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Summer Trips with Food Allergies



Yay, it’s finally summer! With the season of sunshine, beaches, and vacation trips on the horizon, everyone deserves to have fun – especially those of us with allergies! So, while planning your next weekend getaway or road trip, here are a few tips and strategies that I will be using to plan my summer vacation trips as a teen with food allergies.


1. Before leaving for a trip, make a list of restaurants in the area that are safe for your allergies

I recently took a four-day trip to Nashville, Tennessee. During the week before the trip, my dad and I compiled a list of local restaurants around the area that looked food-allergy-friendly. For my allergies (dairy, wheat, eggs, nuts, shellfish, and sesame), we chose a combination of barbecue, sushi, and Mexican restaurants around Nashville. We created a list of restaurants along with what specific dishes from each restaurant we thought would best work for my allergies.


When creating a list of restaurants, it’s helpful to first find which local restaurants are the most famous or popular. Then, navigate the online menus to narrow down which ones are food-allergy-friendly. This way you can find restaurants that are not only safe for allergies but are also popular and unique to wherever you are going. Another tip is to identify any familiar chain restaurants in the area. It’s reassuring to always have a chain restaurant as a backup just in case you change your mind about trying something new.


2. Have a food plan for the airport

Having a food plan for the airport, especially if you’re taking a longer trip, is one of the most essential yet easily overlooked parts of travel. My flight to Nashville was around 2 hours and 45 minutes, but I also had to factor in the time spent waiting for boarding and any potential delays. While it is great if you can find a food-allergy-friendly meal at the airport restaurants, they tend to be unpredictable. The long lines, slow service, and potential cross-contamination make airport restaurants challenging; especially if you have allergies, you don’t want to take any chances if you are going to be flying in the air. So, for my Nashville trip and most other trips I take, I always pack a thermos with hot food from home. I also pack a snack bag with all of my favorite allergy-friendly chips and candy in case I want more food on the flight. I feel much more prepared and safer when I know I have a full meal ready for me in my bag. Even if I decide not to eat it, it’s nice to know that I have it just in case.


3. Pack an allergy kit

Packing for a trip can be hectic and overwhelming (I’m looking at you, vacation outfits!). However, don’t forget to pack your allergy essentials! In my allergy kit, I always pack Benadryl pills, my EpiPen, and some sort of emergency snack. I bring this kit with me in my carry-on and store it in my purse when I’m out and about enjoying my trip. While it seems obvious to pack your allergy essentials, it’s easy to forget! Setting a reminder on your phone or packing your kit first thing is how I always remember my essentials.


4. Don’t worry, just have fun!

While it’s important to be cautious and stay safe when traveling with food allergies, don’t let these worries consume you. It just takes a few simple reminders and some preparation to figure out your food allergy plan so the rest of your trip can be all about having fun. On vacation, I love to do activities that aren’t centered around food; they’re a great way to relieve anxiety and lean into the fun of summer vacation. We have all survived a stressful school year and have had the courage to take on all the challenges our allergies throw our way. Let yourself have fun – you deserve it!



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