Our extended family isn’t going to be able to spend Christmas together so we decided to spend a weekend together AWAY in a hotel before Christmas. We’re going to Kananaskis Lodge which is in the mountains and about an hour and a half from where we live. It’s been YEARS since we’ve been there and they’ve recently done a reno, so our whole family is really excited. But before we get too crazy, we need to pack. And as we all know, packing for a food allergy is a lot more daunting than just throwing in a swimsuit and change of clothes. So to get me going I thought I’d write everything down and share it with you! *This blog contains affiliate links which means if you decide to purchase an item using these links, the company will share a small portion of the revenue with me AT NO ADDITIONAL COST TO YOU. This helps keep the blog going.
Before you start packing:
Call ahead and find one restaurant at or near your location that “gets” food allergies and cross-contact. I talked with the Food Manager at the hotel and the answers she gave me seemed to pass. Because of this, we’ll be relying on the restaurants at the lodge for most of our meals, and I won’t be packing full meals. I wrote a blog about how to plan full meals for a weekend trip which you can find here. We also have an alternate plan (see #10 below) just in case the restaurant is not as safe as it seems.
What To Pack For Food Allergy Kids
1. Epinephrine (EpiPens or whatever your Doctor prescribed). I like to bring 3-4 on a weekend trip. It’s possible to use more than one in the event of a reaction, and I like to have extra just in case of misfire or loss. I keep them in groups of two in separate bags in case one group gets lost. Make sure to check the expiry dates, and bring your emergency plan too!
2. Epipen carrier. It’s winter so I usually keep the EpiPen in my inside winter jacket pocket (or my daughter wears it under her winter jacket). It needs to stay between 15-30 degrees so I find keeping it close to the body works well. When we're not outside, I'll have an EpiPen in my purse and my daughter will have one in her kid's purse or carrier.
If it was summer, I’d recommend a cooler or Frio case to keep your EpiPens cool.
3. Hand wipes. These are a given when it comes to travelling. Not only do they keep your child safe from allergens, but all those bugs going around too!
4. Asthma meds. We once went all the way to Palm Springs and forgot the Asthma meds. We found out quickly that you have to see a Doctor in the US to get a new prescription, which was a BIG hassle. Thank goodness we had friends who came a day later that graciously brought my daughter's inhalers.
5. Eczema lotions and cremes. I know my kiddo isn’t the only allergy kid with eczema. Having the cremes will decrease the eczema itchiness and allow a better sleep (for them AND you), so I don’t leave home without them.
6. Other medications. This includes pain relievers, antihistamines, anti-nausea etc. I sometimes focus so much on what my FA kid needs that I forget the basics for my non-food allergy kiddo. Mom-guilt aside, this once cost us huge. My non-food allergy kiddo suffers from motion sickness. So much so that she has a prescription med (Gravol won’t touch it). Let's just say the plane ride and the whole first day of our summer vacay we spent a lot more time in the hotel room than we thought we would!
7. Breakfast foods. My kids usually get up really early, and they’re usually STARVING. So I like to bring some easy, safe, healthy breakfasts items like bananas, apples, oranges, granola bars or muffins. If we have a fridge, I like to bring little yogurts too. This will tide the kids and us over until everyone gets organized enough for actual breakfast or brunch. Not only that, but I’m hoping these foods might allow us to decrease costs by removing one restaurant meal from the budget.
8. Healthy safe snack. Whole fruit is easiest. I also like to make a simple, safe trail mix (pumpkin or sunflower seeds, safe cereal, raisins or craisins) for re-fuel in between all the skating, tobogganing and swimming.
9. Safe dessert(s). Kids meals almost ALWAYS come with a dessert. But, they’re ALMOST NEVER safe for my daughter. So either nobody orders dessert and they all feel sorry for themselves OR I bring a dessert for my daughter that she can enjoy at the same time. Don’t get me wrong, there are many times when the kids don’t order dessert; but because it’s our Christmas celebration, I think it’s nice to be able to have a dessert together.
10. Car/travel snacks. We only have an hour and a half to drive for this trip so we won’t need much of a snack. But those of you with younger kids might want to pack something safe that will keep your LO’s busy. If we were flying we would definitely bring something since plane snacks are usually not safe and it’s safer having your own food in the air. Don't forget to think about the way home!
11. Backup meal. I have a safe, dry “just add water” type of meal that I’ll bring in case the restaurant gives us a bad feeling. I like to travel with at least one backup meal that we can safely feed our girl when were all starving hungry. This allows us to fill up even if the restaurant lets us down and then find other safe food items at a grocery store or other restaurant. Don't forget a set of plastic cutlery.
And that’s what I’m bringing specific to food allergies on our trip to the mountains. If you want to know EVERYTHING I’m packing for my kids, get one of these full, itemized checklists you can use the next time you go on a trip with your food allergy kiddo:
What about you? Share your must-haves for travelling with food allergies in the comments below.
PS. If your child has several allergies, you may want to look into bringing an allergy card. These are great to give restaurants to help them make sure they get your allergies right. We do this on longer trips, especially if we’re in a country that doesn’t speak English.