As frightening as it may seem, travelling with a food allergy is not all that bad. There are risks but you can eliminate and manage these with simple methods, and common sense.
Sure it can be daunting not knowing what the food situation will be like whilst you’re away and trying to figure out what you can eat and what you can’t can be stressful. This is especially relevant when you pass the point of hunger and urgently need some food. Don’t stress though, I have been travelling for 4 years with a food allergy (Gluten Intolerant
) and have some advice and tips. Implementing some of the tips will help you get out there and travel by easing your mind about eating whilst you’re away so you can enjoy your travels/holidays more.
The simplest way to go about this is to research the types of meals and food the locals eat where you are going. Once you know this you can determine how tough/easy your time will be there and whether or not you can do without some of the ingredients in these meals or ask for substitutes. For example, sometimes I ask for rice instead of pasta, a burger without the bun or even corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas.
Learn the language
It makes a huge difference if you learn some of the local language
. The reality is, if they can’t understand you they don’t care and could either tell you what you want to hear (like this has no wheat/dairy or nuts in it) or give it to you anyway. So being able to tell them in their language “I’m allergic to wheat” or whatever it is your allergic to will help them realise why you may be asking for a coffee with no milk (lactose intolerant) or a burger with no bun (wheat intolerant). There is a website called Allergy Translation
where you can order a translation card in any language describing what allergy you have. These are very useful and can save you a lot of stress, well worth looking into.
Another way is, I find out what foods are available and simply ask. When I arrive to different hostels I usually ask where it is good to eat and what type of meals these restaurants or food outlets offer and make my decision from there. More often than not, if you ask you will be told of somewhere that you can eat. Even being unsure you can preview the menu and decide for yourself if there is something you can eat or even something you could eat with either leaving out an ingredient or substituting it for something different.
Another option is, take some food with you. I know, it bloody sucks taking food with you travelling but if your reactions are quite bad and you struggle to find food you can eat, try taking some snacks to tide you over with until you find a safe meal.
Do you travel with an allergy? If so what do you do abroad to make it easier for yourself?
More suggested travel advice;
Why you shouldn’t eat McDonald’s whilst traveling – Just as the name suggests, great reasons why you shouldn’t eat fast food whilst traveling and alternatives.
Pffft, Travel Insurance, who needs it . . . . you do! – A story of why you should never leave home without travel insurance and the consequences if you do.
Why you want to travel and why you don’t – A compelling and inspiring video of Andre Evans explaining how he simply travels simply and how we can do the same.
What did you just say? Learning the lingo and why – How you and others can benefit from learning even just a few foreign words whilst traveling.