Traveling with Food Allergies: The Importance of Planning Ahead

Posted 4.29.10 | Mallory West

<div xmlns:cc="" about=""><a rel="cc:attributionURL" href=As the weather warms up and school lets out, many of you are likely planning a summer vacation with your family. When you have a child with food allergies, traveling can be stressful because you are out of your comfort zone. By planning ahead, you can ensure that the trip goes smoothly and that your child gets to experience all of the fun. It will also take away a lot of your anxiety so that you can relax and enjoy your vacation time too! Here are some tips for planning your next vacation.

Automatic Epinephrine Injectors (EpiPens)

If your child has an automatic epinephrine injector (or EpiPen), make sure it isn’t expired and consider packing an extra just in case. Have it handy at all times and get an insulated carrying case to prevent it from getting too hot or cold.

Air travel

Traveling by plane can be incredibly stressful for those with food allergies, especially those with peanut allergy and anaphylaxis. However, there are steps you can take to minimize the risk for an allergen exposure.

  • Ask ahead if you can pre-board so that you can clean the area around your child’s seat.
  • Bring a sheet or cover for the seat.
  • Call ahead to alert the airline of your child’s food allergies and find out about their policies. Some airlines are more allergy-friendly than others so do your research. For example, in the past Delta airlines will create a “buffer zone” of 3 rows where they will not serve snacks containing peanut ingredients.
  • Request a special meal that accommodates your child’s dietary restrictions if you are flying on an extended flight where a meal is served.
  • Prepare for anything! Even when all precautions are taken, you can never completely eliminate the risk for allergen exposure. Have emergency plans and medication handy at all times.

Road trips

Road trips are generally less stressful because you have control over what comes into the car. However, it still requires a lot of planning to ensure you bring along enough safe foods for the trip. Check out Kids with Food Allergies for some great tips on how to plan effectively for your vacations & road trips.

Amusement Parks

In addition to being the happiest place on earth, Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida is also perhaps the most accommodating place on earth. With ample notice, Dining Services can accommodate just about any dietary restriction. Disney Land, in Anaheim, California, also strives to accommodate dietary restrictions. Other parks, like Six Flags and Busch Gardens, will usually provide an exception to the rules about bringing food into the park when a person has a food allergy or intolerance.

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Based on your experiences, what tips can you offer other parents about traveling with a child with food allergies?

- Mallory

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About Us

Food Allergy Living is a resource for parents of children with food allergies, brought to you by Nutricia, the makers of Neocate. For more in-depth information about our purpose & authors, see our About Food Allergy Living page.