Tips for Traveling Overseas
International travel lets us see new places and experience new cultures. But all these new experiences mean new potential risks for someone with a food allergy.
You depend on others to communicate with you about where your food comes from and how it is prepared. You would also need help if you happen to have an allergic reaction. Add in new cuisine and people who speak another language, and your foreign travel could start to feel overwhelming.
Take these steps to ensure your safety when traveling abroad with food allergies.
- Ask for recommendations for restaurants, hotels, activities and so on. Does your allergist have other patients with good experiences at certain places?
- Ask your doctor to write extra prescriptions that you can carry with you. Learn their generic and brand names in the countries you’ll be visiting.
- Start planning early. Language barriers can be tough to deal with, but chances are someone working at the hotel speaks English. With many Internet translation services available, email can be an effective way to correspond leading up to your stay.
- Find out if any local doctors in the area specialize in allergy. Ask: Will they be able to write you a prescription for additional epinephrine auto-injectors or medications if you need them?
- Locate the hospital nearest to where you will be staying, just in case.
- Bring several copies of your Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Emergency Care Plan. Make sure this document is with you at all times (along with your medications!).
- Carry chef cards in English and in the language of the countries where you will be. Always have them with you.
- Bring non-perishable food that is safe for you to eat. Dried pasta and allergen-free snack bars are good options. Don’t assume that the same products manufactured in other countries will contain the exact same ingredients.
For some of the countries represented by the International Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Alliance (IFAAA), FARE and our partner organizations have provided helpful travel tip sheets. Check here to see whether the IFAAA has travel tips for the country you plan to visit.