Any time you plan a trip, it is important to do your due diligence and research the destination ahead of time in order to facilitate planning your trip. That means figuring out where you are going to stay, the places you want to visit, and the local culture. If you’re traveling with an allergy, it is especially important to do research ahead of time in order to make sure you can safely travel to your desired destination. While it can sometimes be intimidating to travel with an allergy, especially if it’s a life-threatening one, there are plenty of precautions you can take in order to allow you to travel without having to worry too much.
Do Your Research
Before heading to a certain destination, you need to make sure that you’ll have a plan of action ready. Look up what the local cuisine is and make sure you’ll have options. Locate medical facilities around the area that you plan on visiting, and make sure you’re familiar with how the process of getting medical care works so that you can be prepared just in case.
Prepare a “chef card,” which is a prepared note that tells a chef exactly what your food allergies are and how serious they are, that way alterations and substitutions can be made while preparing your food. If the place you are visiting is not English-friendly, make sure to prepare a translation so that you won’t have any issues with communication. Most establishments will appreciate the card, especially if everything is written out so there are no miscommunications about the allergen information along the way.
Pack And Buy Smart
When it comes to booking accommodations, if you can, try to book with American brands of hotels so you can easily communicate. An alternative is booking an Airbnb so that you’re in control of any food that comes into your apartment. Before you travel, make sure to pack snacks that are safe just in case you find yourself somewhere without any safe options. Make sure to locate a nearby supermarket where you can stock up on fresh food options that are safe.
Another important item to bring with you is a small supply of epinephrine auto-injectors, having at least two is recommended, which are there in case you need to slow down and reverse the effects of a severe allergic reaction. However, since these are certainly not a replacement for emergency care, you’ll still need to seek immediate medical attention. They are good to have in order to buy yourself more time though. Make sure you bring antihistamines and copies of your prescriptions so that you won’t have extra issues to deal with in case you need to buy more of your medications.
Use Your Smartphone
Gone are the days where you had to rely on just a dictionary in order to communicate with people while traveling abroad. Now you can use translation apps like Google Translate in order to communicate, especially when you have critical information to share like your potentially life-risking allergies. In addition to a chef card, you can be armed with your phone in order to communicate how important it is to avoid certain foods while ordering.
If you get to a restaurant and you feel like you don’t have a safe option, just Google a local market and make yourself a nice picnic. That way you can still take in the local scenery while enjoying a meal that you know is safe for you to consume. You can also eat ahead at your Airbnb in order to avoid having to eat out if you’re not sure you will have any options when you’re out and about.
Don’t Sweat It
Living with severe allergies is not simple, but most people with these allergies are already used to it. However, that doesn’t mean that people with severe allergies don’t feel like they are always a nuisance or inconvenience to others. It’s important to know that it isn’t your fault and that you shouldn’t feel guilty about this. Yes, it will take others a bit more time to make sure your food is prepared safely, but that shouldn’t make you feel bad. You don’t have a choice, and your safety is important. Having a plan, packing safe foods ahead of time, and having an explanation like a chef card ready to go should help ease things, so try not to worry too much and instead focus on enjoying your vacation.