As the summer zooms by, last-ditch vacations increase in frequency. The rush of packing snacks and Benadryl begins, but this year, the packing also involves Clorox wipes and extra large hand sanitizer bottles. With the extra COVID-19 variable to consider, allergies may lose a little bit of the attention that they deserve. So let’s discuss a few reminders for staying safe while you travel.
Talk to the flight attendants.
When I think of planes, my mind goes to peanut snacks. Here’s a trick that you may not have known about. While waiting for the flight, talking to the attendants at the desk about your allergies is the best way to go. After notifying the desk, not only will most airlines refrain from serving peanuts on the flight, but some may also announce that passengers should not eat peanut snacks of their own for the entirety of the flight.
I have found that airlines sometimes do a quick turnaround from one flight to the next, and therefore don’t have much time to do a thorough clean of the seats and tray tables. And just because your flight isn’t serving peanuts doesn’t mean the flight before you took the same precaution. There is a dual purpose, with the pandemic as well as food allergies, to bring some wet wipes for the plane and any other public surfaces with crumbs.
Bring a lot of snacks.
This actually applies to folks with and without food allergies. Imagine your flight lands late at night, and every store in the airport is closed. Food suddenly gets hard to figure out, especially if the chain restaurants that you know nearby closed as well. I understand that vacation often means fun food, so taking something cold out of your bag isn’t the best option, but it is nice to have something ready in case of a situation.
Have patience, and be open to flexibility.
If you are slightly adventurous, or you don’t have hugely sensitive food allergies, you may be open to exploring local restaurants and cuisines of your travel spot. My largest piece of advice to you would be have patience. Every new food place involves talking to new people and asking the same questions. Realize that others may not have the knowledge that you do with food allergies, and keep in mind that any place feeling a little uncertain is not worth the risk.
When traveling with friends or any large group, you may find yourself sitting at a restaurant suggested by one and quickly agreed on by a few others that unfortunately has nothing for you to eat. This is where the flexibility tactic kicks in. My go-to in this situation is to quickly map out the closest chain restaurant that I am familiar with. Obviously, it isn’t the favorite option - new food is exciting and enjoyable - but it does the trick for the time being. This way, you can save the exploring for a smaller group, with less stress.
Hopefully some of these tips will come in handy for your last minute summer vacations. Stay safe, and enjoy the last stretch of break before the upcoming school year.
Gauri is a rising senior at Mayo High School. She is the teen representative for Food Allergies Rochester MN.