Tips for Travel
Whether you are travelling for a holiday or needing to attend specialist medical appointments, we have broken down how to plan for a trip. Plan well and your trip should go smoothly and can help ensure all members of the family have a great time.
Take numbers of your doctors and specialists in case you need advice whilst you are away. Look up locations of hospitals and keep a list of emergency numbers for each place you plan to visit and key stops along the way.
If you are travelling to medical appointments check your state health department’s website as there may be travel allowance or reimbursements that are able to be claimed.
Another thing you should take with you is a letter from your doctor outlining your diagnosis, allergies and any medication, formula or food that you may need to take with you. Having a current ASCIA Management Plan for EoE can help with this communication. Make yourself familiar with the airlines policies regarding carrying medication on the flight as they can vary between carriers. Also, be aware of airline policies on liquids on flights. For those traveling with a feeding tube pump, supplies and formula it’s a good idea to contact the airline if you require extra luggage allowance to accommodate these.
When booking airline travel, contact the airline and inform them before you fly of the allergies and plan meals that are safe that can be served, or organise alternative food to be arranged for the passenger. You can bring your own food on the flight so that if they don’t have any meals available to cater for your allergies, ask about re-heating and storage options. If you have a nut allergy, you may want to choose an airline that does not serve nuts if possible. Unfortunately, airlines cannot guarantee nut free flights or areas on the plane so compare the different carriers. Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia has an Airline Comparison guide available here. Time of travel should also be considered depending on the allergies you have, such as avoiding morning flights and breakfast meals if you are allergic to milk and eggs etc.
On the plane, consider informing people around you of the allergies as well, but keep in mind those people can eat their own food and food given to them by the airline if they choose to.
International travel, whilst may be daunting, can be wonderful with adequate time and planning. If you are travelling to a non-English speaking country, ensure you learn translations for important words you may need in case of an emergency. The A&AA translated 'chef card' may assist in communicating the foods you must avoid and how the food must be prepared. You should also source local food items that are ‘safe’ and locate hospitals and emergency centres in the areas you are travelling.
Arrive to the airport early and remind the flight attendants of the allergy. Bring wipes and ask if you can wipe down your area before the passenger with allergies boards to reduce cross contact/contamination. It is also recommended you take extra supplies of adrenaline (epinephrine) injectors (if applicable).
If you have skin sensitivities it is a good idea to take your own washing up liquid and tea towels that you know are safe for your family. It may also be best to take your own pillows and linen depending on your allergies as some may have feathers or wool or may have been washed with detergents that could potentially make for an uncomfortable stay.
If your family is looking for a retreat, you may wish to look into Ronald McDonald Family Retreats where eligible families can enjoy up to a week of free accommodation. They offer a welcome escape for those who might otherwise be unable to afford any time out due the pressures of caring for a seriously ill child.