Travelling with Food Allergies
Just because I have food allergies doesn’t mean I can’t have fun and travel when the holidays are here! For example when we go on a holiday I am always so excited but there is always so much planning to do before we start our trip to make sure that my holiday is a safe and happy time.
Some of our travelling and planning tips are:
If we are travelling on a plane we try and travel outside of meal times if possible. I always travel with more than one epipen, x4 to be exact. I also pack my Action Plan for Anaphylaxis that’s signed by my doctor. ASCIA also has a Travel Plan that is great to use when flying. I pack my anti-histamine, my ventolin and other emergency medications. All of these come on the plane with me. As I have multiple allergens, I travel with a face mask just in case the smells in the plane are too much for me. I always carry all of my own food to make sure to decrease any risks while in the air. Mum always packs me way too much just so that I have a great choice and if there are delays we are never caught out. I never eat any new foods before I fly or on the plane. When young children or elderly are asked to board we go up and explain our situation and ask if we can also board early. We have always had understanding people that let us on. Which gives us more time to sort ourselves out. If the seats are leather we wipe them down with our ‘wet wipes’ and all the arm rests, table areas top and bottom and the window area. I normally try and get a window seat so that my Mum can set up a ‘buffer’ area around me. But just in case the seats are not leather and easy to wipe we pack a plain cot sheet that easily fits snug over the seat. Some airlines if given 72+hrs notice upon request will put into place ‘no nuts’ on the flight you are on. Some airlines don’t have peanuts on the flight anymore. But it is always good to be prepared as you don’t know what other people will bring on the flight and as I have so many allergens it really is up to me to be prepared. ASCIA has a travelling with allergy, asthma and anaphylaxis checklist that is also good to use as a cross check-list.
We normally stay at an apartment or a suite that has a kitchenette. I use a big double bed sheet to cover the couch so that I am not sitting on any liquids that might have been spilt and now not visible or food and crumbs that might be on the couch. My mum goes around and wipes everything down as soon as we arrive so that I know that I am safe to sit at the table and use the other equipment in the apartment on our holiday. All these things help decrease the chance of anything happening plus makes me feel more relaxed. But if something does happen we are always prepared travelling with multiple epipens, anti-histamine, my action plan and knowing exactly what the EMERGENCY NUMBERS are in each place we travel to and where the closest hospital or medical facilities are.
If we are travelling in a car a long distance we pack an esky full of all our favourite foods and have fun picnics along the way. We pinpoint interesting and fun places to stop and explore along the map prior to starting our trip. We have also had an amazing RV trip away. Which was so much fun and so easy as we had everything with us all the time including the kitchen sink. We pack audio books to listen to and sometimes mum reads us our favourite book. Once when I was a lot younger, we read James and the Giant Peach for 7 hours on our way to Adelaide.
Hope all of these tips help you!
FLYING TIPS FROM SIMONE:
As we have so many allergens we always fly with ‘worse case scenario’ in mind
Risk minimise at every opportunity
Fly with multiple adrenaline auto-injectors in carry-on luggage (we travel with x4)
Ask to board when kids and elderly are announced. Staff have always been accommodating when situation explained. Then you don’t feel rushed and fewer prying eyes.
Wipe down all areas and surroundings with wipes (seat, seat belt, buckle, table top, table bottom, arm rests, remote control, chair buttons, window etc.)
Use a plain cot sheet to cover material seats. Leather seats you can just wipe down
Or you can dress in light long sleeved top and pants
Create a buffer zone with allergy child next to window and then rest of us along the seats. Person sitting directly beside does not eat the food in that seat.
Take own mini pillow
Take ‘clean air’ mask
Take all emergency medication, EpiPens, anti-histamine, ventolin, prednisolone etc
Take all your own food on board. Ask for bottled water.
Maybe try a short domestic flight first before trying a long-haul overseas flight
Don’t be scared. Be prepared!