Traveling with food allergies can make even the shortest and most enjoyable trip a challenge. Traveling always has its frustrations–from lost luggage to canceled flights–but if you also have to deal with food allergies and intolerances, you may conclude that it’s easier to stay home. But before you cancel your tickets and unpack your backs, check out these tips for traveling with food allergies.

Plan Ahead

Take the time to do some research before you leave home. Ask the hotel where you’re staying for the names of some local restaurants they recommend,  then look at the restaurants’ menus online. If you have any concerns, call the restaurant ahead of time. With a little prep work, you’ll know exactly where to go and which dishes to choose.

Bring Your Own Snacks

I find that one of the hardest things about traveling is finding snacks that I can eat in airports and on the road. Instead of risking a reaction or going without, I always pack my own snacks. Leave snacks in their original packaging in case security has any questions.

Travel Safely

If you’re likely to have a severe allergic response when you’re exposed, make sure that you always have an epi-pen nearby.  Bring along at least two and keep them in a place you can access quickly (never in your checked bag, of course).

Check the Flight Policies

Before you book your flight, check your airline’s policy when it comes to allergens. Nuts can life-threatening  for those who are severely allergic, for example. Many airlines no longer serve bags of peanuts during beverage service, but other snacks and food for sale can pose risks. If you need to make a special meal request, give the airline as much notice as possible to accommodate your needs.

Request Allergy-Friendly Rooms

Check with your travel agent or on hotel websites to see if there is an allergy friendly hotel in the area you are visiting. If there is nothing available, you may be able to find a hotel with an allergy-friendly floor or room. Be sure to ask if there is a doctor or nurse at the hotel, or if there is an on-call doctor in the area.

With enough research and planning, traveling with an allergy or food intolerance isn’t as tricky as you might think. Bon voyage!

I’d love to hear your food allergy travel tips!