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 and travel with Neocate. Some become 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 when traveling with Neocate. 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. This is not the time to be conservative. When calculating the amount of Neocate formula you will need for the entire trip it’s best add extra for any unexpected delay 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 and packing extra.
Example how to calculate how much Neocate you might need on your trip:
First start by asking how many ounces of formula does your baby drink 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 oz per day, you’ll need 140 oz over the course of the trip. Each can of Neocate yields 85 fluid ounces (at the standard dilution of 20 calories per ounce), so you divide 140 by 85 and round up. So you’ll need about two cans of formula for the trip. Now that 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 additional formula might come in handy. 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, 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 and provide any other instructions that are needed for storage.
If you decide to pack and travel with 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.
Travelers must tell the TSA officer at the beginning of the screening process that they wish to bring formula, breast milk and juice in excess of 3.4 ounces in their carry-on bag. These liquids do not have to fit within a quart-sized bag like other liquids. The formula, breast milk and juice are typically screened by X-ray, and any of these liquids in excess of 3.4 ounces will receive additional screening. Ice packs and other accessories required to cool formula, breast milk and juice are also permitted through the screening checkpoint but may be subject to additional screening.
Some Neocate families have told us that they’ve met TSA officers who aren’t used to seeing an older individual requiring a medical food like Neocate before. If you or your loved one is older, it may also help to bring a doctor’s note explaining that Neocate is medically necessary. TSA recommends that if you plan to travel with large quantities of medically necessary liquids you should coordinate your screening by contacting a Passenger Support Specialist prior to your flight. Since guidelines for traveling can change at any time, it’s best to review TSA guidelines for traveling with medications including liquids and TSA guideline for traveling with children to have a clear understanding of traveling with breast milk and formula such as Neocate.
When packing, make sure to bring enough formula for the flight in your carry-on bags. You might want to bring even some extra just in case your checked bags get lost. Neocate can be prepared ahead of time and kept in a refrigerator for up to 24 hours. It can be stored at room temperature for up to 4 hours. So if you have a long flight, consider bringing a little cooler for your bottles.
Are any extended family or other friends included in your travel plans? Well then don’t hesitate to enlist their help in packing the Neocate you will need to keep on hand while traveling. No need for you to carry your Neocate all by yourself if other family is available and willing to lend a hand or even a suitcase.
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 about packing? Here are some tips and a check list of items you will want to include:
- Epinephrine & Medications – Making sure to keep medications and your epinephrine auto-injector with you will be useful if they are needed during transit, but will also ensure that should something either delay or inhibit your luggage from meeting you at your destination that you have medications on hand. If your child has an automatic epinephrine injector, 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. Read more about the Neocate Footsteps App.
- 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 or some inspiration. We have you covered. Read Allergy-Friendly Diaper Bag blog post.
- Financial documents and items – Wallet, purse, cash, ATM cards, any other financial documents you will need
- All travel documents including your ID, passport, and ID 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 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. Please call the pharmacies to be sure they have Neocate product you need in stock now. 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 temperature. Once Neocate powder has been prepared or a 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 Neocate while traveling:
Short term exposure to temperature such as those you might encounter in the airplane cargo hold or the hot 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.
If your travel plans include flying out of the country, you might be wondering whether Neocate can be purchased internationally. The short answer is maybe. Neocate is sold around the world, however, it is not available everywhere. Every country has different processes for obtaining Neocate (through a doctor, pharmacy, mail, etc). You should not assume that it is easily obtainable. 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.
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