Travel with Allergies: How to

How to Travel with Allergies

Travel with Allergies

Allergy: ‘A strong and abnormal to foreign substances’ when your immune system overreacts to something that doesn’t bother most people and, in spite of that….as many as 50 MILLION people suffer. It requires a little preparation but you CAN travel with allergies!

There are 2 types of allergies: Be prepared to travel with allergies.

Type 1: How to travel with allergies that are known:

This traveler has had allergy testing and has known allergies – anything from the ones that just make you miserable like hay fever to the ones that are very dangerous like food allergies.

Travel with Allergies: Prepare Ahead:

Call your dr: Ask for a note from your dr to take an EPI pen on the plane – not required, but makes life easier. Who wants to think about an EPI pen when you are headed on vacation? Getting through security is bothersome enough without adding anything to explain!

Keep prescription medications in labeled prescription bottles: Do this for ease.  You don’t want to explain different pills all crammed in an unmarked bottle AND you don’t want to try and remember which pill is which either!

Pack your first aid kit with everything you need: – benadryl, Zyrtec, steroid? Stuffy nose? Afrin. Itchy eyes? Visine. Whatever you could possible need – bring. Yes, there are pharmacies and doctors where you are going, but do you want to spend your time visiting them? Sometimes, allergic reactions happen during off hours anyway – mine always do!

Translate allergies into the local language: This is especially important for food allergies. Hand them out at a restaurant to make sure you don’t encounter your allergen. Order your custom food allergy translation card and have it with you.

Know your triggers: Do you get contact dermatitis from certain laundry detergents? Bring your own sleep sack. Do you find cigarette smoke irritating to your system? Ask your dr about a prevention plan -perhaps like Flonase.  Do you get hives from melons that have cross pollinated with weeds in the early fall? (I know that from personal experience.)  Don’t eat them!

Wear a bracelet or backpack charm to alert others to you allergy:  When you have a life threatening allergy time is critical. Save precious moments by alerting medical personnel of your allergy by wearing a medical alert bracelet or necklace charm or backpack charm. You can’t be too careful. This small investment could save your life!

Choose an allergy friendly hotel.  Allergic to Pets? Locate a hotel that doesn’t allow them or cleans up after them with allergies in mind.  The allergy friendly hotels on the list created by allerpassmd use information regarding pets, air filtration, allergy friendly floor coverings, dust mite proof beds, and more.

Choose the right airline based on their allergy policy.  So far the only allergy policy available is for peanut allergies. Some airlines have stopped serving peanuts if there are passengers on board with nut allergies and they make announcements asking passengers to refrain from using peanut items. Be aware they can’t actually MAKE anyone not use their peanut items so if you have really severe allergies, be sure to be ready with your emergency medical items. Other airlines place passengers with allergies in a ‘buffer zone’ which means they will place you near passengers that have been briefed on nut allergy safety, but you are required to notify the airline at least 48 hours ahead.

Choose your destination carefully. We all know that Disney is the happiest place on Earth, but did you know that part of that reason is that Disney employees are very aware and accommodating? Read more about Disney and food allergies. Look for more allergy friendly restaurants at Allergy Eats.

Talk to your travel companions. Discuss your allergies with your travel companions – especially children. Tell them what you are allergic to and what to do in an emergency. If you are headed to a destination where another language is spoken, tell the kids to show your medical alert tag to medical personnel during an emergency. Discussing allergies during a calm moment can prepare children for what to expect during an emergency. This helps them cope emotionally and also help out! Learn more about prepping the kids here. 

Type 2: How to Travel with Allergies you Don’t Know you Have

While I have known allergies, I also fall into this miserable category. I have food allergies to pecans and kidney beans. Isn’t that a weird combination? I do all of the above when I travel – just in case.

But allergies can just be weird and can catch you off guard. Once while traveling in Spain I had an allergic reaction to…..something. The whites of my eyes turned RED and burned and hurt like the dickens – I looked like Dragon Woman!!  Thankfully my MIL, who was traveling with us, carries an eye drop that contains an antihistamine which helped a lot. After that, our travel first aid kit contained those drops!

