Thursday, May 21, 2009

Traveling with Food Allergies

Dealing with food allergies can be challenging enough on your home turf, whether it's going out to a local restaurant, eating at a friend’s house, or even cooking in your own kitchen, but it's here in this "comfort zone" that you have the most control. Unfortunately when we travel, be it the next state, across the country, or abroad, our level of control drops with each respectively, each presenting their own unique challenges.

The easiest of the three to deal with is a trip to your neighboring state. Most likely a trip such as this is traveled by automobile, allowing you to pack most if not all the core foods you will need to ensure an allergy free mealtime experience.

Traveling across country on the other hand can be a bit trickier. Usually these types of trips are traveled by plane or train, significantly restricting what you are able to pack. And depending on where it is you are visiting, for instance a small town verses say Las Vegas, your dining out experience can be more or less accommodating.

Finally the most difficult of the traveling experiences is traveling abroad. Nothing complicates mealtime more than a language barrier, when it comes to food allergy awareness. I experienced this on my honeymoon. The trip was wonderful, the hotel was amazing (5 restaurants on site), but the language barrier did make for some stressful dining experiences.

For either of the last two situations, I suggest taking advantage of the "checked bag". Most airlines allow you one carry-on and one checked bag with the checked bag giving you a little more leeway as far as what can be packed. So if you have the room, pack a few of your favorites (the travel friendly ones of course), it could help you with filling some of the in-between meals and or snacks. When it comes to dining out, whether it’s an environment like Las Vegas where the restaurants lacks that owner/head-chef customer relationship, or a resort in another country where language is the issue the best thing you can do is make it a point to meet with the chef in charge of the hotel/casino/resort and fill him or her in on your allergy situation. I did this when I went to Mexico and it definitely helped. Another option is the buffets, there's usually fruit, vegetable, and salad you can safely consume without having to worry about contamination from other ingredients.

So if you’re traveling be smart, do your homework, and be prepared...oh and have fun!

1 comment:

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