Living with a life-threatening allergy can turn holiday planning into daunting task - when it's suppose to be an exciting one! Whether you are travelling for business or pleasure, careful planning is essential to making sure you have a happy and safe trip. We've put together some of our most important tips about how to travel with an allergy (especially a peanut one!).
Know what you're looking for? Skip ahead to read:
Before taking off, learn how dishes at your travel destination are often prepared, what ingredients are commonly used and where hidden allergens might be lurking. Fortunately, unlike many other food intolerances, peanut allergies are widely understood worldwide - so menus will often be clear about foods containing peanuts.
You probably know the foods you need to avoid at home, but foods abroad can be a little trickier. You should not be afraid to eat adventurously with food allergies, but you do need to prepare. If you are looking forward to enjoying a particular food abroad, look online first and do some research.
If you are a keen foodie and want to experiment with the local cuisine, a lot of cities have food tours available. Many of these are run by companies that have English-speaking staff, who are familiar with the most common food allergies.
Travelling with a food allergy? It's good to declare existing medical conditions when organising your travel insurance plan.
As the peanut allergy is one of the most common food allergies in the world, here's a list of the countries most likely to serve food with nuts.
However, don't be scared to travel to these places with a peanut allergy if it is on your bucketlist! There are plenty of other dining options such as Western style restaurants, like pizza, burgers or sandwich bars. Many Asian countries cook with peanuts but if you're eager to delve into Asian Cuisine, the most peanut allergy-friendly country is Japan. Check out our 12 day itinerary for Japan to make the most out of your trip!
Some other countries where peanuts are less likely to be an issue are the United States, New Zealand and Canada - due to their similar diet and all being English speaking nations. Europe is also a safe option, as peanuts are not generally used in most of their cooking. Most menus also list the potential allergens.
It is important to bring a full supply of any medication you need to cope with your allergy, but you should also bring information regarding your condition, written in English and in the local language (if possible!). Remember to also pack your travel insurance documents and instructions for potential doctors regarding the medications you are taking. Prepare for the worst and you'll be more likely to stay safe if an unfortunate scenario happens.
Translation cards can be a useful thing to pack for each country you are visiting. Having a message explaining your food allergy in the local language will be a useful tool to show your waiter before ordering a meal. These messages can either be translated online, or ask your hotel staff to help you.
Forgotten to pack something? Read through our holiday preparation checklist before you jet off!
Many companies will be accommodating to your needs, but be sure to communicate your specific needs ahead of time—this applies to airlines, hotels and tour groups. If you do not see ingredient information listed on their websites, don’t be afraid to give the company a call. Be clear and direct about your needs. Some airlines no longer serve peanuts, so if this sounds like the best option for you, consider researching into these particular companies.
Packing your own travel snacks before leaving home can also come in handy! Flight attendants and hotel staff are only human, and they can make mistakes. Take a look at a few of our healthy travel snack suggestions and don't forget to pack some on your next holiday.
Cooking is a wonderful way to save money on the road and be sure you know what is in your meals. Incorporate local flavours by looking up recipes online or asking residents. Do take precautions when cooking, though, and be sure you understand the water quality in the country you are visiting, as this can complicate your abilities to cook. As well, cooking your own food can help you stay under budget! Make sure to check out our guide to cooking affordable food while travelling.
Having your own stash of food on you when you are out for long days is also a must-do. Don't feel under stress when you are hungry in an unknown place where the food packaging is in a different language or if the restaurants are too risky. Stay prepared and always have a few snacks in your bag.
Do you also suffer from gluten-intolerance or coealic disease? Don't forget to read our 7 tips for travelling gluten-free.
If you have an existing medical condition, such as a life-threatening allergy, remembering travel insurance is important. Many travellers with existing conditions think they cannot obtain travel insurance, but this is incorrect. Consider a pre-existing travel insurance policy from Cover-More. Not only does travel insurance protect you in the event of an emergency, but it makes sure you see an approved, English-speaking doctor. If you're unsure, make sure to read our FAQ's about our policies and compare plans.
If you are travelling to New Zealand or the United Kingdom, do not forget to consider travel insurance. While Australia does have a reciprocal health insurance agreement with New Zealand, it does not have one with the United Kingdom. In addition, some health needs (like ambulance rides) are not covered in the reciprocal agreement. As SmarTraveller says, ‘if you can afford to travel, you can afford travel insurance’.
Many parents of children with peanut allergies think foreign travel is too risky. While this may be the case in specific scenarios, it is not true for every child. If you do decide to travel with your child with an allergen, arm yourself with knowledge. Take all of these tips to heart and work twice as hard to make sure they are executed.
Even though our kids may be fussy eaters, luckily enough some of the safest dining options will surely be a favourite option for them. Large food chain stores such as McDonalds will have strict food safety regulations in place all around the world. So if all else fails trying the local cuisine, Maccas will be an option that your kids are not only familiar with and love, but will be a safe option.
Material on this website is provided for informational purposes only. It is general information and discussion about medicine, health and related subjects may not apply to you as an individual, and is not a substitute for your own doctor’s medical care or advice. The words and other content provided on this website, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, they should consult with an appropriately licensed physician or other health care worker. Nothing contained on the website is intended to establish a physician-patient relationship, to replace the services of a trained physician or health care professional, or otherwise to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The views and opinions expressed on this website have no relation to those of any academic, hospital, practice or other institution with which the authors are affiliated. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Cover-More Insurance Services Pty Ltd. Never disregard medical advice or delay seeking medical care because of something you have read on or accessed through this website. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or emergency services immediately.