Why Having a Food Allergy Shouldn't Keep You From Traveling
By: Mussy Raitman, Lubicom Staff
Summer comes with that alluring feeling of endless opportunity.
School is out, uniforms are away, and anyone working through the summer knows that feeling of just wanting to be outside in between emails and conference calls, soaking up some vitamin D.
Throughout the whole year we’re locked into routine; day in and day out we are bound by a strict schedule. So it’s essential that once in a while we shake things up and re-energize away from the daily hustle. There’s no better time to do this than when the sun is shining.
Not only does taking time for yourself and your family allow you to meet new people and stay up late without the worry of being up early the next morning, but it also gives your body and mind a time to pause and relax.
However, after speaking around, I noticed a lot of individuals felt restrained when it comes to traveling because of food allergies. In general, planning a trip can be extremely stressful for anyone. Add a food allergy on top of that and it’s easy to understand why some people might be even more anxious and decide to skip that out-of-town vacation. And that’s when I discovered the solution to all these problems: Food Allergy Concierge.
Food Allergy Concierge is an organization based in Israel whose team of trained professionals allows individuals an allergy-free kosher vacation.
As we all know, planning a kosher vacation can be demanding for any Jewish family. But when you add allergies and a foreign country to the mix, it becomes seemingly impossible. Sometimes it just doesn’t feel worth it.
I had the pleasure of speaking to Dr. Eliana, the director of Food Allergy Concierge, and got a better understanding of how they operate and what services they provide.
MR- What is the main focus at Food Allergy Concierge?
Dr. Eliana- Our main goal is to ensure that our clients can fully relax on vacations around the world and focus on spending time with family instead of worrying about an allergy. We are a team of trained health professionals that are not only competent in allergy-free management but are also experienced in the laws of kashrut and religious sensitivities. We get involved right from the beginning and help plan your vacation from A-Z.
What are some of the services you provide?
We are proud to offer various services depending on the needs of our clients. No two of our client’s itineraries ever look the same. From food preparation, personalized catering, medical supervision, sterilizing accommodations, allergy cards, we really take care of it all.
Where are your services available?
We are available for vacations in the US, Europe, safaris in Africa, Israel, the Caribbean, the Far East, and other exotic locations.
We understand that flying is one of the most stressful parts of any journey; that is why we do everything humanly possible to ensure your smooth and seamless travel, working with all parties involved in your air travel to create a cooperative environment for allergy-safe travel.
Do you offer any of your own allergy-free vacation programs?
Yes. Right now, aside from working on private trips like cruise ships and remote islands, we offer a luxury safari tour for families with food allergies. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to let Food Allergy Concierge worry about the allergies while the families can just relax and enjoy their vacation.
Amazing! Do you also have a program catered specifically to vacationing in Israel?
Yes, whether a family is coming to celebrate a bar/bat mitzvah or looking for a meaningful summer vacation, Food Allergy Concierge has got you covered. We sterilize the apartment or hotel rooms they are staying in. We are also the only accredited allergy-safe catering option in Israel. We work with families to create fresh meals tailor-made to fit both their allergy profile and personal preferences.
Here are some additional tips on traveling with food allergies:
- Choosing a Destination
A lot of thought goes into selecting a destination for a vacation, it can feel overwhelming to pick the perfect place. When it comes to having a food allergy, it takes some extra thought. The first thing is to research a place, especially the food that is well known to that destination. For example, someone with a sesame allergy should stay away from villages in China. It would also be best to share your vacation options with your doctor and see if they give the go-ahead.
- Carry Medication
As mentioned above, it’s always best to check with your health care provider about your vacation plans. Your travel plans should always be discussed ahead of time so you can be sure you are traveling with all the right medications. Medications might not be the same overseas, and you don’t want to get stuck in a situation where you are relying on a local pharmacy. Packing enough medication allows that peace of mind knowing you won’t have to scramble around in times of emergency. It’s crucial to get a letter from your doctor describing your allergy and explaining the situation. This will help in all emergency situations, especially if there is a language barrier.
- Research Local Medical Care
It’s essential to do adequate research before you travel to find out the local medical services. This can be a quick Google search to familiarize yourself with the local hospitals and exactly how far away they are located. This way, if an emergency does spring up, you’ll know all your options.
- Carry Sanitizer
As most people with allergies are aware, sanitizing your hands frequently is the best way to prevent coming in contact with allergens. It’s essential to have everything on you instead of relying on your surroundings. Carrying around a large supply of hand wipes assures that you can clean any dirty surface, including seats and tray tables on planes, trains and all transportation where contact with allergens is likely.
Just remember, you manage your food allergies on a daily basis; you do it every single day. Going on a trip may be a little more stressful, but it is no different. You will feel a lot more confident once you have an emergency plan in place.
As always, be careful, stay alert, take the necessary precautions, and carry your medications wherever you go. Don’t take any chances.
Once you travel with a food allergy a couple of times, you will figure out the steps that work for you in creating a stress-free vacation. You’ll be able to feel like you are merely "traveling," instead of "traveling with an allergy." Travel is liberating, and everyone deserves to explore the world to some extent, whether you have a food allergy or not.