Talking Allergies

Travel abroad
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Author:  Selina [ Wed Mar 08, 2006 3:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Travel abroad

I have been really itching to travel outside of Canada and the U.S., and was seriously thinking of Costa Rica. I have a 12 & 15 yr old with allergies to nuts & seafood. I am considering going on a tour where the meals are included because I would then have the assistance of a tour leader who speaks the language to translate questions at the designated restaurants, and we could maybe contact them ahead of time. However, tours are very expensive. We're not ClubMed all-inclusive resort vacations type of people, but maybe this is a safer option?

Am also considering Europe. However countries with foreign languages create a lot of worries. On the other hand, I love to travel and have done it independently (to Asia & Europe, Mexico) before the kids, and want to expose my kids to similar adventures. I realize that travelling independently is a lot more difficult with kids, not to mention kids with severe allergies!!

Any thoughts or experiences would be appreciated.


Author:  Andrea Potter [ Thu Mar 09, 2006 2:11 am ]
Post subject:  Travel Abroad

I have two children 3 & 5, both have ana. allergies and the older is allergic to peanut, dairy, egg and more. We are taking a trip to Spain. We decided to brave it with the following: Flying as direct as possible, ensuring there was good medical services nearby, staying at a Villa so I can control the cooking and taking day trips from our home base - again, so we can cook and pack our own food. I am also having a friend translate all of my medical requirements into Spanish and I am compiling a list of Spanish words related to thier allergies - so I can read the labels.
As for Costa Rica, I have travelled there without kids and it is a wonderful place. Perfect for kids your age. Find a couple of small family run/English speaking places to stay (lots of Canadians in CR)- where you can control the situation. Good luck, I hope you find a way for it to work.

Author:  Selina [ Thu Mar 09, 2006 2:53 am ]
Post subject: 

Thanks Andrea for your reply and for your encouragement. I'm glad you think that Costa Rica would be great for our kids, coming from someone who has been there AND has kids with allergies. It's really difficult to come up with a place that the whole family would enjoy (wait till you have a teenager). They love animals and I think would enjoy the wildlife, but I think it's time to move on from zoos and wildlife parks.

I've spoken to 3 people who have gone to Costa Rica this year and while they can be helpful, it's impossible for them to understand the risks we have to consider when planning vacations, especially if you are planning to move away from the road trip, which is more secure.

I've actually only been researching tours, thinking they'd be more safe. Do you have any suggestions on how to find hotels owned by Canadians that speak English? That would be ideal!!

My main worries with Costa Rica are: the heat & humidity (don't think we will go in July/August now, might be planning for January as school isn't back until Jan 8th in 2007; the language barrier, and all the seafood.

I'd be grateful for any further info/advice.

P.S. I'm from Burnaby!


Author:  Andrea Potter [ Thu Mar 09, 2006 11:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Travel Abroad

Hi Selina,
Wow - we are close! As for Costa Rica and finding Canadian operators, I will have to think about that and call a few friends (I worked in travel for 15 years). There are quite a few Americanized resort areas where you might feel a bit more at ease. The country is safe, highly educated and friendly. Although there are the more remote areas that English is not spoken that much. Let me do a bit more research and I can get back to you.

Author:  Selina [ Sat Mar 11, 2006 5:18 am ]
Post subject: 

Hi Andrea:

Wow, that is really kind of you. Don't go to too much trouble because now we are thinking that it might be too hot for all of us. However, it is still an option we are considering, and the information would be useful to have. Look forward to hearing back from you.


Author:  Storm [ Sat Mar 11, 2006 5:20 am ]
Post subject: 

Hi Selina,

I left you some info on the UK in your private messages.


Author:  Storm [ Sat Mar 11, 2006 10:17 am ]
Post subject: 


I know you said you were thinking of travelling outside North America but have you been to Quebec before? You could stay in The Laurentians near Montreal. There are tons of resort homes and condos with fully equiped kitchens. English will be spoken in the tourist areas.

More info here: and then click on Laurentides in the Tourist Regions section. A really nice resort not too far from Montreal (about an hour and a half) is Mont-Tremblant: Click on Accommodations.

Just another suggestion... in case overseas travel is not feasible.


Author:  scott [ Mon Apr 16, 2007 10:47 pm ]
Post subject:  re costa rica with allergies

I have been to Costa Rica pre-kids and it is a great place to travel, but if you are going to go with allergies, I would highly recommend you rent a house or villa for a week where you have your own kitchen and can cook yourself so you are in control of your environment.

We have traveled to England, France, Morocco, Jamaica and Grenada with our daughter with peanut, nut, sesame, kiwi (and until this year milk, eggs and barley) and rented villas every time. You give yourself a base to travel from so you don't have to pack up and move around and you can do daytrips to places nearby.

My only concern would be if you are not fluent in Spanish you might want to consider a country where you speak the language first. See my posting under "I'm Scared" for some villa websites in the Caribbean if you are interested.

Author:  sherlock [ Thu Apr 19, 2007 1:43 am ]
Post subject: 

haha funny I should read this, as I'm leaving to go backpacking around CR in 9 days!!! I choose it because I had heard exactly the same things as others had said here (and because I wanted to go surfing, in all honesty). What you may want to look into is bringing with you some freeze dried meals. All you do is add boiling water and its a complete meal with two servings. I got some that were safe for my allergies at mountain equipment co-op That way if you get stuck in a pinch and need something for your daughter to eat you have something. As well they pack light.

I'll try to come back here and let y'all know how the trip goes!

Author:  KarenOASG [ Thu Apr 19, 2007 11:52 am ]
Post subject: 

Thanks for the dried-food idea, Sherlock. Camping food is a good idea.

Hope you have a fun and safe trip! - and stay safe. Let us know know how it went when you get back!


Author:  scott [ Fri Apr 20, 2007 10:32 pm ]
Post subject: 

Have fun Sherlock. A couple of suggestions.

If you don't speak spanish fluently, get some allergy cards printed up in spanish that indicate what your allergies are and that they are life threatening. There is someone in Kingston that does them and I think there is a link in this forum somewhere or you can google them. If you don't have time, go to an embassy or someone who speaks spanish and have it written out for you and carry it with you.

I suggest you try to stay in places that have kitchens you can use and failing that small guest houses where they are likely to allow you to use their kitchen. Check out the grocery stores when you get there and see what food is available that is safe for you. If you do eat out, smaller restaurants where you can speak to the cook yourself are better than large ones. Don't rely on the waiter, ask to speak to the cook directly and explain your allergies. Call ahead and ask how they deal with allergies if possible.

I recommend you carry all your own food for the plane and some snack food (like granola bars or dried food as you suggested) for when you are travelling and can't find food easily that is safe. Also, carry several epi-pens with you (we travel with 4, 1 of which is a twinject).

Find out where the hospitals are and if you are going to be in small towns where the clinics are so you know where you can go in an emergency.

Costa Rica is a beautiful country, the beaches are great, especially the west coast. We loved the cloud forest at MonteVerde, the beach at Montezuma and the beach at Tamarindo when we were there (but its been a while so I am sure things have changed).

Author:  sherlock [ Sat Apr 21, 2007 12:45 am ]
Post subject: 

Hey scott thanks for the tips. I have the cards as well as a sheet with some helpful spanish phrases (can be found here As for accomadations, I'm actually going with GAP tours so they do that all ahead of time.

I am so excited for Montverde (I really want to do the zip line canopy tour), and we're headed to Manuel San Antonio National Park, which is on the Pacific side. I've heard only wonderful things so far :)

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