Ten Travel Essentials You Need Before Traveling With Your Food Allergy Child
I know taking vacations is not always the easiest for food allergy families. Sometimes the worry about the worst can make it really hard to want to get away and may even make it seem like it’s not worth the extra work.
Our family loves to travel and we’ve done it for many years despite severe food allergies. There are several types of trips you can take and I feel like it’s important to start with one that works for your family, especially if you’re new to the food allergy world.
For example, one of the harder types of trips is one where you move around often and don’t have a kitchen to cook in. We have moved up to this type of travel, but we weren’t always comfortable with it because it does take a lot more planning and work. If you’re just starting to travel with food allergies, I would highly recommend a less busy type of vacation.
For example, a vacay where you have a home base where you can cook and either relax or do day trips if you want. This is the BEST place to start because it will be similar to being at home as far as food is concerned, except without the everyday stresses and hopefully a beach!
So how do we get packed for a trip with food allergies? Check out my FREE printable here with EVERYTHING that you’ll need to remember for your kids (depending on their age).
As a family with food allergies there are just different things you’ll need to remember to pack that the average family doesn’t need or use.
Here’s a rundown of the things you’ll need to have that are specific to food allergies.
1. FARE Allergy Plan or Food Allergy Action Plan
This is so important to have along with you so that you feel confident about what to do if your child started to have signs of an allergic reaction. Use your epinephrine first and use it fast, and having your plan with you will help you feel confident to make these decisions. I give my daughter one to carry in her carry-on with her and I also carry 2 copies with me in different places so if one gets lost we have another. I like to place it inside a plastic sleeve so it doesn’t get ruined in the bags.
PRO TIP - Take a picture of your emergency plan and keep it on your phone as a back up (along with your other important docs like your passport).
2. Epinephrine Injector AND Carrier
You’ll need to carry the epinephrine and you’ll likely want something easy to grab. This can change depending on the age of your little. My daughter likes the waist-band carrier that she got on the EpiPen website. I also carry 1-2 EpiPens in my purse. I make sure to bring a smaller purse on vacay that will hold the EpiPen and the wipes we need (see below).
Don’t forget to bring a carrier that keeps your epinephrine at the right temperature. We like the FRIO one. Keep in mind when buying the FRIO you’ll need to measure to make sure you get the right size. The FRIO that carries one EpiPen looks a little bigger than it actually is. I got fooled into thinking I was buying a carrier that would hold 2 EpiPens, when in reality it only holds 1. It looks bigger than it is because when the gel has been activated with water it swells and takes up more room.
These are a staple for travel with food allergies. You’ll use them EVERYWHERE. From wiping down planes, to wiping hands, to wiping surroundings, don’t leave home without them. I usually get the large, towel like ones for the plane so I can wipe larger areas with fewer wipes and then I bring several small packages, one for each of us to carry in our own bags for using to wipe before eating. Special bonus; since we started wiping down planes and carrying wipes, we’ve been getting few colds and flus too!
4. Food Containers
No matter what type of vacation, you’ll likely be cooking and bringing food along on day trips or to the beach or whatever. Having a selection of food containers and/or Ziplock bags in various sizes helps a lot. You can also reuse them by washing them over and over.
5. Toaster Bags
These handy little bags can be used inside any toaster and keep the toast from touching the sides just in case there was bread with an allergen in there before. They save you from bringing a whole extra toaster!
6. BBQ Mat
We never know exactly what was cooked on the bbq in the past which is why we bring a bbq mat with us if we think we’ll be using the bbq.
PRO TIP - plan your vacation meals before you go and have a grocery list ready to go. You can get a great done-for-you vacation meal plan here.
7. Portable Cooler and Ice Packs
You may or may not need this depending on the vacation you're taking. If you’ll be going to the beach or doing day trips, this can come in really handy to keep food safe and fresh. If you’re going to Disney and plan to buy most of your food at the parks, you may not need a cooler. It does work great though for pool days so you don’t have to head back to the room for food.
8. Breakfast Foods
With pn, tn allergies and a gluten intolerance, we find that breakfast foods can be one of the most difficult things to find that are safe. Because of this we usually bring some pre-baked, safe muffins or loaves. That way if the hotel offers breakfast, we can bring a safe option for my daughter while we eat what the hotel has.
9. Back Up Meal and Snacks for the Travel Days
I can’t stress this one enough. There have been so many times when we’ve been delayed or we’ve been re-routed because of airline delays. Having some non-perishable back up food is a literal life-saver. I like to bring at least 2 of the same portable meals that work for my daughter’s allergies, plus some safe baked snacks like muffins, healthy cookies, granola bars, etc. This way if there are travel delays we have something safe to fall back on instead of worrying about finding safe food at an airport or even buying something onboard an airplane. Don’t forget to bring enough non-perishable items for the trip home too!
PRO TIP - Most airports will sell bananas or oranges in their peel. It’s the perfect safe (and healthy) snack in a pinch.
Watch this video for some of the food ideas we’re using on our next trip!
10. Asthma and Eczema Meds
It’s important to keep asthma under control and we can’t do this without our asthma meds. Guess what? We forgot our asthma meds when we went on vacation one year. Luckily, we had friends coming down a day later that were able to bring them; but this isn’t always the case! It’s a huge hassle to get prescription meds in another country because you have to see one of their doctors and get a prescription and then get that prescription filled. It’s just a better idea to bring them in the first place because who wants to spend their vacation visiting the doctor?
Our kids will enjoy the vacation much more if their eczema isn’t bugging them and they’re not itchy the entire time. This is why I always bring our medicated eczema cream as well as the non-medicated ones too.
A little planning and packing the right things will make your vacation go smoothly and it will be much more enjoyable. If you bring these 10 things, you’ll stay safe and enjoy your vacation!
What items will you be sure to pack? Let me know in the comments!