vacation like this – as long as they feel comfortable with the situation and take steps to minimize the risks. I guarantee, you won’t regret it!

Stay beautiful,


For more safe travel tips, explore the following resources:

Anaphylaxis Canada – Travel section

Food Allergy Awareness Month, tip of the day – When traveling with a group, make your  companions aware of your allergies. Tell them how they can help you stay safe and show them how to use your epinephrine auto-injector! Building awareness helps to create allergy safe communities. For more information about Food Allergy Awareness Month, visit www.whyriskit.ca.

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