For anyone with a food allergy, eating in the outside world can be a challenge. Whether you’re traveling for business or trying to squeeze in one last family vacation before the school year starts, careful preparation and open communication can make your trip safe and enjoyable.

The number-one rule for travelling with food allergies is to plan ahead. When making special requests, give airline, hotel, and restaurant staff as much lead-time as possible. Bring a kit containing all the necessary medications, and let your doctor know you’re traveling — in case of an emergency, make sure he or she will be available to call in a prescription for additional auto-injectors or other medications.

Food Allergy Education & Research offers the following tips for airline travel:

  • Before booking your flight, read the airline’s allergy policy. Also check the airline’s snack offerings. Individuals with severe allergies may want to choose an airline that does not serve complimentary peanut or tree nut snacks.
  • When booking your flight, notify the reservation agent of any food allergies, and ask if your information can be forwarded to other personnel. Reconfirm your food allergy with the ticket agent and again with the flight attendants.
  • Understand policies for carrying medication on board the aircraft. For security purposes, keep your epinephrine/adrenaline in its original packaging and have your emergency plan with your medication. Keep it with you rather than storing it in the overhead bin. Also consider carrying a letter from your doctor.
  • Inspect your seating area, and consider informing passengers sitting around you about your food allergy.

Many of the same rules apply if you’re staying at a resort or hotel. Call ahead and speak to a hotel manager about any accommodations you require. Find out if the facility has a doctor or nurse on site, and be sure to note the location of their office and the phone number.

A growing number of family resorts are making the effort to be allergy friendly, so search the Internet or ask a travel agent for recommendations.

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