Talking Allergies

Worried sick about travelling / camping. UPDATE
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Author:  Becky [ Tue Apr 14, 2009 10:41 am ]
Post subject:  Worried sick about travelling / camping. UPDATE

Update July 1, 2011...


Since our twins arrived 3 years ago (and our oldest was under 2) we haven't travelled, but have been really looking forward to starting this year. We enjoy camping, but I was hoping we could start with a few overnights in a hotel (so we'd still have some crature comforts & ammenities), near some kid friendly attractions. But since finding out about the severe peanut allergy recently I can't imagine staying in a hotel, and having to eat out.

I know other people manage to lead reasonably normal lives, but I don't think I could go to the continental breakfast and give my kids toast, yogourt & fruit like I had in the past, or go into an unfamiliar restaurant and order pizza, or even plain noodles.

Maybe camping is the way to go, so that we can bring everything from home. That's ok for a weekend, or even a week, but we have talked about taking a long trip to Calfornia, or across Canada. Not in the near future, but at some point, and we'll have to buy food along the way. The whole thing stresses me out. Now when we look at potential campgrounds, I want to know where the nearest hospital is.

I think camping would be easier in terms of meal prep, although I'm still a little worried about my 3 yo twins and keeping them safe. They don't really understand 'stay here', 'don't go on the road' etc...

We need to get away this summer, but I'm not sure how. :(

Author:  ~Lisa~ [ Tue Apr 14, 2009 1:53 pm ]
Post subject: 


I will write to you about my experiences as a child and I know others will write to you from a parent's perspective. All I can tell you is that even though it probably seems frightening, once you get the hang of it, it's not that difficult at all. Tons of people with allergies travel and have fun doing it without having to spend the whole time focusing on their allergies.
It may help put you at ease to know that when I was very young my brother and I (me ana to all nuts, all legumes and him to eggs) travelled all over the world, even to places where they didn't speak english very well and where they most definitely did not know as much about allergies as people do these days. And yet we were always ok. We went to good quality hotels, often getting a kitchenette so we could cook our own meals. When you cook from whole foods, you don't have to worry about reading labels. Any snacks you want, bring from home to put your mind at ease. If you're going camping just map out the area so you know where all the amenities are, including hospitals (just to be prepared, not that anything will happen).
The thing is, allergies are soooo well known today and people are much more knowledgable and open minded. When I was young, my parents had to explain all about cross-contamination because people didn't understand the concept at all. Today, most chefs take it as a given (although you should always, always remind them).
Travelling and getting away is a great opportunity and I have such fond memories of all my family vacations. It is also a great opportunity to start teaching your kids about what to do when you go to a restaurant, hotel, etc. It is empowering as a child to grow up knowing that allergies don't have to hold you back from experiencing great things.
I am not downplaying the anxiety you must go through as a parent, I think everyone with allergies or who is related to someone with allergies knows that it is a normal part of our lives but going on vacation is more than do-able and I am confident that you will have a great time.

Author:  _Susan_ [ Tue Apr 14, 2009 3:16 pm ]
Post subject: 

Travelling can be done! It just requires a little more forethought than before.

Check out Scott's articles and travelling tips:

Start small, a picnic, an overnight camping trip and work your way up to a destination vacation.

They don't really understand 'stay here', 'don't go on the road' etc...

Sorry, I can't help you with that one...I suspect it's part of being 3.
Continue to teach safety rules and teach about food allerggies just as you would teach about other safety rules around the house. Use pretend play to mirror situations and to give them the words to use.

Author:  Cleo [ Tue Apr 14, 2009 4:27 pm ]
Post subject: 

We got ourselves the smallest RV we could get for 4 people. It's really tight, but it was within our budget (including gaz budget!)
With the RV, we get a fridge, a stove, and plenty of storage space for our food. And it makes camping a tad more comfortable too. A bigger RV would make camping a lot more comfortable, but we can't afford it.

Anyway, we *love* our Westfalia. We're driving it to Disney World in a month from now!

Author:  Becky [ Tue Apr 14, 2009 4:51 pm ]
Post subject: 

Thanks so much for all of the replies and encouragement! I notice a few of you are in Montreal, I grew up there and still miss it. Bonjour tout le monde!

We recenlty bought a large tent trailer, so camping will be comfortable. I know that we will be able to camp & travel, I guess I'm still adjusting to the newly discovered allergy. I had hotels/restaurants picked out for this summer, and now have to reconsider, or at least proceed with extreme caution.

Cleo, we also have a Westfalia, which is kind of a family pet. We camped a lot with it before having kids and when our first was a baby, we just couldn't figure out how to manage sleeping 5 etc...Have a great trip to Disney World! :)

Author:  _Susan_ [ Wed Apr 15, 2009 6:44 am ]
Post subject: 

Hotels are becoming more allery aware. You can ask them to do a thorough cleaning and request an empty bar fridge to store your food in.

I have found that most chains are focused on giving the customer a great experience.

