It can be so intimidating to even think about travelling internationally with food allergies. However, with the right planning and preparation, it is doable, and completely worthwhile. One of the most empowering things we can do living with a life threatening condition, is proving that is does not own us. Travelling the world is a perfect example of showing that allergies do not define, or limit you.
There are lots of ways to prepare for international trips, especially in countries where a foreign language is spoken. Here are our top 5 tips for explaining important food allergy information in different languages:
Learn some Language Basics
Learn key phrases and vocabulary related to your food allergy in the language of the country you will be visiting. This will help you communicate your needs effectively when ordering food or speaking with restaurant staff.
Allergy Translation Cards
Carry a card or note that explains your food allergy in the local language. This can be shown to restaurant staff or other food service providers to ensure they understand your needs.
Practice Stating your Food Allergies
Practice explaining your allergy and its symptoms in the local language before your trip. This will help you feel more confident and prepared when communicating with locals.
Think of both your Allergens + Foods to Avoid
Be prepared to explain what foods you can and cannot eat, and what ingredients to avoid. Awareness might be lower in the country you are visiting, and associations with certain allergens might be different too. It's better to over explain than under explain.
Communicate with Confidence
Don't be afraid to ask for help or clarification when communicating about your food allergy. It's better to be safe than sorry and make sure that you are understood and your needs are met. Never be apologetic about your condition, you deserve to be safe, and having food allergies is normal in this day and age.