It's summertime, and you know what that means... vacation! While most vacationers concern themselves with where to go, what to see, and what to pack, the number one priority for those with food allergies/sensitivities is ensuring access to allergy free food. I know one of the things I most enjoy about going on vacation (aside from relaxing) is not having to cook! However, eating on the road has become particularly difficult since my food allergy diagnosis. So what do you do?
Prepare, prepare, prepare! You must do your homework ahead of time! Research restaurants and grocery stores near your destination (or along your route) to make sure you can find your go-to foods or options that are safe for you. AllergyEats and ShopWell are sites that can help! The great thing about these sites is that they both have apps to help you on the go!
If you're flying, check out the airport ahead of time to find restaurants with safe options. You can check Gluten Freeville for gluten free airport information. This page has a list of the major US airports and the restaurants with gluten free options. There are links to these restaurants so you can check to see if they have other allergy information as well.
Bring your own! If you're driving, pack a cooler and make sure to have snacks or meals on hand that are allergy safe.
Think about staying at a location where you would have your own kitchen area to prepare safe meals for yourself and your family. Whether it's a condo, hotel suite or just room with a kitchenette, you'll save yourself from worrying about contamination... and might even save some money in the meantime.
Planning a trip to a resort or taking a cruise? Call ahead or check their website to see what allergy free options they offer and how they can accommodate your needs. You may want to consider creating a chef card to take with you to list your food allergies on. The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network has a template you can use.
Bottom line, you don't have to lock yourself away this summer. With some careful planning and research an allergy safe vacation really can happen!