Managing Unplanned Traveling
Traveling is difficult with food allergies. It is even more difficult when the trip isn’t planned. Life is, despite my futile attempts, uncontrollable at times. And for a woman who loves to control things, this is very frustrating. Very. This last week we had our first unexpected/unplanned/sudden trip since starting our food allergy journey. Now that we’ve gotten our first under our belt, I know its possible to be more spontaneous. But more importantly, I’ve got some ideas to make the next one (hopefully not in our near future) better.
Tips for that unexpected trip:
1) Secure a kitchen or kitchenette: We were very lucky to have obtained an entire house for our trip. Now this may not always be possible. I do recommend for the sudden trips to find someone who would be willing to let you cook and store food in their kitchen. In the past we’ve used my mother-in-laws kitchen for cooking. If you need to get a hotel, look for an extended stay hotel that has a full kitchen or invest in some hot plates to use in a hotel that has a microwave and mini-fridge. If the hot plates aren’t allowed by the hotel, consider things that can easily be made in a microwave.
2) Enlist others: We had one person who helped us keep our food issues on the forefront of people’s minds. Not everything was safe for the Little Guy, but she helped clean-up and keep designated areas clean for him. It was such a relief to know that common surfaces were washed down before we arrived with a very curious 2 year-old. She also helped put up toys that other kids had drooled on that were not washable or just not yet washed. This was a Godsend!
3) Familiarize yourself with local stores: One of the first things we did was hit the local grocery store. I grabbed what we needed for the immediate meal. This is also a good time to quickly browse the health food section or get a quick feel for the safe products the store has in stock. This store didn’t have all the brands I was familiar with but I was able to find things that worked. I found an unfamiliar but safe flour, as well as, the familiar pretzels and cookies. I also knew we could live off from plain meat, fresh veggies and fruits for a week.
4) Keep a stock pile: I try, but not always great at it, to keep a stockpile of frequently used items that are easy to travel with. In my cupboard I keep extra pasta, pasta sauce, fruit cups/canned fruits, pretzels/chips. It’s not a lot, but I’ve got basically two meals. The pasta and pasta sauce is good on its own or I can grab a pound of ground beef. The fruit cups and pretzels/chips with some lunch meat can make a second meal. I usually have some form of a cracker, cookie, or dried fruit that I can use for snack time.
5) Breathe: I had to remind myself of this a few times. Trips, expected or unexpected are no fun if you’re stressed out the whole time. Remembering to breath and relax is so important. Especially if the unexpected trip is not for pleasure. I’m a solitude kind-of girl. When I need to relax and de-stress I like to go for a jog, pick-up a book, watch TV or sit quietly alone. I made sure to include some jogging time and some (albeit very short) alone time. This helped me recharge my battery and refocus on staying safe. I’m certain it will help you do the same.
Have you had an unexpected trip recently and have some tips you can share? Is there anything you’ve found that made traveling with food allergies easier? Feel free to share those tips below. Or if you have things that have NOT worked, share those too!