Make sure you are fully covered for your trip. All preexisting conditions must be disclosed and fully covered. Insure the entire family through the same insurance company to avoid complications. Check the cancellation cover amount on the insurance. The insurance should be taken out at the time of payment for your travel. Please ensure that all new medical conditions after purchase of the policy are disclosed to the travel insurer prior to travel.
Book with an experienced travel agent
They can hold flights, request special meals and seating and provide quotes for travel insurance. They can also contact the airline or hotel and notify them of any special requirements. Most flights can also be held for a couple of days to allow you time to research your destination and purchase travel insurance. With the Internet, all travel bookings are instant purchases.
Take a minimum of two EpiPens and your anaphylaxis action plan fact sheet with you
Along with a letter from your GP, or specialist, explaining the reason for travelling with medication and/or food. Make sure medicine and documentation are carried in your hand luggage and are within arm’s reach at all times. If you are on a long trip, find out whether you can purchase EpiPens in the places you are visiting: in some parts of the world they are not available.
All liquids taken on board on the plane must be under 100ml. All medicine must be labelled and in its original packaging
All countries have their own regulations regarding the importation of foodstuffs through transit points or into the country of destination.
When travelling to countries where English is not the first language
Take a card with important emergency information translated into the required language. You can also purchase food translation cards at www.selectwisely.com or for UK ₤15 at www.allergyuk.org/getting-help/translation-cards It is also worthwhile to know the emergency numbers in the places you visit and how to dial them.
Take responsibility for your family’s safety
Advise your travel agent, airline, check-in desk and cabin crew about any allergies.
Ask to board early so you can wipe down surfaces
Take wet wipes to clean the tray table, seatbelt and arm rest. Avoid using airline blankets or pillows. Take your own seat cover and pillows. Always take a change of clothes in your hand luggage.
Ask for assistance from those around you
To ensure they do not feed your child on the flight.
Do not expect airline meals to cater for allergies
Cross-contamination is always a risk so it is much safer to take your own food. Think about the time you are travelling: if egg and milk allergies exist, travel after breakfast when it is safer.
On arrival, inform your hosts or hotel of any allergies
And find out where the resident doctor and nearest emergency department are located. When booking a hotel, consider one which has cooking facilities.
Allergy New Zealand has detailed information about travelling with food allergies. See www.allergy.org.nz
I also recommend these websites:
www.avsec.govt.nz – See travellers
www.aucklandairport.co.nz – See travelling with children
www.customs.govt.nz – See taking food out
Have we missed any of your top tips? Let us know in the comments.