Thursday, October 18, 2012

Is Traveling with Food Allergies Worth the Trouble?

We recently took a trip to the beach with all the kids.  We had a great time; it was a great trip overall.  But the planning and packing and cooking and baking and preparing was brutal.  I think Prince Charming would be completely content to never leave our little city.  The thought of the prep work involved in taking even a short trip completely overwhelms him.  I, however, want to do a little bit of traveling.  So, before each trip I have to pitch my idea, convincing him that the trip will be worth it in the end.

Our view of travel has certainly been altered since the diagnosis.  No longer can travel be spontaneous.  Most of the time it's not fun or enjoyable.  It is hard work.  Sure, traveling with children is lots of work, but when you add food allergies on top of everything else, it seems an insurmountable task.  It can be done (and later I'll blog about a few things I've learned), but first we have to determine if a trip is even worth taking.

Have you ever noticed that most trips revolve around food?  I used to plan my trips around where we would eat.  I wanted to experience a broad range of styles and options.  And when you talk about where you're planning to go, anyone who has ever been there gives you their best advice.  How often is it restaurant advice or food related?  Much of the time.

We've realized that so many trips are centered around food or the activities available on a trip revolve around eating.  Vacation packages can be all-inclusive to include food options (of course, none of them would even be remotely safe for us).  The hotel where you're staying offers a breakfast buffet (can't eat that!).  The resort where you're staying has on-site restaurants (do they offer allergy free options?  No!).  

So, is it even worth trying to take a trip with a food allergic child?  Yes, I believe it is.  Even though the task seems daunting it can be done.  But what you have to do is change your view of a vacation before you start planning.  You have to forget about food and force your focus away from eating options.  Instead, you have to focus on finding a vacation spot that offers numerous activities that don't involve food. 

It's all about the planning.  You can have a wonderful vacation when you've done your research.  You want to find a vacation spot filled with activity options that would be safe.  This can mean that some locations are out-some popular vacation spots won't offer enough safe options for you.  Sometimes you might have to be a little creative in deciding on new places to visit and places to stay.

You won't find us traveling the country to stay in quaint bed and breakfasts.  Nope, we don't want your breakfast.  You won't find us traveling to resorts with all-inclusive packages where we would need to eat at the hotel restaurants.  We will bring our own food and stay in a hotel with a kitchenette.

We've traveled to places to enjoy museums, zoos, and outdoor activities.  We've traveled to the beach to enjoy the sand, surf, and sun.  But on each trip, we have our own food and a place to stay that includes a kitchen area.

So, travel can be worth the trouble when you change your view of what a vacation should be.  A vacation is not much of a vacation when you have food allergies.  It requires lots of planning, preparing, and cooking.  It's just a lot of work!  But there are so many places to go and things to see that don't involve food.  Travel is doable and it's been very worth it.  However, I usually need a vacation from our vacation once we return. 

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