When you’re traveling with family members who have food allergies, a successful allergy-free vacation is dependent on many factors, including the destination you choose. Obviously, many considerations go into choosing a vacation destination, such as budget and interests, but you will also want to choose a location where it’s easier to stay allergy-safe. Start with these questions:
What language do they speak?
Wherever you are served food, you need to be able to communicate effectively about your family’s food allergies and explain about cross-contact, if relevant. It’s easiest if you are in a country where the native language is the same as yours, but you can also travel to other destinations if you can find people who speak English well enough. If you are concerned that you will not be understood properly, take an allergy card in the native language along with you and present it at hotels and restaurants.
Can you stay in an apartment?
Staying in an apartment instead of a hotel can make staying safe a simpler process. You can properly clean and sterilize when you arrive and check ingredients on food you cook. You can even bring some of the food from home, so you don’t have to read too many foreign labels. This does make for a less relaxing vacation, but if a hotel would be too stressful, this is a good solution.
Is the destination allergy-friendly?
Some countries are known to be more allergy-friendly in general and some may be more friendly to your particular allergies. Do some research into the cuisine served in the locations you are considering and avoid countries where your allergen is widely used, especially if it’s hidden in other foods. Disney World is a destination which is particularly allergy-friendly, with allergy-free menu options, thorough staff training and strict restaurant protocols.
How far away is the destination?
Flights can be difficult with food allergies, especially if they are airborne. Consider whether you might be better off taking a road trip instead of flying. If you do choose to fly, a shorter flight will be less stressful than a long one. Confirm and reconfirm your allergy-free airline meals and bring lots of snacks to get through the flight. Or better yet, bring your own meals, in accordance with airline regulations. And don’t forget to carry medications in case of an allergic reaction.
Do you have support in this destination?
It’s a vacation, so you’ll want to be able to relax and let someone else do the worrying for a change. At Food Allergy Concierge, we offer a variety of services which take the burden of food preparation off your hands. We can help you plan an itinerary that takes your food allergies into account. We can make your restaurant reservations and ensure that kitchen staff understands exactly what needs to be done. We can come to your hotel and restaurant (anywhere in the world) and supervise food prep to ensure that cross-contact is avoided. We will even provide medical supervision for more exotic locations.