Travelling short distances from home should be easy and relaxing. As I grow older, travelling safely in the company of my parents and siblings has grown into friends with our family to weekends away with my husband and our friends. Travelling in a group has its challenges, but when it is well planned out it can be a joyful and restful time. Having anaphylaxis, my mind never is at ease. Instead, my mind is whirling around about what I am going to eat for the next meal, who is eating what and the safety of my access to my next meal.
I have written out how I organize myself and bring awareness to others when I am travelling away from home with a group of people.
- Email the whole group to remind them about your allergies in advance. Sometimes just a quick reminder will jog their memory about what not to eat. Good friends will always care about your health! Email is great because if there is a member of the group you do not know is going they will have all the information about you going into the trip. Also, a written message can make certain there are no misunderstandings.
- Ask the group to check any labels of any store bought food. There could be a hidden ingredient inside of a product (i.e. Worcestershire sauce contains anchovies)
- Travel to a destination with a kitchen or kitchenette. From camping to a hotel room or staying in a condo, having a fridge and cooking appliance saves money and stress. Being able to travel with ready-made food or “foodsafe” products can be a convenient way to store and heat food, especially in a time of hunger.
- Meal planning. Whether it is “family style” meals or “bring your own meals”, ensuring that no one is cooking and/or eating an allergen is important for safety. Letting the group know what you feel comfortable being in contact with can ease everyone’s mind. Cross contamination is a leading cause of allergic reactions. Friends and family understanding this type of food safety is an essential element of sharing food.
- Clean all surfaces with soap and water, the best buddy I could ask for. Make sure you or someone in your group wipes down all surfaces where food preparation and eating occurs.
- Snacks, snacks, snacks. From a day trip to a week-long vacation, I like to be prepared for hunger attacks. Bringing more food than you think you might need is important. There could be delay before a next meal or an unplanned circumstance.
At all times, I carry my Epi-Pen which is always in my nearby purse. My husband, J, always knows where it is and if I am not travelling with him I give the location to a close friend. Understanding the severity is key when dealing with your personal health and safety. I have learned over the years to not be embarrassed about my condition and to not be shy about voicing my concerns about if I feel uncomfortable in a situation.