Traveling with Food Allergies

Posted on Mar 10 2015 - 12:32am by Kate Flannery

Traveling has been revolutionized in the past 40-50 years, and it is becoming a possibility for a growing number of people all the time. The number of young people who have never left their region, even their country, is dropping with travel costs. However, there are still plenty of people who will never experience a worry-free trip. The number of people suffering from allergies is increasing, due to our overly clean and sanitized everyday life. Allergic reactions to food are not as common as reactions to pollen, but they are a big problem nonetheless, and one that people have to learn to live with. Several make a particular problem to travelers: gluten intolerance, lactose intolerance and the famous one that airline companies dread – nut allergies. A modern traveler has to be smart when preparing and carefully planning his or her journey.


BBQ Chicken Dolsot Bibimbap by Alpha

  1. Preparing oneself for possible and probable medical issues is a priority. Everyone affected should keep a list of medication on them in case trouble arises. Antihistamines and epinephrine are at the top of the list for people with serious food allergies. Gluten allergy may be a trend, but that doesn’t change the fact that there are people for whom gluten is a serious health threat. Whatever the problem, it is wise to keep anti-nausea medication and antacids close to hand. However, the best treatment is to avoid any food you suspect may have a problematic substance.
  2. A traveler needs to consider which airline they are flying with. Today, most companies prepare gluten-free, nut-free, any-other-allergen-free meals, but it is wise to get all the information before a flight, especially a long flight, and with a smaller airline company.
  3. Once the destination has been reached, it is important to have information about food-joints in the area. Are there restaurants that cater to your dietary restrictions? How stocked are the local markets? Again, it is wise to book a room close to a local market with fresh produce. Fresh fruit and vegetables are always the safest option, once they have been properly washed.
  4. One of my friends has a severe intolerance to gluten and he always books a room with a kitchenette, and one equipped with food-preparation utensils at that. This ties up with what has been mentioned above – once fresh food is bought, it is safest to prepare it in your own kitchen, where you are in charge of the water you use to clean everything.
  5. It is important to prepare all your dietary requirements on paper, in the local language. Perhaps you are planning a vacation in Thailand – everything regarding your health should be translated into Thai, and preferably typed on out for waiters and chefs to understand. But there is more. Food allergies sound like a joke to some less developed places, where few people suffer from them. In order not to sound like an annoying tourist that “should be taught a lesson”, never use the word wheat to describe your gluten intolerance. Specifically list products like “bread, pasta, pastries, flour” etc as something that you mustn’t eat, for very important, undisclosed reasons.

Spicy by meaduva

Once the trip has come to an end, a digestive system cleanse is in order, whether or not you are sensitive to food. The best way to detox is through tea. Most detox tea ingredients act as anti-inflammatory, anti-infective, antioxidant, lymph system cleansers. They will wash out your intestines as if foreign food you’re unaccustomed to was never a problem.

Kate Flannery

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About the Author

Kate is an adventuring globetrotter, and a part-time sailboat crew-member. She likes authentic food, blogging, contemplating the eldritch, and playing with her two dogs.