Travel with Allergies

Recently, while at a national hotel chain,  after showering and then toweling off I broke out in hives…so badly that my hives all grew together to be one large hive. I wanted to claw my skin off. Thankfully, this time my sister came to my rescue with the recommendation of Benadryl cream. Thanks sis! It had my hives receding within seconds and saved the day of exploring. Whew! After that, our travel first aid kit always contains Benadryl cream!

You never know when something weird will happen so be ready with information and your own travel first aid kit. 

Download the free UPGRADE now: Traveling with Food Allergies Comprehensive Information

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Happy, healthy travels,

Natalie, The Educational Tourist

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20 Responses

  1. These are great tips! It’s all about “the devil you know”, right? Best to be well prepared in advance. I’m allergic to dust and dander and it didn’t even occur to me that some hotels at which I stay might allow pets!

    • NatalieTanner says:

      Being prepared is the best bet! Early in my allergy journey I had a crazy weird reaction in the middle of the night (of course!) in a really small town….I have never left home since without a allergy first aid since!!

  2. Nadine Smith says:

    I guess I’m lucky that I am only allergic to dust. Food allergies are such party poopers when traveling! I never thought of these tips before though. Great post!

    Nadine Smith |

  3. Excellent information. I have a niece and nephew who are anaphylactic and the whole allergy situation is a matter of life and death from then. You have to be prepared for anything while travelling – takes a bit of time and effort but it’s 100% worth it.

  4. MARINA says:

    Thanks so much for the tips… I’m not allergic to anything, as far as I know, and I did never had problems with of got sick during my backpacking’s. But It’s always good to know hot to act to avoid freaking out on the other side of the world when being just by yourself.

    Thanks for the tips!

  5. Abigail says:

    Traveling with allergies is really difficult, let alone live with it. I am so lucky that I don’t have any kind of allergies, especially since I am a foodie and always love trying new places to eat whenever I travel. But these are some really handy tips for those who might have this issue.

    • NatalieTanner says:

      Lucky you! I developed them late so I had time to appreciate being foot loose and fancy free….can be a bummer at times now, but it doesn’t keep us at home and that is the most important part.

  6. Janine says:

    This is so helpful. I have a tomato allergy and it is the worst when travelling to Italy for example. I carry first aid with me and do try to go places where there is a variety, but it can be so hard especially if you cannot explain to the locals your issue.

    • NatalieTanner says:

      Yes, for that reason alone it is good to be prepared. Charades when someone in your party is feeling bad is just no fun at all! Glad to be of help!

  7. Although I don’t have any allergic so far but I will keep your tips in mind. Pre-caution is always much better especially during holiday. It can be a nightmare…~

    • NatalieTanner says:

      I developed them late so I had time to travel foot loose and fancy free. Now I have to be a little more careful, but at least it doesn’t keep us at home, right?? 🙂

  8. Some great advice here. I have recently developed an intolerance to eggs after having no issues all my life. While not as serious as an allegery (i.e not life threatening) the almost instamtanious vomiting is very unpleasant. I am particularly careful when I travel now which I didn’t have to think about much before.

  9. mappingmegan says:

    Fantastic tips – I think the biggest for me is knowing your triggers, and being aware of your surroundings so that you’re not putting yourself at any unnecessary rsk. Because it really can ruin a vacation 🙁

    Great advice on the medical first aid kit – I think too many travelers underestimate the importance of this, but we’ve found ours to be handy quite a number of times.

    • NatalieTanner says:

      Yes, being careful and watchful. When my allergies were first diagnosed, my husband was a big help. He’d remind me to check foods for example that I wasn’t used to checking yet…. now nothing passes my lips without checking first!!! LOL! You are right an allergic reaction can be a disaster….my sister’s recommendation of benadryl cream, which for me is much more effective than the spray and certainly travels better, saved the day once when I had a crazy reaction to ….well, we think it was the sheets. Still not sure.

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