All vacations require planning, but traveling safely with a life-threatening food allergy requires extra planning.
Here are nine vacation planning tips offered by Dr. Clifford Bassett, Director of Allergy & Asthma Care in New York.
- Work with a travel agent to find allergy accommodating airlines, hotels, and restaurants. Many travel agents are adept at helping those at risk for anaphylaxis because of the increased incidence of food allergies.
- You will have more control over food choice and preparation if you stay in places with a kitchen.
- Whatever your destination, study it well before leaving home. Know where you can find help and learn the best way to get emergency care. When going to a foreign country, make or purchase translation cards that will communicate your allergens to the locals.
- There are apps for nearly any situation, including traveling with a food allergy. For instance, My EpiPlan App has helpful videos, tips, and reminders for those vacationing with life-threatening allergies.
- Consider taking a road trip (car trip). It makes transporting special foods easy. Another option is shipping supplies to your destination.
- The allergic individual should wear a Medical ID. In a carry-on bag should be epinephrine auto-injectors in their original packaging with a note from your physician and a copy of your anaphylaxis action plan.
- Inform the airline personnel at the gate and on the plane about the food allergy.
- When exploring your travel destination, always have two epinephrine auto injectors plus your anaphylaxis action plan with you since accidental allergen exposure is a possibility.
- Before deciding on a restaurant, call ahead to find out if their food allergy accommodations suit your needs.
You can check an airline’s policy concerning customers with an allergy by going to the airline’s website. Or you can Google the airline’s name followed by “peanut allergy policy.”
Reading through the policy lets you know what the airline is willing to do for you and what they expect from you in the way of notification. You might even print out a copy of your chosen airline’s policy to carry with you.