Gearing up to pack your bags and leave home with a food allergy family member or yourself brings up the question of what you should take with you?
You will most likely never find me at the airport with a carry-on only – I need the space in checked bags for the food brands I feel good about. Especially when it comes to international travel – thus packing the food suitcase. Depending on the destination, I like to pack protein bars, snacks, bread, applesauce squeeze packets, pasta, and more. If I use the snacks, then I have room for souvenirs, and if I don’t need all the food items, I go home feeling good that I had them if I needed them.
What is a Food Suitcase?
Quite simply, it is packing up your favorite snacks and meal staples to have at your destination. While you can pack a food suitcase for a road trip, we are going to focus on flying due to the restrictions that follow.
How to prep for packing your food suitcase?
Do your research about what brands are found locally where you are going. Bread is one of the hardest things to find for many allergies, so I often recommend taking that with you. What are your plans for eating there? Are you going to make sandwiches, pasta, etc.? Of course, packing the sealed snacks for on the go and maybe oatmeal or protein bars for breakfast.
Having an idea of your meals will help you plan, but also doing the research to see if you feel comfortable eating out or utilizing my add-on service of restaurant research. Knowing what the options are in the country will help you make that plan.
Plus, another factor to consider is if you’ll be more remote for tours or any hiking to have a plan for snacks and meals.
What can I not pack food-wise?
This can vary from country to country, so I highly recommend always checking the rules and regulations regarding customs of the countries you’ll be entering.
According to the European Commission, in general, meat and dairy is not permitted when traveling into Europe, and fresh fruit can be tricky. Even though airports offer fresh fruit in their lounges, make sure you know whether you can take it into the country or if you need to eat it on the plane. Don’t want to catch yourself with fines for not declaring fruits.
Now if you are planning on packing an applesauce or other fruit cups with juice in them in your carry on TSA will want them to follow the 3-1-1 rule and be in your quart-sized bag.
Non-food items to consider
Getting cheap cutting boards and even a spatula ensures they are clean from your allergies. Of course, no knives. Even if the accommodation you are going to has them, remember cutting boards absorb due to the cuts from knives. If you can’t quite fit them into your suitcase, then consider picking them up in location.
Having a food suitcase does often mean checking a bag, but having the food you need on hand, whether you use it or not will help you feel more secure when traveling.
Have questions about traveling with food allergies? Book your food allergy travel consultation with me today!