Traveling with kids is one thing, and then add in the dynamic of traveling with a child who has multiple severe food allergies and you pretty much can consider a stress-free vacation good bye unless of course you pre-plan and organize food, food dining locations and stores that might offer items he can eat.
My youngest son has severe and life-threatening food allergies. In fact, my son is allergic to so many different foods that the list of what he can eat is shorter than the list of what he can’t eat. Once we find an establishment that can service our family, we frequent it, but we still use caution when dining there as we always check and re-check his food options with the Manager on Duty.
Travel is all about being prepared ahead of the journey and having food allergies just adds in a few additional steps. Here’s how to travel with food allergies so that anyone in your group can enjoy a fun vacation and lavishly live travel out loud.
How To Travel With Food Allergies
The above bag can be seen with our son, everywhere he travels and if he forgets it we turn around and NEVER leave without it, because we can’t. The bag is his lifeline and his tool bag in case of an incident. A simple food allergen attack could potentially threaten the life of our child, so we are prepared for what I consider BATTLE.
How Do You Work Around Food Allergies When You Travel?
Don’t cancel your trip and don’t let fear take over. If we can travel with food allergies and many other tactile allergies you can too! Food allergies are horrible, and they really do snap a bit wind out of the sail initially, but once you conquer the mountain the first time, it is nothing more than a small hurdle the next. We have learned how to travel with food allergies over the last few years and while it is a lot of pre-planning, you can kick back and relax a bit once you get organized.
I guess the biggest thing I can tell you from all my experience with food allergies is that you ever, ever can let your guard down, and that I am always reading labels and worrying, but I do have a relaxed mode of worry. Our travels to Disney, Universal Orlando, Virginia, Ohio, Mexico, Cozumel, on Carnival Cruise and so many other places help us prepare for each future trip, as we add a few more things to the list to avoid.
How To Travel With Food Allergies – Organization
First of all, the organization is key when you are trying to figure out how to travel with food allergies. You have to keep your life-saving medicines with you at all times. So, how did we prepare for our cruise as we were headed out of the country? We made a list of all the possible things that could go wrong with our son’s health, things that have already gone wrong were first on the list, and then we thought of all the other possible scenarios., I stress out ahead of time and then I let the stress go a bit, knowing I can handle the situation because I organized ahead of time. The list is how we decide what needs to be packed. Please remember, our child sees a specialist regularly because of the extent of his food allergies, tactile
I stress out ahead of time and then I let the stress go a bit, knowing I can handle the situation because I organized ahead of time. The list is how we decide what needs to be packed. Please remember, our child sees a specialist regularly because of the extent of his food allergies, tactile allergies, and overall health, so it is not like we just have medicine prescribed, there are real reasons, real scenarios, and real incidents that have happened to us along the way so we now plan for as much as we can.
Bees & bee products like honey are all a no-no
Nuts – all
Fish (no touching animals like Sea Lions that have come in contact with fish, etc)
Seafood – none at all — and we watch salad dressings as well to make sure that no Seafood is in them.
Latex – no fruits like bananas, kiwis, pineapple, etc can be consumed
Drinks – keep water in a bottle at all times as many drinks have PEAR in them and that would kill him .
My List Procedure
We made a list of all the possible things that could go wrong with our son’s health, things that have already gone wrong were first on the list, and then we thought of all the other possible scenarios. See, I stress out ahead of time and then I let the stress go a bit, knowing I can handle the situation because I organized ahead of time.
The list is how we decide what needs to be packed. Please remember, our child sees a specialist regularly because of the extent of his food allergies, tactile allergies, and overall health, so it is not like we just have medicine prescribed, there are real reasons, real scenarios, and real incidents that have happened to us along the way so we now plan for as much as we can.
Packing a Medical Bag and How To Travel With Allergies
We pack Benadryl, Zofran, Steroids, Inhalers, Advil, Latex Free Bandages, and Epi-Pens. Each has its own use in our home, and everyone uses these for different reasons. Our overview looks like this:
Zofran is for any food or tactile item that he came into contact with, that creates his ear lobes, cheeks, and lips to begin swelling, which always leads to unforgiving nausea, via basic meds, thus the Zofran. This is a prescribed Medicine and is only used in emergency situations, which do tend to crop up, even when we are home and not on vacation.
