This summer I’ve been lucky enough to go away twice! Once on a child-free girly trip to Lagos in Portugal and then on our family holiday to Ibiza.
With both my eldest and youngest sons suffering from food allergies as well as myself, I’ll be honest the thought of staying away can fill me with dread especially since my eldest’s recent confirmed nut allergy!
Having had his first allergic reaction to nuts on holiday in Majorca last year, this year I have had the added worry.
In order to ensure we all stay well clear of our food allergens whilst on holiday, I jotted down a few tips which I thought I’d share as you may find it useful!
1) Contact the hotel before you travel
A month before we jetted off, I got in touch with the hotels where we were staying. I emailed the reception with our booking details with our dietary needs outlining our allergens.
More often than not you will get a reply outlining that they will happily go through the foods available when you arrive and depending on the hotel will often get the restaurant manager to go through what you can and can’t have whilst on your stay.
That said despite emailing the hotel where we stayed in Portugal, when I arrived I was given a ‘gluten-free ‘breakfast box but they had failed to address the dairy allergy so whilst the food on offer was gluten-free, it was packed full of dairy which meant of course I couldn’t eat it.
And don’t get me started on the ‘all inclusive’ restaurant in Ibiza!
2) Pack snacks, snacks and more snacks
Take some of your daily food staples with you if you can! Given the above situation, I was lucky in that I’d decided to take some gluten and dairy free bread with me in my suitcase. (The Tesco free from loaf is fab as it’s in two smaller compartments meaning it won’t go off so quickly as you don’t have to open a whole loaf, and you can take half a loaf if you are only going on a short trip!) I also carefully packed Oatly long life oat drink (Make sure to get the one off the shelf, not from the fridge) and stored it in the mini-fridge in our room once we arrived.
Make sure to pack snacks in your hand luggage too as often at airports it can be hard to find something suitable amongst the chaos of travelling. Finding Dairy AND gluten free foods is hard enough, let alone in the confinements of the departure lounge or worse still once onboard the plane!! (Paprika Pringles were practically the only thing on board!)
Plus kiddies want snacks all.the.time don’t they?
We took some nut free long life pastries which the older two ate for breakfast as well as ‘nut free’ snack bars and fruit.
My youngest still likes a bottle with breakfast so we took two bottles full of the Oatly oat milk in my hand luggage (which they tested when we went through security). He happily drank one of them onboard and then used the other mixed with his porridge and fruit pot allowing him to have his normal breakfast onboard. I love it when a plan comes together!
3) Research your food allergens in other languages
Prior to travel, research the names of your allergens in the language spoken in the country where you are travelling to. For example, milk in Spanish is ‘Leche’ and ‘may contain’ is ‘puede contener’ and peanuts is ‘mani’. It makes it so much easier to spot the allergens on the menus and makes it a damn sight easier to translate foreign food labels. If in doubt use Google Translate – It really helps.
5) Be Emergency smart!
In case of emergency make sure you know the local emergency numbers should you need to call an ambulance. You just never know if you will ever need to use it – but if you are in that situation, at least you will be prepared!
6) Pack your medications!
Prior to travel, check with your airline whether you are able to take your medicines on board in your hand luggage without a doctors note. We took my sons 2 x Epi-Pens in a bumbag along with his antihistamine. We didn’t need a doctors note but were told to ensure we had the box that it came in with the prescription sticker on (which had his details on). If you are taking liquid medications like over the counter antihistamine, it’s always useful to make sure they are under 100ml to make sure it gets through!
Also if you are going to hotter climates be sure to store your Epi-pens correctly by ensuring they don’t get too hot. They need to be kept between 15-25 degrees.
7) Trust your instincts
If you are eating out and you get the impression an establishment isn’t taking your dietary/allergy issues seriously, just don’t take the risk. It’s always best to trust your gut instinct than regret listening to it and having a reaction. Luckily we found a lovely restarant in Ibiza where the food was tasty and our allergies were taken seriously. We loved it so much we went back on our last night!
8) Enjoy your holiday and don’t feel like a nuisance!
Please please remember this!
Whilst at times it can feel like others think you are ‘making a fuss’, or ‘being picky’, just remember you are not!! You are looking after your needs. Ensuring you stay safe for which you have every right!
Our holiday to Ibiza has opened my eyes to the issues and troubles that those with food allergens face.
I will be writing a blog outlining the issues we faced… and trust me there are a lot. I’ll be doing so to help raise awareness on food allergies and how big establishments are still getting it so so wrong!
Firstly I shall be contacting the holiday company to highlight and outline my concerns…I’ll keep you posted!
Have you any tips that you’d like to share to help others travelling with food allergies?
Please leave them below!!
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