Whether your child is out of school for summer break or you are getting ready to visit family for the holidays, we all get an urge to take a break from our regular yearly routine and go out in the world exploring.
There is always a lot to consider when planning a trip. Where will you go, how will you get there, who will join you in your adventure? Traveling with a food allergy adds yet another caveat to the plan: What will you eat and how much Neocate will you need to bring?
Some parents wonder about the best way to bring Neocate along on their vacation, whether it’s a road trip or flight. Many parents are concerned about the high temperatures during summer months and whether this will be a problem when transporting Neocate. We also get questions about obtaining Neocate in other countries.
Let us here help you get ready, set and go for a successful trip planning.
Planning is the key to success in so many areas of life and planning for travel is no exception. Lodging and transportation plans are always on top of the list. For those of us in the food allergy community, food and formula plans are also a top priority.
You will want to be ready for your trip to know restaurants in the area that can accommodate your food allergy needs. A good place to start is by reviewing our recent blog on Food Allergies and Dining Out to help you prepare for your travels.
You will also want to calculate how much Neocate you will need for your trip, and this is not the time to be conservative. When calculating the amount of formula you will need for the entire trip, it’s best add extra for any unexpected delays you might encounter. For example, we once heard from a family that was stuck in another country with their flight being delayed by couple of days. Without a buffer of formula, they had to look for a local pharmacy to get a refill. Save yourself the stress and headaches by planning.
Example how to calculate how much Neocate you might need on your trip:
First start with the number of ounces of formula your baby drinks each day. Multiply this by the number of days you will be gone, including the travel days. For example, if you’ll be away for seven days total, including travel days, and your baby drinks 20 fl oz per day, you’ll need 140 fl oz over the course of the trip. Each can of Neocate Syneo yields about 95 fluid ounces (at the standard dilution of 20 calories per ounce), so you divide 140 by 95 and round up. This example baby would need about two cans of formula for the trip. Once you know the number of cans you will need, I recommend packing an extra can just in case travel plans change unexpectedly.
If you are like me and take a bit of time to return to your usual schedule after a vacation, then you may also want to consider how much Neocate you will need to carry you through the following week or even 2 weeks after your vacation as well.
Now that you know how much Neocate you will need for your trip, time to plan how you will travel with your formula. The decision to make at this stage is, should I pack it or ship it?
If your travel plans make it possible, you can pre-order Neocate ahead of time and have it shipped to your desired destination. Did you know if you order directly from our website orders over $25 get free ground shipping? View available Neocate products.
Shipping product ahead of your arrival may help lighten the load of what you will need to pack and carry with you, which can be especially helpful when traveling by plane. If you decide to go with this route, consider packing some emergency supplies with you just in case. Going this route will also require for you to call your destination to alert them that you are expecting a package, ask how it should be addressed, and provide any other instructions that are needed for storage.
If you decide to pack and travel with your Neocate products, make sure you check the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) guidelines for what you can carry on board and through security and onto your flight. TSA has regulations about flying with liquids for you or your family member. Formula, breast milk and juice for infants or toddlers are permitted to be brought on board the aircraft. Older individuals (older child, teen or adult) may also travel with Neocate.
Whether traveling by plane, train, car, bus or boat you want to pack some Neocate with you to ensure you have what you need with extra just in case.
Want more tipcs for packing? Here are some tips and a check list of items you will want to include:
- Epinephrine & Medications - Make sure to keep medications and your epinephrine auto-injector with you in case they are needed during transit. This will also ensure that, should something either delay or inhibit your luggage from meeting you at your destination, you have medications on hand. If your child has epinephrine, 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.
- Allergy Cards - Having allergy cards ready for those who might want or need them such as airline staff, restaurant staff, or even family members can help provide a clear outline of the types of foods that will cause your little one to have a reaction. Our Neocate Footsteps App can help you create an allergy card if needed.
- Antibacterial Wipes
- Allergy-friendly snacks - Snacks are always a good idea when you travel as you never know when a delay or change in plans may happen and you will need a snack. Traveling with food allergies makes this even more important as you may not have access to items that are appropriate for you. Check out the TSA Guidelines for Food allowed if you plan to fly for the most up-to-date information on regulations.
- Games, reading material, or entertainment. (Parenting hack: One of the mom’s on our team likes to wrap old toys and games in gift wrap paper to make her toddler feel like they are getting a present)
- Diaper Bag (If you need a separate checklist of items for packing an Allergy-Friendly Diaper Bag)
- Wallet, purse, cash, ATM cards, any other financial documents you will need
- All travel documents including your ID, passport, and IDs for your children if needed
- Printouts of all reservations and itinerary (for when you can’t find that Wi-Fi connection)
Craving additional prep tips? We have ideas from friends who can help. Get more tips by reading a firsthand account from a mom Gina Clowes, founder of AllergyMoms.com, who has traveled with food allergies herself. Read her Food Allergy Travel Tips.
You can also view the following free webinar from Kids with Food Allergies featuring guest speakers Laurel Francoeur, JD, and Matthew Greenhawt, MD, MSc. The presentation covers legal restrictions, disability issues, TSA regulations, peanut dust and inhalation studies, and how to prevent allergic reactions on airplanes.
Finally, time to get out and enjoy your trip. You are all set, prepared for the unexpected, and ready to enjoy time away with your loved ones. Should you find that you need more Neocate along the way, use this Find a Pharmacy tool from our website to help you located the Neocate you need, also available in the Neocate Footsteps App. Please call the pharmacies that are listed in your search to be sure they have Neocate in stock, and especially the Neocate option you are looking for particularly. If not, keep in mind that Neocate products can be special ordered with doctor’s recommendation.
Keep in mind that all unopened Neocate should be stored at room temperature in a cool dry place and avoid extreme temperatures. Once Neocate powder has been prepared or a Neocate Splash drink box has been opened, it should be stored in the refrigerator and used within 24 hours or discarded. Prepared Neocate or opened drink boxes are safe at room temperature for up to 4 hours, at which time any unused formula should be discarded. Once your loved one starts to drink their Neocate from a bottle, cup, or drink box it should be consumed or discarded within 1 hour.
In case you are concerned about the safety of your Neocate while in transit, perhaps this will help put your mind at ease for your pending travel. Short term exposure to temperature such as those you might encounter on your travels, like time in the airplane cargo hold or the warm summer temperature in your car, do not pose a risk to product quality or stability. Those extreme temperatures do not become a concern unless a product is left at those temperatures for an extended period of time, for example several days or weeks.
Lastly, if your travel plans include flying out of the country you might be wondering whether Neocate can be purchased in other countries. The short answer is "maybe." Neocate is sold around the world, however, it is not available everywhere, not all products are available in all countries that have Neocate, and every country has different processes for obtaining it (through a doctor, pharmacy, mail, etc). You should not assume that it is easily obtainable and in most cases, it is easiest to just bring along enough formula for your trip. If you are going to another country for an extended amount of time and don’t think you can bring a big enough supply with you, call Nutricia’s global office or the office of the country where you are heading to see if you can purchase Neocate locally. If you can arrange this, be sure to bring as much formula as possible with you just in case there is a delay in obtaining the formula locally once you arrive.
What other Neocate questions or concerns do you have when you prepare for your family for Summer travel? How do you prepare to travel with Neocate?
Share your stories, tips for others, or even pictures in the comments below.
--Kristin Crosby MS, RDN, LDN