Karen Clark recently traveled to Italy with her two children, Ryan, 10, and Megan, 13, who have food allergies. The international trip was one of several the family has taken to make sure that allergies don’t limit their lives and to teach Megan and Ryan how to travel safely and intelligently. Here are her helpful hints:
- Create allergy cards which clearly and coherently explain your family’s food allergies. Karen presented her cards at every restaurant, grocery store hotel and food vendor. She found online sites which specialize in translation to be more effective than Google.
- Contact your chosen vendors (from airlines to hotels) in advance about your family’s food allergies. Depending on the food and severity, the airline may create a safe zone. Karen says: “I also remind the hotels when we arrive and when we are ordering our meals there.”
- Bring or order special airplane food in advance. Don’t assume something will be safe.
- Bring a bag of nonperishable “safe snacks” from home. These might include crackers, cereal or granola bars.
- Pack extra EpiPens and Benedryl (“I keep one set in my carry-on, one in my suitcase and one in my daughter’s suitcase”). Make sure you always have access to lifesaving medicine as well as your airline letter and food allergy action plan.