Vacation is our time to relax and make memories with family and friends. However, it’s a different story when it comes to someone with food allergies. Handling food allergies at home is hard enough, but going on a road trip or simply on a weekend get-away raises a whole new level of challenges.
However simple your travels or vacations may be, we need to always keep in mind our safety, especially if we’re travelling with our children who have severe food allergies. Safety and preparation are fundamental ways to enjoy our well-deserved breaks and savour the time with our loved ones.
We previously featured our tips on how to make food allergy travelling safe and manageable, but we wanted to put more details into one of the most critical aspects of our travels: accommodation.
Typically, we often like to think of the places we want to visit before we know anything about the exact location of accommodation we are staying at. This aspect of travelling is often overlooked, even with the most experienced traveller and backpackers out there.
Importance of Accommodation in Allergy Safety
Travelling, or to others, “vacay” is getting more popular as the information exchange in our current society is remarkably fast and convenient, and we all need to thank our modern technology for that. We can see more places that we haven’t seen before, and we know what places to visit through personal reviews that are easily accessible online.
It doesn’t matter how much of a travel junkie we are; we can’t deny the fact that we will eventually get exhausted and will succumb to our need to rest so we can prepare for the next day’s adventure. This is where the importance of accommodation comes into play. For someone with food allergies, where we rest our tired body is just as important as choosing our dining and transportation options.
AirBnB, hotels, or even a house owned by our relatives, may or may not be allergy proof so before we buy our plane, boat, train, or bus tickets, we need to plan and check our choices of accommodation to bypass a preventable tragedy.
Here is our travel or accommodation checklist:
Choose a place that is close to hospitals, pharmacies, convenient stores, and food allergy safe restaurants. This is to ensure that you know where to go in case of medical emergencies or to restock your EpiPen medicine cases or snack supply.
If you opt to rent with Airbnb, make sure to choose a place where there is a kitchen. If it has a common kitchen or dining area, we recommend that you skip it and choose a different place instead. Airbnb has a lot of options, and we suggest that you spare some of your budget for a full house rental. It may be a bit expensive but you can be less worried about food contamination if you can have the whole house to yourselves. Besides, you can maximize the local grocery store and cook your allergen-free food so your purse won’t hurt so much.
In the case that your only convenient option to stay, is in a hotel, call the hotel management ahead of time and let them know about your condition and your requirements (depending on your type of allergies). They’re often helpful and will tell you honestly if they can accommodate you or not. Keep in mind that there are hotels that are allergy safe so you can put them on the top of your list instead. If budget is not a question, choose a room with its kitchen, dining area, fridge, and microwave so you can cook your food or have a safe place to store your own pre-prepared foods.
Other people take long drives or road trips to get their fix of relaxation and peace of mind. From time to time and more often than not, their only option is a non-traditional accommodation like bringing their tent or going on a camping trip. To stay safe, make sure that you bring all your essential medicines with you and know where the nearest hospital is. Renting an RV is also a safe option in case you’re flying to a different country. Just make sure to let the RV owner know of your condition and to ensure that the RV is well sanitized to avoid food contamination.
Additional safety measures and tips to ensure food allergy safety
Always be prepared for things to go wrong — anticipation is part of being prepared. Don’t be paranoid, but you must not be complacent either. This mindset will help you think of your condition and safety outside your comfort zone (your own home).
Bring plenty of wipes, alcohol, and your water. You can use all of these to sanitize kitchen tables, utensils, etc. in your room or rented house.
Last but not least is to always bring your auto-injectors like EpiPen or Auvi-Q at all times. This is a must and non-negotiable. If you have our Sammie Medicine Case, you can bring not only your auto-injectors but other essential medications like an asthma inhaler, Benadryl, ointments, etc. Even if you’re just going for a short walk or a short tour of your hotel, don’t forget to have your Sammie Med Case with you.