Travelling Abroad with Food Allergies
Travelling can be stressful if you suffer from food allergies, but it doesn’t have to be. Taking the time to prepare can reduce the risk of allergic reactions and help ensure your trip is as safe as possible.
Peanuts and tree nuts are among the foods which are most likely to cause an allergic reaction. In severe cases, these reactions can be life-threatening.
Read our top tips for travelling with food allergies, so that you can enjoy your holiday from start to finish.
Having a food allergy doesn’t mean that all-inclusive resorts aren’t an option. As allergy awareness grows, more resorts are becoming allergy-friendly.
Ask your travel agent if they have any recommendations. Or, call the hotel you’re interested in to see if they can accommodate your requirements. Check if there are medical professionals on site, and find out the location of the nearest hospital.
Booking Your Flight
The thought of having an allergic reaction at 10,000 feet can be a worry, but there are things you and the airline can do to ensure a safe flying experience. It’s worth noting that the majority of airlines will require notice in advance to accommodate your needs effectively.
Reading the airline’s allergy policy is a great place to start. It can normally be found online, and it provides an outline of how they can cater for your food allergy.
If you have a severe nut allergy, try to opt for an airline that doesn’t serve food containing nuts or nut traces. However, most airlines cannot guarantee there will be no exposure to nuts during your flight.
The airline may be able to organise a buffer zone around your seating area. This ensures no-one in your vicinity will have access to nut based snacks / meals. The airline may also suspend the sale of nuts and make an announcement to passengers requesting they don’t consume nuts during the flight.
When booking your flight, tell the travel agent or airline about your allergies. Mention your allergy again when you check-in, to ensure that the airline will meet your needs.
Early morning flights can be worth getting out of bed for. Planes are often cleaned at the end of each day, so the seats will be free of any food waste and packaging from previous flights.
Ask the airline staff at the gate whether it’s possible to board the plane early, or purchase priority boarding. Being one of the first on-board will give you time to inspect your seat for any leftover food, without any hassle from other passengers.
Take a pack of anti-bacterial wipes in your hand luggage; before you sit down clean your seat, armrests and tray to be extra-safe.
Discuss your allergy with the cabin crew. Making sure they know your dietary requirements will help them to accommodate your needs.
This goes without saying – don’t take any risks when it comes to plane food! If there’s the slightest chance that your meal could contain the food you’re allergic to, avoid it. Instead, why not pack allergy-free snacks in your hand luggage?
When You Arrive
When you arrive at the hotel, inform the reception staff about your allergies and requirements, so they are aware of your needs.
Treat restaurants like you would at home. Ask about the meal, how they prepare it and make your allergies clear. You should do this every time you eat out – even if you visit the same place multiple times.
Plan how you will communicate this information before you leave the UK. You could prepare information about your allergy in the local language, along with a list of ingredients you can’t eat.
If you have allergies, it’s likely you carry antihistamines, and in severe cases, an EpiPen. When you’re on holiday, you should continue using them as normal. You should also carry your medication on your person at all times.
Whatever you do, avoid taking a precautionary antihistamines before your flight, as they could prevent you feeling an oncoming allergic reaction.
To carry an EpiPen you need a letter from your GP detailing your prescription and why it needs to be carried in your hand luggage. Make sure you arrange this a few weeks before your holiday.
It’s important you store your EpiPen correctly while you’re abroad. Here are the dos and don’ts:
- Take at least two kits with you
- Make sure they’re packed in your hand luggage
- Check the EpiPen hasn’t passed its expiry date
- Store your EpiPen in the overhead locker during the flight. Keep it on your person
- Store the EpiPen in direct sunlight
- Keep the EpiPen in the refrigerator
Storing your EpiPen in a carry case will keep it safe and accessible. Our cases can be carried in a number of ways, including on your belt. There is also a clear pocket on the back of the case to display your allergy information.
Medical ID Jewellery
Enjoy peace of mind when you’re away from home with medical ID jewellery. It can be used to effectively display your allergy, along with the medication you use. This allows medical professionals to identify your condition and administer the correct remedy in an emergency.
Check out our range of stylish jewellery that can be engraved to show your allergy information.
The information in our blog articles is for personal use only and not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment plans. We are not medical health practitioners or mental health providers. If you’re worried about a potential medical condition, contact your GP or call an ambulance in an emergency situation.