When it comes to picking the best time to travel, there are so many factors that go into it. From school schedules to sports to work to family obligations and more will dictate when you choose the dates that work best for your family. However, when you do have any flexibility in your dates you may wonder when is the best time to go and does traveling with food allergies change that.
How Do Food Allergies Factor When You travel?
While you can travel at any time with food allergies, traveling at less busy times can help when it comes to food and accommodations. From the time you eat out at the local restaurants to the time of year you travel.
When restaurants are at their busiest then they tend to not take as much time with you and may not be able to customize menu items with too many changes. Since I have a long list of allergies, I know if I want to go to certain restaurants where the menu items need to be heavily changed then I need to go on slow days or times to be accommodated. Remember if a restaurant is too busy and they feel like they cannot accommodate then they may turn you away or you may not feel comfortable eating there when it is busy.
My recommendation is to eat at non peak times, which can mean an early lunch when the restaurant opens around 11-11:30am and then eating dinner at opening or earlier around 5-7pm depending on when they open. Again you can eat later if that works best for your schedule but just know that in Europe, Europeans eat later and tourists tend to eat a little later than they normally do so you may just feel the staff is more rushed.
Time of Year
The time of year that you travel can impact traveling with food allergies for many reasons beyond the restaurants mentioned above. Menus change seasonally and this can bring and take away items that may or may not contain your food allergies. Accommodation availability and experience are two big factors as well.
Whether you are looking to stay at a hotel or an accommodation with a full kitchen there are only so many options available. Especially for accommodations with full kitchens during peak season it can be more difficult to find something that works for your family and in a central location. So if you really want an accommodation with a full kitchen then book early to make sure you get the accommodation you are looking for.
When it comes to the experience aspect of travel this can be food and non food related. On the food side if you are wanting to do a cooking class with your food allergies I recommend doing a private experience. A private cooking class will be more expensive during peak season since they will be missing out on a bigger group of people.
And on the non-food side traveling at different times of the year gives you a variety of experiences. If you are wanting to do whale watching or see the puffins in Iceland then Spring to Summer is the time period to see those. However, if your bucket list item is the Northern Lights then fall into winter in Iceland would be your better bet. In Italy if you want to see the vineyards before they harvest the grapes make sure you plan your visit not too late into the fall. Christmas Markets run at various dates each year but mid December puts you at a better place for more being open.
Best Seasons to Travel with Food Allergies
For many families this will be looking at Spring Break, which typically is only a week long. Every year there are weeks in March and April that run more popular. For a week picking a central city is best and then take day trips when coming from the United States since you’ll typically have an overnight flight on the way there and a full travel day on the way back. However, this depends on where you are going and what other cities are close by.
Summer break is very popular for families wanting to do a two week give or take adventure in Europe. One of my most asked questions is when should I go in the summer if I have flexibility? First would be right when your kids get out of school at the end of May into early June. That early summer can give you more favorable weather, often lower crowds, and lower cost on certain items. And then when you get home you have the rest of the summer at your fingertips. Schools around the country start and end at different times and that can give you an edge depending on your school schedule.
Late Summer is another option as families are preparing for the back to school and even some schools will start earlier than others. However, keep in mind depending on what country you are heading to, August can be the locals vacation month. So if you want a certain experience you may be disappointed depending on where you go.
Middle of the summer is still a very popular time to travel; I have done so myself and still enjoyed my experience. Making sure you add in time to rehydrate and rest is key for those times. Finding temperature-controlled air conditioning is a lot harder in Europe, especially for apartments with kitchens, which is why booking earlier is best.
Fall is a personal favorite of mine but that is simply because I love the fall anywhere. Changing of the leaves and the lower temperature is fantastic. When kids are heading back to school crowds start thinning out a bit minus during times like harvest season and Octoberfest, etc. Keeping those times in mind you can find great deals in between events and festivals.
Winter is the time of Christmas Markets and Holiday lights in general, such a magical time. Going in early December you can catch Christmas Markets depending on the year opening schedules and see better pricing for hotels, flights, and more. However, I recommend planning for mid December as the Christmas Markets open at various times each year if that is what is more important to you.
When Should You Book Your Trip with Food Allergies?
To have a plethora of options at your fingertips, I recommend the sooner the better, especially for peak season travel like holidays and summer. Start planning your trip for a wide range of options around 10-11 months prior as long as accommodations are available for your destination. But my recommendation for summer is to start before the New Year of the year before. However, you can plan your trip closer to your departure just know that the options can start to get limited the closer you get.
Services I offer are full-service travel planning for food allergy travel, and restaurant research can be added on or you can pair it with consulting for trips already planned. Schedule a call with me today to start taking about your next European adventure!