Travel with allergies

Food allergies can be a serious spoiler for trips. Language barriers make everything more challenging. When you have major food allergies, you could be in for a treat not knowing what the waiter just brought you. But you don’t have to step into the world without precautions. Luckily there are some options to make travel with allergies easier.

Travel With Allergies


On long distance flights, food is mostly included. When you reserve a flight, you can choose if your meal should be gluten free, kosher, vegetarian or something else. Having food allergies is not an option offered by airlines, but you can enter a comment and hope for the best. I once got a response to my comment. The airline customer service answered that they can’t adapt their menu to every dietary hype. That pissed me off. Allergies are definitely no hype, but lethal food intolerance. I replied that they might want to google ‘allergy’ before sending such emails.

The food on airplanes isn’t labeled. It doesn’t have a sticker with ingredients. Don’t ask me why not, but they don’t. So your best option is to ask the stewardess what it is you’re being served. They will try to get you some non-lethal food.

Not allergic to strawberries!

On the road

When we travel, I first make a list of my allergies in the language of the countries we visit. This website has some ready-to-print lists in multiple languages. I like the google translate option better because it allows you to make a specific list with only your own allergies without paying for it. Most websites offer paying options to print personal cards, but I’m more in for the free option. In translate, you can enter the name of the forbidden fruit and translate it to any language you need. It’s a good idea to also google images of the foreign word to make sure it’s right. The translations are pretty good, but you never know. I discovered last year that ‘soy’ and ‘bean sprouts’ aren’t what I thought they were. Yes. My English is near perfect. Make sure this list goes wherever you go. You could get hungry anywhere at any time and you don’t want a touristic tour around town in an ambulance.


Always carry your choice of basic allergy pills. I have an adrenaline pen, but I always leave it in the hostel. It is in my daypack, but I don’t carry my daypack for walking to a market or eat dinner across the street. I’m that lazy. I’m very careful about what I eat and I’ve never used my pen before. Officers in customs have searched my bags several times and never gave me any trouble over the allergy medication.

What to take with you

  • Your translated allergy list or point it booklet
  • Mild antihistaminic
  • Adrenaline pen
  • Your senses
Allergy Card

Point it?

Point it!

"Point it" is a product that could come in handy when traveling with allergies. It's a small booklet with images of the most common products and things. When traveling to countries where you don't understand the language, this may be a life saver.

What if something goes wrong

  • Carry first-aid medication.
  • Know the right word for allergy.
  • The international emergency number is 112. It works even when you don’t have a SIM card.
  • Travel insurance can help you to get help quicker in certain countries.
How to Travel with Food Allergy

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My name is Inge. I'm a traveler, writer and photographer. All those things I want to share with you. I've traveled a lot and wish to explore some more unknown territory.

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Travel with allergies

by Inge Reading time: 2 min