April 23, 2014

6 Smart Strategies for Traveling with Food Allergies

Food allergies can be tricky enough from day to day in your own environment, but actually traveling with food allergies is another kettle of shellfish altogether.† If youíre looking to make your family road trips smoother, or simply have more strategies in your own travel repertoire, then this article is for you.

Smartphone Strategy:

At Redlaser.com, you can download a free smartphone app that performs allergen ingredient checks for things like wheat and peanuts by scanning the barcode of a particular grocery item. This is perfect for those who will be staying at a vacation property with kitchen facilities, or who simply want to manage meal costs for their vacation by utilizing grocery stores instead of fast-food restaurants. If you pride yourself on always having the best family travel apps loaded into your mobile phone, youíll want to make sure you have this one too. Even if your child doesnít have food allergies, the friend you let them bring along on the campout might. Red Laser will help relieve the stress of finding appropriate food items.

Restaurant Tips:

For Stateside restaurant outings, check out AllerDine.com. Site visitors can filter on various food allergens and search by city to locate restaurants able to handle their needs. Additionally, researching a particular restaurantís menu ahead of time, and calling outside of rush hour to see if they can accommodate your needs is a good place to start. Peanutallergykid.com also has informational resources on dining out with food allergies.

When you will be traveling to a country where a language other than your own is used, AllergyFreePassport.com offers free printable translation cards for food allergies. Various languages are provided, including French, Arabic and others. Keep your printed document from getting tattered on the road by using a page protector as a travel hack. It doesnít hurt to print out a few extra to have in your suitcase, either.

Family Barbecues:

If you are heading to Aunt Myrtleís for a family barbecue and food allergies require you to skip certain spices, then purchasing a set of Grill Charms is an affordable way to go. They can be pressed into your grilled item of choice to help the cook keep things straight, and take up minimal room in your purse or daypack. As grilling gifts go, these are also affordable enough to purchase as tuck-ins for holiday packages. If your allergies are severe enough however, you may want to bring along a roll of aluminum foil. There are many fun foil packet recipes appropriate for family barbecues Ė such as this one for Polynesian foil packets Ė so using this strategy to work around food allergies is a seamless way to blend in.

Bring Baby Wipes:

When it comes to on-the-fly decontamination in a new location, baby wipes can be food allergy momís best friend. Use them to wipe down tables and seats in public parks for a family picnic, or in the food court of a mall. Hotels have usually been sanitized, but the breakfast buffet can still be a combat zone. Other families may have gone a little heavy on the peanut butter bagels and when things get busy, chances are the hotel staff wonít have a chance to get to every single table between diners. Having a travel pack of baby wipes will help protect you and the kiddos from allergy-related travel food disasters. If you travel frequently, then you may want to consider putting them on your bulk shopping list.

Flying with Food Allergies:

Bring a few twin-sized sheets. One to cover the seat of the person with food allergies, and two more for the seats on either side of it. Wipe down the backs of the seats in front of you, along with the tray tables, using baby wipes. Further, let the stewardess know if there are any snacks you wonít be able to accept, and contact the airline ahead of time to request special meals if you need them. Many travelers donít know you can do this by simply asking.

Communication:

There are many new products on the market these days in addition to the standard Medical Alert bracelets, which can look a bit dated. Options include food allergy zipper pulls for hoodies and backpacks, shoe charms for toddler sneakers and sew-on patches for EpiPen carrying cases and sports gear bags.

Backup Food:

Bringing additional food and snacks with you is a smart idea that will help prevent meltdowns when either you or the kiddos get hungry. The roasted chick peas tip in my recent road trip snacks article was designed with nut allergy issues in mind. Other strategies involve allergy-free baking techniques, and shipping some convenience items ahead to your hotel. That way, if the restaurant scene becomes too difficult and the grocery store is eight miles away, youíll have something there to ward off hunger pains.

Any family already dealing with food allergies will likely be aware of the need for an EpiPen to be carried to school, sporting events and sleepovers. These additional tips are for those who may have previously thought traveling with food allergies was impossible. It is in fact quite possible, as long as you take steps to communicate and prepare ahead of time. Do you or a family member suffer from food allergies? What are your favorite travel tips for dealing with the situation?

Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links for products I have located and believe to be of benefit to you, the reader.

Comments

  1. Katie Mayer says:

    Thanks for mentioning our company with our free translation cards! Just wanted you to know that we also have 5 iPhone/iPad apps that help people out in restaurants throughout the US and across the globe. Visit our website for more information about them – thanks again!

  2. webmaster says:

    Hi Katie,

    Thanks for the follow up. I don’t think I caught the fact that you guys had apps. So . . . yay!!

Speak Your Mind

*