TRAVELLING WITH DIETARY RESTRICTIONS
Whether you have food intolerance or rigid preferences, travelling with dietary restrictions can be a bit of a challenge, especially if going to a place where you don’t speak the local language. But do not despair; it is totally possible to enjoy your trip and avoid bad surprises with a bit of preparation.
It’s pretty easy to find information about local cuisine, online and in travel guides. If you have a specific destination in mind, look for the typical meals and what to expect, learn important keywords, you can even find restaurants ahead on sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor and travel blogs. If you have a dietary restriction but no particular destination planned, you can look on search engines for things like "vegan-friendly destinations" or "where to travel with a nut allergy". If you are planning a resort vacation, inquire before booking about their policy for customers with special diets.
Bring a Visual of Your Dietary Restriction
Use a website to print/order an allergy card translated tin the local language of the country you’ll visit. If you plan on visiting many countries, you might want to consider downloading an app instead (if you know you’ll have cell phone service and data) or downloading the allergy cards on your device. Here are few options that are free of charge or affordable: Allergy Action, AllergyTranslation, Food Allergy Research & Education, Food Allergy Translate and Select Wisely.
Find Accommodations Allowing You to Cook
If you want to be extra safe (and probably save money), book at a hostel that has a communal kitchen or find a vacation rental that will give you full cooking autonomy.
Pack Lots of Snacks
Better safe than hungry; pack a sufficient number of nonperishable snacks to sustain you in case you can’t find what you’re looking for in the plane or at your destination.
Bring Allergy Medication
Make sure to carry allergy medication (antihistamines and/or emergency epinephrine shot) and sterile wipes to clean the cooking/eating surfaces and utensils if needed.
Be Mentally Prepared
Although it’s relatively easy to find food that will respect your diet pretty much anywhere in the world, a little bit of flexibility (if possible) and tolerance will go a long way. If your meals start to get redundant, find the silver lining and keep in mind that the quality of a trip is more than just the food; the landscapes, activities, smells, drinks and people you’ll meet are all part of what will make your adventure memorable (even the worst parts).