Everyone with food allergies knows how tricky traveling can be. Here are our top tips for planning, traveling, and enjoying trips while navigating food allergies. These insights are meant to help you gain confidence and excitement towards traveling, because it is definitely possible and can be done safely with great preparation.
Planning for trips is by far the most important part of navigating any trip with food allergies. It is important to do research in order to be as prepared as possible. The goal is to have the hard part come first so that you can enjoy your trip and everything will be safe.
1. Research the best airlines for food allergies:
Each airline has different policies about food allergy announcements and products that they serve on the plane. Some will avoid serving certain allergens (usually peanuts and nuts only) upon request or even make an announcement to the plane for other passengers to refrain from eating nuts during the flight because of severe food allergies.
PURE Picks: JetBlue, United, Delta, British Airways
2. Picking a hotel and making special requests:
Choosing a hotel location is important to navigating a trip with allergies, however it isn't the most important factor. It depends on your personal comfort level. Many hotels have options with kitchenettes, or you can request a microwave and fridge which is just as helpful. Additionally, choosing a location close to a hospital or medical center depends on your comfort level. It is important to consider this when choosing a hotel. Make sure to request that no snack bar is put into the room since it adds unnecessary risks from having allergens in the room.
3. Research restaurants in the area/at the hotel:
Researching restaurants and their menus beforehand helps with planning out an itinerary and choosing a safe spot to eat. Communicating with the manager about food allergies and how the restaurant accommodates preventing cross contamination is important research to learn about before dining out. Make sure to make reservations beforehand and add your allergies to your reservation so that the restaurant staff is aware of your allergies in advance. Remember to use your Equal Eats card when you place your order!
4. Researching grocery stores beforehand:
It is important to research grocery stores in the area to see their proximity to the hotel, and calling ahead of time to find out if they carry specific safe and familiar brands. Buying groceries that you can safely prepare can be a better option than trying to navigate eating out in some cases.