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Travelling with Allergies

With summer around the corner, you may be planning and booking your holidays. It’s important that you take considerations around your allergies in order to have a safe and enjoyable trip. Read on for our top tips when travelling on holiday this year. 

Main considerations:

  • Do you understand the language?
  • Do you have adequate supplies of medication?
  • Have you found out where the nearest emergency department is?
  • Do you know the number for emergency services?
  • Does your travel insurance cover your allergies?

It’s important that you are able to communicate your allergies to restaurant staff. You can buy Allergy UK translation cards for your trip. Even if your holiday is in the UK, it can be useful to use the English side of our translation cards to accurately communicate your food allergies when eating out. 

Flying with allergies

Individual airlines have their own policies on travelling with food allergy which will vary depending on the airline.

Top tips when flying or planning to fly with a food allergy:

  • Before booking, check what your airline’s policy is on food allergy management and when you need to make them aware
  • Inform airline staff of your food allergy at every opportunity – including at check in, boarding and every time a snack or meal is offered
  • Check meal options ahead of time and take safe snacks with you – check quarantine laws of the country you’re visiting for food restrictions
  • If you are susceptible to contact reactions with allergens, reduce any risk by handwashing before eating or putting fingers in your mouth and cleaning your seat area and the tray table
  • Make sure you have the relevant proof required for carrying medication on board and have a copy of your Allergy Action plan.

For more information on flying with an allergy, see our Factsheets on ‘Travelling with an Allergy’ and ‘Travelling with an Allergic Infant’.  

Managing hay fever on holiday

If you are living with allergic rhinitis you should consider the pollen counts in the destination you are travelling to. Pollen counts vary in different areas, so make sure that you are prepared prior to your trip. There are lots of ways to help manage your hay fever. See our allergic rhinitis and hay fever Factsheet for more information. 

Insect venom allergy

Those who are allergic to bee or wasp stings and other insect venom should take care when abroad as the risks of being stung/bitten may be higher. Some steps you can take to avoid bees and wasps are:

  • Wear darker colours as bright colours can attract insects
  • Avoid wearing highly scented sprays
  • Stay indoors when eating and drinking as bees and wasps are attracted to food
  • Avoid provoking bees or wasps and keep calm by gently brushing the insect away if it lands on you. More commonly wasps are more aggressive than bees yet both will usually sting in self-defence.
  • Drive with the windows up and air conditioner on to avoid wasps and bees entering your vehicle

See our Factsheet on venom allergy for additional info.

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