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Traveling with food allergies: Ten essential items to bring on the plane for kids

Traveling with food allergies: Ten essential items to bring on the plane for kids

This post is dedicated to sharing ten essential items our family brings on the plane to help kids stay safe and enjoy traveling with our family who is managing food allergies.

Traveling with food allergies has taught our family to be flexible

Traveling with food allergies can feel daunting at first. There can be many things to think about and plan that it can feel safer to stay at home within the comforts of our kitchen.  We put travel on hold after my daughter’s last allergic reaction. I let fear take over but I missed traveling because it was such a big part of our lives. 

Over the years, I’ve come to realize that figuring out how to safely travel with food allergies is an important life skill to teach our food allergic girl. Trips may not go as planned when you are traveling with allergies but it has taught our family to be flexible. 

Traveling with kids with food allergies means focusing on experiences rather than the food we’re missing out on

In turn, we’ve tried to model that with proper planning, traveling with kids with food allergies is not only possible but that exploration is a valuable gift. I’ve seen my daughter grow confident and bottle up memories that are centered around experiences rather than the food she was missing out on.

traveling with kids with food allergies- airplane

Traveling with kids with food allergies changes

Traveling with kids with food allergies also changes through the different stages of their life. Many of the things that are suggested in this post are items we purchased and implemented when the kids were young and would not keep their hands to themselves!

Other things such as medicines, wipes, doctor’s notes and food/snacks, to name a few, have remained the same. As tweens, teens and adults you may find that adjustments need to be made so use what you may and do what works for your comfort level.

Traveling with food allergies: ten essential items to bring on the plane for kids


1. Wipes

Clorox travel wipes for wiping down tray tables, seat, seat belt and buckle, windows and surrounding area. We prefer not to use the holder basket because most people use it to stuff food or garbage containing food products.  We like Nice-n-Clean wipes to use for wiping hands. I also bring an extra plastic bag to discard all of our wipes. Since we are a family of four, we wipe down four seats and that’s a lot of wipes!

Another tip that has worked for us is if you are able to pre-board and have someone traveling with you, I have my husband stay back with the kids to give me space and time to wipe down everything on my own. Then, when the kids arrive with my husband everything is clean. Or if your kids are old enough, you can use this as a time to feel empowered and have them help you wipe their seat down themselves.

Check with your airline beforehand about pre-boarding rules and protocol because every airline handles this differently.

2. Crib Sheet

In addition to wiping down seats and surrounding areas from allergen, this baby crib seat from Ikea provided an extra barrier. It doesn’t fit perfectly but works and it’s washable which makes it safe to use on our next flight.  There are also some great airline seat protectors out there for purchase.

traveling with kids with food allergies- airplane
Dolls are very necessary to bring on the plane too!
traveling with kids with food allergies- airplane

3. Tray Table Placemat

I like this silicon placemat from Skip Hop because it doesn’t move around and covers the tray table. It also works dual purpose in any given restaurant or picnic area. You can throw this in the dishwasher for easy clean up. As our girl has gotten older, she likes these simple placemats that are more age appropriate.

4. Sippy cup or thermos for water

We fill our cups with filtered water at the airport after we leave security.

5. Gloves

Disposable gloves can provide an extra barrier against allergens or residue from allergens in an airplane restroom. This may especially help if your kids are little.

6. Auto injectors and medications

Check with your doctor/allergist prior to your trip about any questions related to your allergy action plan, current medications, auto-injectors and items needed for your trip. We carry our medications in an insulated, padded case like this pack . Show Your Teal has a larger pack to hold all medications including inhalers and auto injectors. Keep these important items in your carry on bag.

See Also

7. Doctor’s note and allergy action plan

Although we’ve never had to use it, we feel reassured knowing we have an updated doctor’s note in case anyone in security questions us about our daughter’s food and medications. We carry our child’s allergy action plan with her medications. You can find it by searching for FARE allergy action plan or on the FARE website.

8. Food and snacks

We carry a bag full of food and snacks when flying with allergies. We prefer to carry whole foods such as fruit and veggies. We also pack sandwiches with safe bread,  Sunbutter and Mac-n-cheese in case our flight gets delayed. 

For longer trips or when traveling with food allergies internationally, we’ve loved using these bento boxes for food storage. If you choose a freezer pack option, it is very handy for keeping food cold. Check beforehand with the airlines, but as long as our freezer packs have been ice cold, we have been able to successfully navigate through security. Bento boxes are also great for picnics when traveling with allergies. In addition, the kids love to pack them because they are fun to eat from.

bento boxes for traveling with allergies

We do not buy any food/snacks at the airport or eat meals provided by the airline.  We bring food that we’ve eaten safely before at home (no new foods). Our Co-Founder Kortney has a rule where she only brings food she’s eaten safely at least three times. I love that rule!

9. Extra change of clothes

I pack clothing in a ziplock bag which I place in my carry on bag. I have my daughter wear long pants/leggings and long sleeve shirts because her skin is protected in case she comes into contact with any of her allergens.

10. Packing Cubes & Reusable bags

Travel cubes are helpful for overall organization. We like something like this from TravelWise. Stasher bags are great because you can keep a designated bag for food and/or wipes. They are also washable and reusable which make them handy for travel.


Notes:

  • Consult your doctor and medical team before flying with food allergies.
  • Every airline has a different policy for pre-boarding, accommodating food allergies and serving snacks. Check with the airline first.
  • First flights of the day are generally cleaner on an airplane
  • Some of the items on this list have changed over time as my daughter grows up. For example, we no longer use a crib sheet and instead just wipe everything down. Everyone has a different comfort level but this has worked for us.
  • Here is additional information regarding traveling with food allergies from the website; Kids with Food Allergies 
  • Our Co-founder Kortney shares her tips and thoughts on traveling with food allergies in the New York Times.
  • If you will be dining out while traveling, we love using these cards from Equal Eats
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