One of the great pleasures of travelling – especially when you’re going abroad – is enjoying sampling the local cuisine. But for many people, this can be more stressful than we realise.
I’m taking here about those who have food allergies or who need to stick to specific diets for the sake of their health. Unless you’re fluent in the language of the country you’re visiting, how can you be sure that something is safe for you to eat? Here are a few ideas:
LET YOUR AIRLINE KNOW IN ADVANCE – TWICE
When you book your flight, you’re often given the opportunity there and then to order special meals. We don’t eat meat or fish so always we’re sure to order the vegetarian option. However, this doesn’t always work. Many times, this has been forgotten.
Now, we contact the airline a couple of days before the flight to confirm that we need meat-free meals. We also remind the cabin crew when we’re aboard. It seems like overkill but we don’t want to go hungry on long flights. This is even more essential if you have allergies.
USE ALLERGY / MEDICAL CARDS
We’re all travelling more and many people are going much further afield these days. So a company called Select Wisely have a great solution. They provide cards in a variety of languages that, according to reviews, are incredibly effective. See the image below for examples.
TRAVEL WITH YOUR OWN SNACKS
For some of us, missing a meal causes nothing but hunger pangs but for others, skipping a meal can have serious health repercussions. If you are one of these people then be sure to travel with your own snacks. These can be bought online in bulk.
OPT FOR SELF-CATERING VACATIONS
Although it’s likely that you’ll still eat out some of the time, choosing accommodation where you can cook your own meals can be a great bonus. And often, these are an even cheaper alternative to a hotel.
This way you can be sure that you’ll be in control of everything you eat and drink. You might find too that you have a friendly host who will guide you towards flexible restaurants, local farmers markets or specialist health food stores.
REMEMBER THAT RESTAURANTS ARE FLEXIBLE
Some time ago, I conducted a mini survey to find out whether local restaurants were flexible towards people with special diets. I was delighted to discover that every single one was fully aware of dietary restrictions and had helpful staff, especially the chefs, who would work with their guests regarding diet.
However, if this isn’t the case, do remember that you can pick and choose from the menu, especially if you have your food cards with you. I often start a restaurant meal with an appetizer then have another one (or even two) as a main course. The majority of restaurants are just fine with that.
FIND OUT IN ADVANCE
With all the information we have on the internet today, it’s easy to find out about local food specialties before you travel. Does that local delicacy contain nuts? Is the local seafood sustainable? The internet will know.
You’ll also be able to discover specialist restaurants and food stores in the area. An hour of research can be a huge benefit.