earth on a fork with food floating around it in space

Eating Internationally With Food Allergies

Last updated: September 2022

Traveling abroad for leisure is always thrilling. Visiting a new place you've never been to experience a new culture are some of the best gifts in life. But when you have food allergies, this can seem a bit daunting. What will you be able to eat? What if there aren't any of your safe foods around? Will you be able to try new foods? What if you have a reaction?

These questions are valid and should be thoroughly considered before booking a trip. Your allergy is a priority and, unfortunately, must be considered before planning to travel abroad.

So, as a result of a recent family vacation abroad, I thought I'd share how I prepared and managed throughout my trip. Let's take a look at what I did.

Plan ahead

First and foremost, I planned ahead of time. I gathered all the information about where I was staying, nearby restaurants, grocery stores, etc. I also had a family member who had already traveled to this particular destination multiple times, so I could ask my allergy-related questions and get thorough and trusted answers.

Check the menu

Since my trip consisted of 9 family members, we had a light itinerary in place. On our first night of arrival, we had reservations at a restaurant nearby. So I could look at the menu and know my food options.

Shop for allergy-friendly groceries

As a family, we opted to do a large grocery haul and eat most of our meals at home, as our rental had incredible hotel-like amenities, such as an infinity pool. In other words, this trip did not consist of much exploring but rather a relaxing lounge-by-the-pool kind of trip. So I was comfortable attending this vacation, knowing we would cook at home and I wouldn't be stressing about food.

Pack safe foods

Although I knew we would buy groceries, I still packed a few safe foods during travel. I packed snacks for the plane that I knew wouldn't bother me and other items like wheat and gluten-free bagels that are my go-to for breakfast.

I suggest packing the particular things you know wouldn't be available at a typical grocery store abroad. Remember you can't carry on liquids and bring certain foods into another country, like fruit. Check the TSA website to familiarize yourself with the rules.

Bring allergy medication

Of course, pack your allergy medications with you if you have an allergic reaction. You never know if you will miss a flight or stay longer than expected. When it comes to medicine, always, always pack extra. And carry it on; never put it in a checked bag if your luggage gets lost.

Be mindful about travel location

Although abroad, I chose a travel destination with amenities very similar to the United States—so I knew I would be comfortable. I also learned many of the locals spoke English, and I spoke their native language, Spanish. If an emergency happened, I felt comfortable communicating.

Don’t avoid travelling completely

Lastly, don't be afraid to travel abroad. I have found that in many countries the quality of food is fresher! A safe food of mine is fish, and while on vacation, I had the most mouth-watering, fantastic fish. Absolutely delicious! So don't believe that it is impossible to travel abroad, but it does take planning and organization.

If you have mild to moderate food allergies, have you traveled abroad? How did you manage?

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Allergies.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

or create an account to comment.

Community Poll

Have you ever had to change holiday plans due to you or your loved ones allergies?