Are you looking forward for a summer vacation- check out these tips.
Summer Vacation— the time of year when we are just about due for a few days of extra sleep, extra food and sometimes, even extra allergy risks. With so many factors to think about, how can we enjoy that much needed moment in time without letting stress rear its ugly head? It all begins with choices. Let’s face it, by the time summer comes around, we really do need to take a break from our every day routines. With a little bit of planning, you can benefit from getting away and return feeling relaxed rather than frazzled.
Six tips to get the most from a summer vacation
TRAINS, PLANES AND AUTOMOBILES
This will be an area when making sure that you have adequate provisions is a must. Unexpected travel delays can strike at any time, which usually means your meals will be delayed as well. Although there are increasingly more allergy-friendly options becoming readily available, not everyone’s allergies are the same and some may not be so friendly for you. Spend the extra money on necessities such as pre-packaged, individual servings, TSA approved travel size containers and carry on items that you can easily store your fast grab foods. Opt for powdered drink mixes and bring an empty refillable bottle for shakes and vitamin boosters. Sometimes the expense of these smaller items outweighs being hungry and chancing grabbing for a food that may cause an allergic reaction.
Call ahead for information on what you may be able to purchase safely at your home away from home. Most hotels are more than happy to accommodate their guests with special dietary needs. Do not wait until you get there- this will leave you and your hotel helper feeling rushed to supply you with the correct information about your foods. This is when accidents can happen even more so. Explain that you require a few extra minutes to speak with the chef so that they can contact you when they have the dedicated time to spend with you, not in between meal rushes. Many hotels also offer delivery from local restaurants within a short distance from their location for more variety.
With so many options available for restaurants offering special menus, do your research to see where else you can step out for a meal. Online menus usually contain ingredients and allergens as well as a quick look guide to give you a rundown of which of their foods may or may not contain your allergens. Research dining apps that will allow you to customize your ingredient restrictions while searching for a place to enjoy a meal. Don’t forget to reach out to friends and family for their input about places that they have had a good experience with. That coupled with customer reviews that can be found at resources such as Allergy Eats to give you a well-rounded start to your dining dilemma.
EAT, HEAT OR REHEAT
When traveling with some of your safe foods, you also need to think about having a place to prepare them or heat them up. The same is true when it comes to any leftovers from a night out. With all of the time and effort that you put into your meals, you deserve to enjoy every last bite. Opt for a hotel that includes a kitchenette in their guest rooms, even if it’s as simple as a microwave and refrigerator. The small amount that may be added to your travel budget for this luxury evens itself out in safety. Using up leftovers and having an immediate outlet for foods when you are hungry keeps safety as the front runner. Not all hotels and restaurants have kitchens that operate all night long- having your own means not having to worry about what time of day it is because your hungry certainly will not.
Even when you travel, labeling your foods is still very important. Having your name or even your initials on items (the tops of water bottles, bags of food, even peel able fruit) prevents another source of crosscontamination. It takes just seconds for a fellow family member, a friend coming to stay with you or even a business associate to reach for your food items without even realizing it. Not only will you be questioning which item was yours to begin with without proper labeling but you may also be forced to dispose of the rest of that item to make sure you don’t ingest any possible allergens.
TAKE A BREAK AT HOME
If the thought of trying to coordinate a trip away is just not possible try enjoying the comforts of your own home and what’s around you. When was the last time you ventured out to the nearest parks to benefit from the fresh air and sunshine? Can you remember how many times you promised the kids a trip to the amusement park but never managed to get there? The great thing about summer vacation is that there are no rules on what you have to do. Grab a chair and a good book and catch up on you reading, relaxing and Vitamin D. Or pack a cooler full of your favorite foods for the car and go ride all of the newest rides at the parks. Best of all, having food allergies may seem a bit overwhelming but have you seen the prices of concession foods? Your allergies are actually saving your health as well as your pocket book. Life has become a race of trying to do everything on a schedule, to be the person who can get as much done within a day only to start again tomorrow. This catches up to all of us. Taking care of yourself is the only way to keep up with your daily responsibilities but this cannot be done unless you learn to relax in between.
Tracy Bush is a Food Allergy Consultant, Author, Blogger, Mother & Self-professed “Kitchen Geek” check out her website at www.allergyphoods.com
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