Traveling with a food allergy can be challenging and frustrating but it can also be fun and adventures if you plan ahead and do your research ahead of time. Recently, I traveled South and truly with some interpretation. Five years ago when I was in Charleston, SC I wasn’t prepared and had not done enough research ahead of time so I existed most of the four days on my homemade granola bars. This time turned out better and so I share with you some tips for traveling.
Do Your Research– Being dairy free and a non-meat eater, I was of course nervous about travelling to Savannah, GA. But I wanted to see this city so I looked for Vegan restaurants. Googling “Vegan Restaurants in Savannah Ga” didn’t produce anything, although I did get a few hits for restaurants serving a vegetarian menu. Same result when I searched Trip Advisor. I also used Social Media, tweeting and posting on Facebook, to see if followers and friends had any recommendations. Sadly, I didn’t get any. However, it’s important to ask the question and search yourself so you know what to expect and how much of your own food to bring on the trip.
I easily made both items using hot water brewed in the hotel coffee pot. I also packed my homemade granola bars, bars from Enjoy Life Foods, and bags of nuts from Trader Joe’s also made the trip.
Book A Kitchen– No,not a private kitchen but a hotel room that has a kitchen. Usually this means getting a hotel suite which we did in Savannah, GA. Rooms at the Embassy Suites include a kitchen area complete with a refrigerator, microwave, coffee pot, sink. If you have a cooking spot you can always find the nearest Whole Foods or Trader Joes and get items that can be made in your room. This also cuts down on the expense of eating out for every meal. The Embassy Suites serves a full, complimentary breakfast and snacks and cocktails in the afternoon. I called ahead to discuss removing the feathers from my room (yes allergic to those) and spoke with a chef regarding the meals. Chef Drew and Chef Rochelle were extremely accommodating, making me fresh oatmeal in the morning and cutting fresh fruit in an area in the kitchen free from cross contamination. During the snack time they again provided fruit and Chef Drew also provided ideas for where to eat in Savannah.
Pack Your Meds -If you are flying, be sure to pack any meds , especially your Epi-Pen in your carry-on bag. Some airlines, like Southwest, allow people with food allergies, especially to peanuts, to pre-board in order to wipe down seats. It’s also a good idea to know where the nearest emergency room is in the area you are traveling in case the worst happens and you need to get there quickly.
Speak the Local Lingo – If you’re traveling overseas it’s important to know how to say a few key words or sentence in that language to describe your allergy. Google Translate is a fantastic tool for this. For example, in Italian, Sono allergico al latte means I am allergic to milk.
These are just a few, quick tips to help you plan your next vacation. No one wants to go on vacation and be sick or hungry but by planning ahead and doing your research you can have an enjoyable and memorable time.
What tips do you have traveling with a food allergy? Share in our comments section.