We take so much for granted with food. Most people just hop in a car or a plane or some other mode of transport and figure they’ll grab a bite to eat on the way or when they arrive at their destination. When they stop for gas there will be road snacks for the choosing and when you’ve spent hours at an aquarium or theme park, a piece of pizza will perk you up.
Here are some handy highlights since I tend to ramble – most of these come up in other “vacationing with food allergies” type posts so stay tuned for Part Two where I actually give meal ideas:
– Stay somewhere with a kitchen
– Bring your own pans, cutlery, plates, toaster, and food
– Bring your own lotions, shampoos, and soaps
– Do a sweep of the room before your kids start exploring
– Bring garbage bags
– Bring medicine, epi-pens, benadryl, etc.
Our version of travel begins with the hotel, not any will do. We’ve had luck so far with the Hilton Homewood Suites (they can be pricey so join the hilton point program to earn free stays and to get promo emails with 50% off deals), they have what they call “full kitchens” but that does not include an oven. What it does include is a dishwasher, fridge, two burner electric stove, microwave, counters, toaster and a handful of pots, pans, plates, dull knives, and utensils. With food allergies, though, using their toaster is a no, same with using their non-stick pots and pans (you never know what could be lurking there). I also don’t like to use the plates for the kids just to be safe. You’ll want to bring your own dishwasher detergent because you have to ask for it every single day and they only give you a little bit even then.
You’ll be bringing food and pans from home, planning three meals for every day you are there, and even bringing your own shampoo, body wash, and soap. Homewood Suites had sesame seed lotion for example, major allergy issue there!
When you arrive you should wipe down surfaces your kids are certain to play with – phones, remotes, etc. Put away any decor items that they will probably mess with (fake flowers, for one). Throw out any dangerous items like the free soaps, or put them very high up in a cabinet (the downside is that the housekeeping will keep giving them to you when they see they are not out). Bring your own garbage bags because with all the cooking you’ll make more trash than most. I think most people use kitchens in hotels to reheat take-out food.
Don’t forget the daily items from home like lotion for eczema (we use Vanicream), allergy medicine, benadryl, and your epi-pen(s).
Next: What you can plan to eat while on vacation (meal ideas!)