For many people, vacation is a time for rest and relaxation; hotel rooms, dining out, and visiting local sights and attractions.
For others, vacation can be a struggle. Food allergies and restricted diets can prove challenging, especially when traveling to new cities. With enough research and prior planning, you can usually find somewhere safe to eat when traveling. The odds decrease however if the place you are traveling to is a small town, or if you are dealing with multiple allergies and intolerances.
You can take that same time and devote it to preparing your own food to take with you when you travel. The key is to have a list of foods that travel well, can be made in advance and served a day or two later, and can be eaten for either lunch or dinner.
I like to bring cold foods for lunch, such as grain salads, or sandwich spreads, and hot foods for dinner. Because I have to worry about cross contamination in shared dining spaces such as a continental breakfast, I also bring my own breakfast and snack foods. Fruit, trail mixes, granola and other easy to pack and travel items are great mix-and-match items.
I keep a list of each day, broken down by breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks and write down what the plan is for each day of the trip. The most perishable foods get eaten early in the trip and the foods that can last longer get saved for the end. If we have access to a fridge with a freezer, I have been known to plan for foods that can be frozen and reheated without issue, and freeze those items upon arrival. It’s all about pre-planning. Air BNB’s are making it a lot easier to travel with food allergies, especially if you have access to a kitchen. I recommend bringing along a bottle of cleaner.
I pack all my food into an insulated cooler bag filled with ice. When I arrive at my destination, I can easily dispose of the ice in a sink or tub. You will want to make arrangements with your hotel to have a room with a kitchenette, to ensure there is a microwave and a small fridge. If all you can get is a microwave, then travel with a hard cooler packed with ice. This works better if you are traveling by car and not plane. I also bring a large Ziplock bag with disposable plates, utensils and napkins. I pack my food in glass containers which allows me to heat them in the same containers they are stored in. This serves two purposes: the first is that I don’t have to bring any pots or pans or worry about access to a stove, and the second is that I can store, heat and then clean only one container per meal.
Because I travel most frequently with just my husband, we pack enough food for the both of us. Instead of dining out, we eat together in our room, and then spend our vacation time visiting local sights and attractions. So while it still takes time and planning, traveling with food allergies or a special diet is not impossible.
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