Travelling With Allergy
On this page you will find information about travelling with allergy, travelling abroad with an allergy, holidays in the UK, flying with an allergy and top tips for holidays, from booking and packing to eating out while you’re there. We have a range of Factsheets available on different topics related to travelling with an allergy. You can find all of our free to download Factsheets at the bottom of the page.
Travelling when you or a loved one have an allergy can be daunting, and can bring extra challenges. Travelling with a nut allergy on planes could be a scary concept. Simple things like choosing location, booking a flight or picking accommodation can be filled with extra questions and things to consider. This page will provide some useful guidance to help you plan, prepare and travel if you have an allergy or are travelling with someone with an allergy.
Having an allergy means you have to be aware of triggers which could affect your allergies on a day to day basis. However, if you plan ahead, you can still enjoy travelling and holidays abroad.
The destination of your travel and choice of transport are important considerations when planning a holiday or travel.
When booking a holiday abroad, think about
- How will you get there? (see planning a flight for more information)
- Do you understand the language?
- Do you have adequate supplies of medication for your holiday?
- Do you have translation cards available?
- 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?
Travelling overseas may mean that language can be a barrier to communicating the needs of someone with a food allergy. Translation Cards are a useful way of communicating food allergy in another language and are useful for travel and when eating out whilst on holiday.
Find out more in our Factsheets, available at the bottom of this page.
Planning a flight
Individual airlines will have their own policy on food allergy management this will vary depending on the provider. Make sure you’re aware of the policy for your chosen provider and that you’ve alerted them in advance of your trip.
If you wish to know whether snacks or foods containing specific allergens are served during the flight, then it is advisable to raise this question when you make contact with the airline before booking.
The 100ml liquid rule for hand luggage does not apply to medication in liquid form (for example antihistamine in syrup form) but a copy of your prescription or letter from your doctor as proof of need may be required. The same documentary proof is required for adrenaline auto-injector devices (AAI).
Top tips when flying or planning to fly with a food allergy:
- Carry your allergy medication in your hand luggage, ensuring it is accessible at all times, in your suitcase in the luggage hold is not a suitable place for storage.
- Check your allergy medication has not expired, or will not expire whilst you are travelling.
- See your doctor/nurse for prescriptions to cover your holiday, a letter about any medication needed and an up to date allergy and/or asthma plan.
- Before booking your holiday check the airlines policy on food allergy so you can make an informed decision on travelling with them or finding an alternative.
- Communication is key-inform airline staff of your food allergy at every opportunity, at booking, on boarding the aircraft and before any food supplied by the airline is eaten.
- Take a pack of wipes with you, to clean down the seating area especially the tray table.
For more information and advice on flying with an allergy, visit our travelling with allergy Factsheet at the bottom of this page.
If you are travelling with an infant, check our travelling with an allergic infant Factsheet for more information.
Travelling in the UK
There are also lots of things to consider when booking a holiday in the UK. Consider location carefully, whether camping, in a hotel or holiday complex, it’s also worth considering the following:
Managing hay fever while on holiday
If you have hay fever, it is important to consider the pollen levels for your holiday destination. Different areas may affect you more than others, so it’s worth factoring this in when planning a trip, if your symptoms are likely to affect your enjoyment of it.
Consider your individual pollen allergy and the season you plan to holiday in, for example if pollen from grass is a problem, it may be an idea to limit time spent in rural areas where grass pollen may be higher at certain times of the year. As the sea breezes blow pollen inland, escaping to the coast may be an alternative option.
Check the met office, (available here) to monitor pollen forecasts.
There are also lots of ways to help manage your hay fever. For more information, see our allergic rhinitis and hay fever Factsheet, available at the bottom of this page.