02 August 2014

Traveling with Severe Food Allergies

By: Christina Griffin 

First of all, I would like to thank Food Allergy Gal, Lara, for inviting me to be a guest writer for this article. I too am a Food Allergy Gal, with multiple food allergies.

I admit I have not traveled all over the world since my food allergies diagnosis in 2010 but I have acquired some skills in this area traveling both by car and plane.

As with anything related to food allergies like dining, socializing, school or work, you learn and learn quickly. So many things come into play when planning a trip across the world or across your state. Sometimes just thinking about it causes me to spontaneously nap! Although, it is very tiring and a lot of work to plan a trip, it’s worth it so you can be safe and have fun without much worry. I have a few tips that hopefully will help you in planning your next trip.

I have found the planning stage to be the most stressful. Asserting yourself is important here. Let all of your reservation agents know you have severe and life threatening food allergies. Here are some tips to help you in your planning stage.

Plan out restaurants you find that may be safe to eat at. Traveling in Europe or other countries, you can actually speak with your hotel to find accommodating restaurants. If you are traveling in the U.S. here is a fabulous resource.  www.allergyeats.com .

Find a safe and convenient place to rest your head and possibly cook your meals can be challenging. Be sure to tell them you are food allergic. You can request a refrigerator for your hotel room for medicine, as our food is medicine. If you tell them it’s for medicine most will provide one at no cost. Some accommodation ideas with kitchens:

Tip 1: When I am flying, I am sure to pack a crib sheet in my carry on, yes a baby crib sheet, it fits perfectly on the airplane seats as a cover.

Tip 2: I also pack moist wipes or baby wipes to wipe down surfaces like the arm rests and tables. And of course your hands before you eat.

Your medicine is just as important to pack on your carry on, be sure to have enough on hand for your flight and pack it all in a large Ziploc to go through security. Tip 3: Do not put your epi-pens through the scanners as it could lessen the effectiveness of them.

Food is very important when you have to fly and cannot eat the airplane meals.

  1. When you make your reservation, please tell the airline and your steward/ stewardess when you board, that you have food allergies.
  2.  Pack enough to get you through the wait at the airport plus the flight. Some suggestions of food to take are fruits and vegetables with dip, crackers, cheese sticks, pepperoni sticks, chips, hummus, cooked bacon, sun butter and jelly sandwich, cookies are just some ideas. 
Tip 4: Under ADA law (American with Disabilities Act), you can bring ice packs to keep food cold. If security gives you any trouble with this or your medicine make sure to tell them confidently, under ADA law you are to carry your medicine/ food and ask to speak to a supervisor. Usually that statement will stop them in their tracks and they will let you through without any further problems.

I hope some of these tips are useful to you all.  If you are traveling this year, be sure to be safe, speak up, but most of all have fun! Thank you again for having me as a guest on Food Allergy Gal. Happy traveling!

About the author: 

Christina is the author of the blog, Bubble Girl: Surviving Sjogren's and Food Allergies. She enjoys trips with her family, walks with her dogs, reading, writing and cooking.You can find Christina at  her blog www.bubblegirlhappily.blogspot.com and on Facebook as Bubble Girl

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  1. Great post :) Do you have more info about epi pens and scanners? That was a piece I didn't know about.

  2. https://www.epipen.com/have-a-plan/traveling (The makers of Epi post on this- but other articles have also stated that sending epi thru xray machines have made medication less effective.)

  3. I really appreciate this article. I have severe allergies and also a couple of my children do. We are planning a family vacation and so the tips in this article were very helpful for me and also for my children. http://www.oakbrookallergists.com/darien.asp

  4. For such ways i am sure we can get to have ideas that are helpful much and at the same time for me growing on those portions like east coast bus tours would help the most being a traveler on it takes care of the maximum.

  5. I can understand what types of care you will have to take while you travel to new places. A slight negligence can cause you extreme trouble and total spoilage of trip.
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