Author:  scott [ Wed Apr 15, 2009 11:43 am ]
Post subject: 

Camping is a good way to go, but don't be afraid of hotels. Just find one with a kitchen so you can cook your own meals and don't have to eat out. There are lots of suite hotels and condos with kitchens out there that you can stay in. We have travelled lots of places with our daughter with m ultiple food allergies. As Susan has mentioned you can check out my articles for allergic living online. This summer we are driving out west to Vancouver and back and staying in hotels, cottages and camping on the way!

Just be sure to bring your special foods with you and check out where the nearest hospitals are as you go.

Good luck,


Author:  walooet [ Wed Apr 15, 2009 8:30 pm ]
Post subject: 

We are renting a house through which is private owners often renting out their family vacation property or sometimes purely rental properties. There are properties all over. What I like about them is that I deal directly with the owner so I make sure that no pets are allowed and I can find out ahead whether there is food there.

I think our new GPS is going to be a blessing with our newfound concern to know where hospitals are located! It only cost $150 at Costco and works well --- I know you can spend way more but I don't know the advantages.

When we had a tent trailer we would make our lunches in the morning and keep them in the trailer fridge and then one of us would crawl in at lunchtime to get them and eat at rest areas. Later we got the cooler that plugs into the cigarette lighter. We camped from pre-kids to newborn, toddler until the oldest was 7. The bonus of the tent trailer is never wondering what else has been on the counters! We did not have the ana allergies when camping but know it would be a lot easier than hotels especially for one night stops! Each kid had a job during the set-up and take down of the trailer - when little it was mostly to keep them out of the way but it worked :D

Author:  Becky [ Thu Apr 16, 2009 4:12 pm ]
Post subject: 

Scott, thanks for your post. Your articles are inspiring!

walooet, I'll look into VRBO. We're also going to buy a GPS so that we know where hospitals are, and we can give our coordinates if needed.

Author:  Alison's Mom [ Sat Apr 18, 2009 2:33 am ]
Post subject: 

We've only taken a few trips since the diagnosis, but I agree on what others have said. We're not really camping types, so what we do is get a place with a kitchen. I think for me right now, that's a must. I can't go through the stress of eating at restaurants for every meal. The other thing is we've only travelled in Canada and the US so far - I wouldn't go anywhere yet where I don't speak the language, and where I don't trust their labelling.

Even in the US, I went to 3 large supermarkets and I could not find any bread that my kids could eat. There just aren't as many manufacturers that label for 'may contain'. Luckily we'd been prepared and brought a whole suitcase full of safe snack food and dried food, plus bread. I would advise doing that if at all possible if you're not sure of the availability of your tried and true brands at your destination.

And VRBO is great - we've used it 4 times now, I think, with good results.

Author:  scott [ Mon Apr 20, 2009 2:19 pm ]
Post subject: 

Two more direct owner rental sites:

There are also lots of suite hotel chains with rooms with kitchens and condos/resorts with kitchens too.


Author:  loving mom of two [ Fri Apr 24, 2009 12:49 am ]
Post subject:  Camping

Hi Everyone,
This is my first posting! I am very excited to join. I have been overwhelmed and frustrated for years! Travelling is very hard when children have food allergies. We have a tent trailer and it has been great. We cannot eat at restaurants at all. My son has too many food allergies and we can't trust restaurants. We have a microwave and a toaster in our trailer and can only go to places with hookups. We also have to camp near places where they have good grocery stores with items we can buy for my son. With regards to hotel, we only stay in places where there are kitchens. The only frustrating part I find about holidays are when we go on long drives. Like most families, we can't stop at a drive thru or restaurant, we have to pack easy snacks and cooler items. It is hard as I am always stressed out about cooking when we arrive at our destinations and my kids starving. But family holidays are so worth it and my kids love them. We can't let allergies stop us an I can't let my children know how the food and cooking stresses me out! :D

Author:  walooet [ Fri Apr 24, 2009 9:38 pm ]
Post subject: 

What a great attitude for your kids! Although I do hope that you share some of the burden of feeding your family on the road.

We always made lunches since stopping for food only made the day's travel longer.

We are definitely trying to balance the safety of our child with allergies with feeding everyone --- for me the safety far outweighs everything else but sometimes I think I need to trust that all will be okay as long as I take precautions...

Author:  Becky [ Fri Jul 01, 2011 10:38 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Worried sick about travelling / camping.

Just checked this thread for vacation home links, and thought I'd update. We camped a lot last year (once so far this year), and it went well. Bringing food from home is easy, and we always camped in locations with good hospital access (ie nowhere remote).

We have also taken a few hotel trips, and as long as they have a small kitchennette it's pretty easy.

Not sure if it's just the kids getting older or our ability to deal with life with food allergies, but travelling has been quite smooth. PHEW.

How have your travels been?

Author:  _Susan_ [ Fri Jul 01, 2011 2:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Worried sick about travelling / camping.

Dd's starting to try hotdogs again so it should be fun camping this summer! (She finds them salty/spicy)

We mix up some pancake mix and add the oil and soymilk just before cooking. I add them right into the ziplock baggy for easy clean up!

If you need an eggless pancake recipe you can either do a google search or try this one ... kes-250212 (my recipe is similar but doesn't call for cinnamon.)

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