For many Canadians, spring break is around the corner. Before we trade our jackets and winter boots for a camera and an adventure, let’s discuss a few ways to travel the world confidently with food allergy.
Check your epinephrine auto-injectors before you leave: Ensure they are up-to-date, and if you are able, pack multiples. Remember any medicine like your auto-injectors and inhalers can be packed in your carry-on luggage. Pro tip: Let your travel partners know where you keep your auto-injector(s) and teach them how to use these devices.
Know the language of your destination: Before you leave, know how to explain you have a food allergy in the country you’ll be visiting. You can print allergy translation cards that explain your food allergy in that language so you can give/show them to any restaurant or place you want to eat. Pro tip: Allergens can sometimes have different names depending on the area. It is a great idea to research local cuisines and dishes before you travel.
Think ahead about where you’ll be eating: Are you going to eat out when you travel? Contact the restaurants before your trip and speak with the chef/manager about your food allergy. Let them know the day you plan on coming and remind them you have a food allergy when you get there. Are you cooking where you’re staying? It’s a great idea to bring a clean sponge to wash your utensils and cookware during your trip. Pro tip: Research labelling laws and where to buy food. Depending on where you travel the label requirements could be different from what we have in Canada.
Consider allergy season: If you have seasonal allergies, factor in how pollens may impact your travels. With oral allergy syndrome (OAS), also known as pollen food allergy syndrome (PFAS), the proteins in certain fresh fruits, vegetables and tree nuts are similar to those in pollens, and this “cross-reactivity” can cause allergic symptoms like itchiness of the mouth and throat. Check out our “Pollen allergy & foods” chart for more information and learn more about PFAS/OAS from our site.
For more travel information and resources check out the following: