Now that international travel is back on the cards for many of us, more and more of us are booking those exotic and sunny getaways that we’ve been dreaming of for so long. However, travelling when either you or a family member has a food allergy can be worrying and brings its own set of challenges.
If a food allergy means that you have to be cautious of certain triggers that could affect your allergies on a daily basis, then, of course, you should be a little more careful, but by planning ahead you can still enjoy travelling and holidays abroad, even trying local cuisines and dishes. With that in mind, here are some top tips on how you can still enjoy sampling local delicacies whilst travelling, even with a food allergy.
Peanut Allergy? Inform Your Airline In Advance
For many food allergy sufferers, peanuts are often top of the list in terms of what could cause the most harm. Travelling with a peanut allergy brings with it its own set of worries and flying is a much more contentious issue that those without a peanut allergy don’t quite realise.
Whilst in-flight emergencies are, fortunately, rare, they do happen and around 9% of peanut allergy sufferers have reported some kind of reaction whilst flying. Because of this, it is well worth reaching out to your airline a couple of weeks in advance and informing them of your allergy so that they can make the right arrangements for themselves and other passengers.
Research The Dishes Of The Country You Are Visiting
Every country in the world is different and has its own idea of what national cuisine should be. Some countries don’t tend to use peanuts in their dishes, so you can be relatively safe eating out. Other countries don’t rely on gluten-heavy foods in their cooking. Getting to know what kinds of dishes the country you are visiting is synonymous with beforehand means you can better prepare and know what to avoid.
The best way to experience the country where you are travelling to is through their food and you can learn a lot about cultures with the different smells and tastes. Those with food allergies are fine-tuned to know what to steer clear of, for example those with peanut allergies know to avoid most Asian dishes, whilst those with a dairy allergy know to avoid Indian dishes and most desserts. As long are you are careful, you should still be able to eat out and enjoy local dishes whilst travelling.
Take Snacks With You
Sometimes, it’s easier to just play it safe and take some of your favourite allergen-free snacks with you whilst travelling. Having some snacks to hand can help curb hunger on those days where you might struggle to get something allergen-free for a couple of hours, or if you’re just fancy a snack in your room or accommodation!
Most airlines allow you to take sealed foods with you in both your hand luggage and hold luggage, so consider packing light snacks such as crisps and crackers when you need an afternoon snack (you can pair these with local allergen-free delicacies, such as dips or spreads). A lot of food allergy sufferers find that they struggle with sweet treats, so pack your favourite sweet foods and snacks, such as pre-packaged bakery products or a biscuit selection to enjoy after dinner time.
Remember, travelling with a food allergy doesn’t need to be a scary experience. Doing some preparation beforehand can help you massively and talking with your holiday provider or host about your allergies can help to get rid of any concerns you might have. Be sure to pack plenty of medication so that, if the worst-case scenario was to happen, you are prepared.