Travelling with food allergies can feel risky to some, but with some careful planning and research anything is achievable.
Here are the 10 things to consider when planning a vacation with food allergies:
1. Organize Your Medication
If you only have the chance to do one thing on this list, this is it. Get your medicine and documentation organized!
- Double check the expiry dates on your Epipens to ensure they will not expire while you are on vacation. Plan to bring two or more Epipens with you and bring travel sized Benadryl and any other medications you require. Ensure they are the right size for the liquid allowance in your hand carry.
- Consider bringing extra medications with you in different bags, in case one luggage goes missing.
- Get a doctor’s note confirming your allergies with details about your condition, such as your requirement to have access to emergency medications like epinephrine or inhalers, and that you need to bring your own food. Make sure the note states that you are in good health and fit to fly, and contains contact information for your doctor. This letter may come in handy if you are challenged when entering the airport or at customs.
2. If Possible, Select an Allergy-Aware Airline
If travelling by air, select an airline with allergy-friendly policies that can help make travelling with food allergies safer and less stressful. Ideally an airline will allow you to board early to wipe down your seating area, make an announcement to all passengers alerting them that someone with a life threatening food allergy is on board, and will alter their snack selection or create a buffer zone if you have an airborne nut or animal fur allergy. Allergic Living Magazine’s Airline Comparison Chart lists the allergy policies across the 13 major air carriers in North America.
Make sure to notify the airline of your allergy at least 2 weeks before you travel. Call back again to make sure it is noted in your file at least 48 hours before you travel.
3. Purchase Travel insurance
Purchasing travel insurance for food allergies requires some research. Every insurance company has different policies on pre-existing conditions, stabilization periods and disclosure requirements, and you need to make sure you select an insurance policy that will cover you in case of any emergencies. Get some recommendations from other families living with food allergies in your area, and then arm yourself with a list of questions for insurance companies or brokers.