A Guide for Traveling with Food Allergies: Be Prepared and Stay Safe!

epi pens - traveling with food allergies,eating out with food allergies
Hey there! If you have food allergies, traveling can require some extra planning and precautions to ensure your safety and enjoyment during your trip. But don’t worry, with a little preparation, you can explore new destinations and have amazing experiences without compromising your health. To help you out, here are some essential tips to keep in mind when traveling with food allergies:

Know Before You Go: Thoroughly Researching Your Destination

Research your destination: Before you travel, do thorough research about your destination. Learn about the local cuisine, common allergens in the area, and any language barriers that may affect your ability to communicate your food allergies. Look for restaurants or food establishments that cater to individuals with food allergies or have a good track record of accommodating dietary restrictions.

Special Dietary Needs: Notifying Your Airline or Transportation Provider

Notify your airline or transportation provider: If you’re traveling by air or other modes of transportation that provide meals, make sure to notify them about your food allergies in advance. Many airlines and transportation providers can accommodate special dietary needs with prior notice.

Language Barriers? Use a Food Allergy Card

Carry a food allergy card: Create a card that clearly outlines your food allergies in the local language of your destination, as well as any other relevant information such as your name, contact details, and emergency contact. This can be a helpful tool to communicate your food allergies to restaurant staff or other locals who may not speak your language.

Click here for Phrases for Safe Eating: English and Spanish at the Restaurant.

On-the-Go Options: Packing Safe Snacks for Travel

Pack safe snacks: Always pack safe and non-perishable snacks that you can carry with you. This ensures that you have safe options to eat in case you’re unable to find suitable food options at your destination.

Food Safety First: Bringing Your Own Meals

Bring your own food: If you’re unsure about the availability of safe food options, consider packing your own meals. This can be particularly useful during long flights, train rides, or road trips.

Speak Up: Communicating Your Food Allergies When Dining Out

Communicate your food allergies: When dining out, clearly communicate your food allergies to restaurant staff, chefs, or food vendors. Use your food allergy card and be specific about what you can and cannot eat. Ask about ingredients and cross-contamination risks, and verify the safety of each dish before consuming it.

Click here for Allergen Alert: English and Spanish Names for the 16 Main Food Allergens

Street Food Safety: Tips for Allergy-Prone Travelers

Be cautious with street food: Street food can be tempting, but it may pose a higher risk for cross-contamination and allergen exposure. Be cautious when consuming street food, and ask about ingredients and preparation methods.

Emergency Readiness: Preparing for Allergic Reactions

Be prepared for emergencies: Always carry your prescribed epinephrine auto-injector (e.g., EpiPen) if you have a severe food allergy. Know the location of local hospitals or medical facilities at your destination, and familiarize yourself with the emergency procedures in case of an allergic reaction.

Lost in Translation? Planning for Language Differences

Plan for language barriers: If you’re traveling to a country where you don’t speak the local language, learn some basic food allergy-related phrases or use translation apps to effectively communicate your dietary restrictions.

Staying Safe: Remaining Vigilant with Food Allergies

Stay vigilant: Remain vigilant and double-check ingredients, food preparation methods, and cross-contamination risks at all times. Don’t hesitate to ask questions or request modifications to ensure your safety.

Phrases for Safe Eating: English and Spanish at the Restaurant

Here are some additional tips for eating out at a restaurant or cafe, along with English to Spanish phrases that you can use to communicate your food allergies:

Inform the staff about your food allergies:
“Tengo alergias alimentarias” (I have food allergies)
“Soy alérgico/a a ciertos alimentos” (I am allergic to certain foods).

Ask questions about the ingredients:
“¿Contiene este platillo (ingrediente alérgeno)?” (Does this dish contain (allergenic ingredient)?)
“¿Pueden decirme los ingredientes de este plato?” (Can you tell me the ingredients of this dish?).

Request modifications or substitutions:
“¿Puede hacer el platillo sin (ingrediente alérgeno)?” (Can you make the dish without (allergenic ingredient)?) or “¿Hay alguna opción sin (ingrediente alérgeno)?” (Is there an option without (allergenic ingredient)?).

Ask about cross-contamination risks:
“¿Hay riesgo de contaminación cruzada con (ingrediente alérgeno) en la preparación de este platillo?” (Is there a risk of cross-contamination with (allergenic ingredient) in the preparation of this dish?).

Use your food allergy card:
“Aquí está mi tarjeta de alergias alimentarias. Por favor, asegúrense de que el plato esté libre de (ingrediente alérgeno)” (Here is my food allergy card. Please make sure the dish is free from (allergenic ingredient)).

Thank the staff for their assistance: “Gracias por su ayuda en asegurar que mi comida sea segura” (Thank you for your help in ensuring my meal is safe).

Allergen Alert: English and Spanish Names for the 16 Main Food Allergens

English Spanish
Milk Leche
Eggs Huevos
Shellfish Mariscos
Tree nuts Frutos secos (e.g., almonds, walnuts, cashews)
Peanuts Maní, cacahuete
Wheat Trigo
Soy Soja
Sesame Sésamo, ajonjolí
Mustard Mostaza
Celery Apio
Lupin Lupino
Sulphites (sulfites) Sulfitos
Mollusks Moluscos
Crustaceans Crustáceos
Cereals containing gluten Cereales que contienen gluten (e.g., wheat, rye, barley)

Food Allergies and Asthma

If you have both food allergies and asthma, it’s important to know that some allergenic foods can actually trigger an asthma attack in susceptible individuals. So, it’s a good idea to carry your prescribed asthma inhaler with you along with your prescribed epinephrine auto-injector for your food allergies. You never know when you might need them!

When you’re dining out or traveling, be mindful of potential cross-contamination of allergens in food, as accidentally consuming allergenic foods could potentially trigger asthma symptoms in addition to food allergy reactions. Make sure to communicate your food allergies and asthma to restaurant staff or food vendors, and take necessary precautions to minimize the risk of exposure to allergens that could trigger asthma symptoms or food allergy reactions.

Remember, it’s always better to be prepared and take proactive steps to protect your health when managing both food allergies and asthma. Don’t hesitate to talk to your healthcare provider for personalized advice and guidance based on your specific condition and travel plans. Stay safe and enjoy your meals!

Remember, traveling with food allergies requires careful planning and preparation. It’s essential to prioritize your health and safety while enjoying your trip. Consulting with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian can also provide valuable guidance tailored to your specific food allergies and travel plans.

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