Here are a few simple planning tips that I use as an outline and have made traveling with food allergies much more enjoyable for us over the years. Utilize this as a framework for guiding you through packing and checklists.
1. Plan the trip! Write it down, know what you are doing.
Whether this is planning a week long vacation in Florida for the spring or you wake up and decide you are going to visit a friend for the day. It helps to know what you will be doing to ease the anxiety that creeps in. From making special stops along a family vacation or meeting a friend for a walk.
For new experiences and adventures I also do a lot of research. Location, lodging, food (grocery and restaurant) as well as activities. More detail on this one in Researching Food Allergy Adventure and Travel.
This helps easily categorize everything you need and where you need to pack it. It does not take long and provides peace of mind when leaving home. I like to do this a few days in advance. It provides time to add items to the list and ensure I know where everything is (and that the clothes I want are washed and dried!!). Also – I have saved “go to lists” – this is a major help.
3. Pack in advance! Having everything put together a head of the travel has not always been my style … However, it makes all the difference in the world when traveling with kids … especially kids with food allergies. And I don’t mean the night before your trip. Start a week before – heck, start two weeks before! I find a week to 5 days prior to our trip provides sufficient time to ensure I have packed what I needed. Allows me time to gather the items, purchase others and wash the necessary clothing.
4. Prep the food! This is the most time intense task. I use to dread it because of the time. Now I know it has to be done and it’s what makes the adventure that much more enjoyable. How do you want to look at the glass – half empty or half full? Check out Food Prep for Adventures.
5. Keep your “medical kit” in an easy to grab container that can go anywhere anytime. We have the Epipen in a designated Epi carry bag with all El’s information on it.
We place this with Benadryl, her inhaler and rescue meds in a fun cooler bag. I got real fancy here and took a Sharpie to the front and wrote “MEDICAL” and her name across the back. The inside mesh ice block holder is where I keep her Rx info, Anaphylaxis and Asthma plan. It keeps everything together and easy. Everyone knows that bag ALWAYS goes with her everywhere she goes.