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Tips for Travel With a Severe Allergy

For parents of children with severe allergies, planning is key to safe travels. Start with these tips to make the journey go smoothly.

Before You Travel

Contact the airlines ahead of time. When you book your flight, tell the airline and ask about its policies.

For instance, if your child is allergic to peanuts, find out if they’ll be served during the flight. If so, are there zones on the plane for people who don't eat peanuts? Or if your child is allergic to pet dander, will there be pets flying with passengers?

Book an early flight. Allergen levels tend to be lowest in the morning because most airlines clean their planes at the end of the business day. Aim for the first flight you can make.

Pack your own food. That's the best way for you to know exactly what's in it and how it was prepared. For example, even if an airline doesn't serve peanuts, the meals they serve may be prepared in kitchens along with peanut products.

Contact your hotel. If your child has food allergies, book a hotel that offers rooms with kitchens. That way you won't have to eat all of your meals in restaurants.

If your child has a problem with dust mites, you might bring your own mattress covers. If she’s allergic to mold, ask for a room far away from the pool. 

Talk to your hosts. If you plan to stay with friends or relatives, tell them about your child's allergies ahead of time. They’ll know not to offer foods that include her triggers. If your child is allergic to cats or dogs, don’t stay with friends or relatives who have pets.

Scope out menus. If food allergies are the issue, you can check menus online or ask the hotel staff to suggest a place. Then you can call and ask questions or alert the staff.With advance notice, many chefs will prepare dishes that meet their customers' allergy needs.

Check the map. You probably won't need it, but it may make you feel better to have the name and address of the nearest hospital.

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