My name is Caitlyn and I am allergic to wheat, eggs and nuts. One of my biggest interests is travelling. I personally caught the travel bug in high school when I travelled for a week and a half to England and France on a school trip. My first solo trip happened right after I graduated high school when I travelled to Costa Rica for two weeks, where I volunteered to work at a sea turtle conservation site. Currently, after finishing my second year of nursing school, I am combining two of my passions—travelling and nursing by volunteering for three weeks in Tanzania working in a hospital with the organization Work the World. With any kind of travelling there is a lot of planning and organization involved, especially if your travels are for an extended period of time. On top of this, having allergies adds a lot of responsibility and things that need to be accounted for.
Though this isn’t my first time travelling abroad, to organize this trip there were still a lot of measures and precautions I had to take to make sure I stay safe with my allergies. Precautions that I took included making sure I will be able to safely eat when I am in Tanzania. To do this, I informed the organization I am working with about my allergies very early on. This allowed them to take steps to ensure there is food for me. I will be staying at a house through the organization that has a cook who can make sure all meals will be allergy friendly. When it comes to eating out, language barrier is a huge issue and something that always concerns me a great deal when travelling. To help with this, I was able to find a company that provides wallet size pocket cards that state all my allergy information in Swahili. I will still have to be vigilant when eating food, always carry my medicine with me and make sure I know where local medical facilities are located just in case.
Other preparations I have taken to make sure I stay safe during my trip with my allergies include making sure all my medications are up to date (something that should be done anyways!) and making sure I have multiples of my medications as well. I will be packing these medications in different bags reducing my chances of losing any medications for reasons such as loss or misplaced luggage. In order to make sure I am safe in flight, I contacted the airlines I will be travelling with and made sure all snacks provided are nut free—I have a nut allergy and some airlines apparently will still distribute peanuts as snacks, luckily my airline does not. I did have trouble finding a meal that is offered by the airline which is egg, nut and wheat free since my airlines were unfortunately not that accommodating. Since I am aware of this I am able to plan ahead and make sure I bring enough food to last me for the long flight.
There’s no question there is a lot of extra planning needed for travelling when you have food allergies but your allergies should never be a limitation from exploring the world. Stay tuned and I will post a follow up blog in June talking about how my trip went and how I was able to manage my allergies while travelling.
What are some of your travel experiences, and how did you accommodate your allergies?