A first holiday abroad as a family with little ones in tow can be daunting. Try doing it with one child that has a severe allergic reaction to nuts, sesame, diary, eggs and bananas and the other that not only doesn’t travel well but also has a severe allergy to eggs.
The first time we carefully chose a location that worked for us, not too busy but with access to not only local supermarkets but there was actually a UK supermarket too. If I needed to I knew I could buy some basics in brands that I recognise and with labels I could read. So far so good.
We flew from our local airport with Jet 2. We let them know that my son has a nut allergy and they were great, reassuring me that they would not serve nut products on the flight and they did a short announcement on board asking other passengers to refrain from eating nuts they may have with them. There was no fuss at all, just reassurance that they understood and they did what they could for us. Obviously as a precaution I carry epipens and antihistamine in my hand luggage. Again no problem at all going through security. Your doctor can provide you with a letter explaining why you need to carry meds, I must admit I have not had to present this at all.
I always look on trip advisor and go onto the local forums before we travel. You get a good feel for good places to visit and dine. Often it is locals or very regular visitors that contribute and I have found their advice invaluable. You can ask questions and get a response quickly. It is comforting to know that others with specific dietary requirements have had no difficulties.
Eating Out when you have allergies
One of the best things I did was to get a small card printed explaining what foods my children have to avoid eating. I laminated it and took it with me when we went out. I showed this to waiter and it avoided any language confusion at all. I have found generally everyone is very happy to help and again we have had no incidents at all.
Do your research
The glossy brochures do not tell you everything you need to know when travelling with allergies. We were looking at a little get away over Easter and thought we might give Gambia a try, beautiful beaches and a bit of different experience. It was only by chance that I realised that one of the national exports of Gambia is nuts. They serve them in everything, the street vendors sell them, they use the oil, they burn the shells and people bring them home on the plane. It could have been a disaster we would not have been able to avoid them. So do your research carefully.
The first time we went away it felt so wrong packing tins of tuna and baked beans in my case between the snorkel gear and sun tan lotion. But this really is such a good idea saving me from having to stock up when I arrive at my destination. I usually make sure I have some tea and coffee and something for our breakfast packed as well and on our last trip I packed quite a lot of tinned and dried stuff.
We are still working on what works for my daughter but have found that a travel sickness tablet, a small meal and water seems to be the best way forward so far. On our last flight home the children had digestive biscuits and boiled sweets for landing and water and were fine (it was 11 o clock at night after all) I always carry a spare change of clothes for just in case and some carrier bags for quick access.
Airline Food for those with Allergies
So far our longest flight has been 4 ½ hours so I have taken a small pack up with us, at least that way I know the food is safe and something they enjoy. I am uncertain of how a long haul flight would work for us as a family. I probably would just need to pack a larger pack up of something like cold pasta salad. I will have to update you on that one!
Any questions at all please do ask, it really can work, you just need to be careful.
This post was kindly written for us by Teresa Buckle who recently visited Croatia.