The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America reports allergies are increasing and now affect as many as 30 percent of adults and 40 percent of children. Although those statistics are disheartening, it also means more hotels are taking notice and making accommodations for travelers with allergies.
The rise in allergies can actually give families navigating a family vacation with allergies more peace of mind and support. Even if your child could potentially suffer an anaphylactic reaction to allergens in your hotel room or a resort restaurant, you can still enjoy your travels safely with some diligence and precautions in place. Here are five tips to get started.
Ask About Allergen-Free Floors and Rooms
Instead of just showing up at your hotel and trying to allergy-proof your room with cleaners and bedding from home, ask for an allergen-free room in advance. Some hotels like Hilton offer PURE Allergy-Friendly Hotel rooms. Their rooms are designed with in-room filtration systems to remove allergens from air particles and use microfiber pillowcases and mattress covers. They even clean and sanitize soft surfaces to kill any contaminants.
Book Hotels Catering to Food Allergies (and ask for a tour)
Hotel kitchens can do more than just supply you with a list of gluten-free options or food that hasn’t been cooked in peanut oil. Book a hotel that specifically caters to travelers with allergies. Palladium Hotels & Resorts designed customized menus with allergy sufferers in mind.
And if your child’s allergy is especially problematic or life-threatening, ask for a tour of the kitchen to ensure the staff is following proper procedures and observe how dishes are made.
Look for Tours that Cater to Allergy Needs
Tours make this list even though they are obviously not the same thing as hotels. But here’s the thing. If you’re going on a tour group with your family, you need to pick one that caters to allergies so they can either book the appropriate hotels or handle the details. Adventures by Disney are run by knowledgeable guides that cater to every need including letting restaurants and hotels know of any allergies. This can be crucial if your kids are exploring Italy and want to try a local treat. A tour guide can alert the hotel kitchen or local bakery of any food allergies and keep a diligent eye on your child’s needs.
Ask About Cross-Contamination
Hotels may proudly say they offer allergy-safe menu options from gluten-free to peanut-free, but unless they’re also trained in avoiding cross-contamination their efforts won’t mean much.
As parents of kids with food allergies already know, you have to ask the right questions and advocate for your child. Always ask about cross-contamination like whether or not the fryer used to cook french fries in vegetable oil is the same fryer used to cook spring rolls with traces of peanuts. And remember, you can always ask for a tour of the kitchen to make sure your child is safe.
Ask if Your Needs Will be Communicated to Bilingual Staff
Whether you’re traveling globally or visiting a resort staffed with multilingual workers, it’s important to ask if your child’s allergy needs will be met no matter who is servicing your needs. That means everyone from the laundry staff to the maids to the line cooks should understand exactly what your needs are.
It may be worth typing up a note of your child’s allergies in multiple languages and leaving a set on your child’s bed and take them with you to the hotel restaurant and snack bar to ensure your family’s needs are clearly communicated.