Planning to travel with food allergies is no small task. I’ve done it, mostly for the weddings of family and friends, or for a vacation in a house with a kitchen. Traveling to a place with a kitchen is a great way to travel with food allergies! Shorter trips, though, or trips that involve hotel stays, can be a bit trickier. Those have not been the best experiences for me, mostly because I didn’t plan well enough.
I learned the hard way that if I miss the hotel fruit-and-yogurt continental breakfast option, I may not find another. “I’m sure I’ll find someplace that has a bagel” may not be the case when you take the New Yorker out of New York state. And when you are with a big group, it can be difficult if you don’t want to force everyone out of the Mexican restaurant they’ve been wanting to try.
My solution? I need to get better at traveling. Traveling is not the number one priority in my life, so I haven’t made it a huge priority with food allergies. My private practice, my family, my home… these are my primary focus. I’m up for an adventure here and there, but I’m not hopping on a plane to Tokyo on a whim. That being said, if I want to travel in the future with any sort of ease, or join in a family vacation in the future without inducing panic, I need to make it a priority.
Later this winter, I’ll be traveling for a long weekend to Georgia. Thankfully, I have a wonderful sister and sister-in-law who agreed to join for a short trip to see a new place and support me in practicing food-allergy travel. I’m now researching restaurants and food options in the area we plan to stay. I look up a couple of restaurants, and when I start to feel anxious about the whole thing, I take a break (or plan out foods I can pack with me).
I’ll keep you posted on how it goes! And for those of you reading with your own food restrictions, please feel free to comment with any tips or advice on travel strategies that have worked for you.