Next is Benadryl. Benadryl has multiple uses for our child. When it is not an anaphylactic shock, and it is a reaction that contains itching, or simple swelling, we use Benadryl – again this varies for everyone and every type of allergy.
Steroids- these were prescribed ahead of time in the case of latex poisoning, which leads to stomach cramping and severe asthmatic coughing. The Steroids tend to take the inflammation away, and then his health moves back to normal a bit quicker.
Epi Pens are with us at all points in time, because we can not control every scenario even though I plan and try, things happen, that are beyond our control, or food service people do not listen and make mistakes, even after you speak with them one-on-one.
Latex Free Bandages- These are with us at all points in time because not all bandages are latex free and when you have a latex allergy that would just add salt to a wound, so to speak.
I have a little check off list I keep on my phone, and it has everything we need on it from the Dr.’s Number to what meds to take for what reaction, just in case I lose my cool because I see my child suffering(a natural mom tendency, because I am hardly Grace Under Pressure!)
How To Travel With Food Allergies & Dining Out
Dining out is the largest risk factor we take when we are on a vacation. Carnival Cruise Lines was exceptional at helping us plan my son’s meals out daily before and during the trip. We filled out detailed paperwork, checking off items that he was allergic too, and forwarded it back to our Cruise Ship. It is that easy. Once on the
Once on the Carnival Sunshine ship, we ate the first meal in the Restaurant and our Server talked with us about all the food allergies and then provided us a menu every night that he could choose from for the next day. Our son’s food order was set to go a day ahead and we knew they were taking perfect care of him, so that was a HUGE obstacle cured.
Now we had a few places in Disney that we loved while we were traveling there. I will tell you this however, it was suggested that we did not visit the Animal Kingdom since the animals dine on peanuts, yet another allergen we battle daily.
Universal Orlando and The Hard Rock Hotel & Cafe were outstanding taking extra precautions to ensure our son would be fine as well as our Gluten Free Daughter. The head chef in Universal Orlando sent me a list of dedicated fryers(so he could eat fries) as well as where there were no nuts, shellfish, etc. used so he could dine in the park even with allergies, it was absolutely amazing and easy! We simply looked at the map and planned our day around where he could snack and eat and he was one very happy little boy.
Food Allergy Card
Download this card to communicate allergies to all restaurants and life flows easier.food-allergy-alert-card (1)
How To Travel With Food Allergies – Snacking
We have found it absolutely necessary to pack a bag of snacks with us that are known as the SAFE SNACK BAG, free of every known allergen to him. We pack foods that he eats while we are home, and foods that travel well, not always the easiest combination, but we make it work. When we are in a rush, we make sure that he has his foods and we don’t take any chances with new places.
The Old Standby’s
Just because we have eaten somewhere one time, and it was safe, does not mean we Assume that he can dine there again. We always, alert the manager and discuss his specific food allergies. We have been turned away from places that use latex gloves and are unwilling to accommodate and from other places that bring all their food in and can not tell you how it is prepared, we just stay away.
The best way to travel with food allergies is prepared! Organize and recognize that you have a huge responsibility and in order to have a fun trip, that everyone can enjoy you have to be prepared for whatever might be thrown at you. We make the list, we pack the bag, and we look at all the old situations that have happened in order to adequately prepare for possible future incidents. This is how to travel with food allergies, as we lavishly live life and travel out loud!
We make the list, we pack the bag, and we look at all the old situations that have happened in order to adequately prepare for possible future incidents. This is how to travel with food allergies, as we lavishly live life and travel out loud!
Please note I am not a Dr., nor providing medical advice, just providing an overview of how we travel and manage severe food allergies in our home. As always seek YOUR OWN Medical advice as this is just for use in our home but may be a springboard for you to speak with your Dr. About. Everyone has medications that they can and can not take, these are just what OUR Dr. has prescribed to help us manage severe food allergies.