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  • Writer's pictureAmanda MacGregor

Tips on Traveling for Work with Food Allergies

Updated: Mar 19

Going on a work trip, but need to manage your food allergies? Check out my tips and tricks to help plan out your food-safe trip!


Tips on Traveling for Work with Food Allergies - Amanda MacGregor - Food Allergy Blog

About a week after receiving the news that I got the job, I was informed that for my first week, I would be heading to Chicago to meet my team in person and attend their annual department summit. My mind was rushing with excitement and nerves. Then I had the sudden realization that the last time I traveled was in 2018, the vacation that turned out to be our engagement. Not only that, I had never traveled alone. Nerves were overpowering my excitement and taking over by this point.


For most, the rustiness of jumping back into traveling may not seem that intimidating. However, for those with food allergies, it can be a little more of a challenge. I became very aware of my situation, being in a new city, with new people, and having to worry about my food allergies on top of all that. It was time to shift my focus into overdrive and jump into making my checklist and planning so I could make this trip a successful and safe one for myself!


Equal Eats - Tips on Traveling for Work with Food Allergies - Amanda MacGregor - Food Allergy Blog


My Tips on Traveling for Work with Food Allergies


In this blog, I will cover:


Let's fly into it! ✈️


Prepping


My first step was finding out the details about my hotel room and where the team food outings were going to be. Typically, when we travel for personal trips, Joe and I look to find hotels with rooms that have kitchens or at least a mini-fridge. This time around, I didn't have that type of control in the planning process. Luckily, in the hotel they booked, their rooms were equipped with a mini-fridge and microwave, as well as a coffee machine.


When speaking to my soon-to-be new manager, I communicated to her about my food allergies and asked if I could get a list of the places they plan to dine at so I can start contacting the establishments. She gave me a list of the places they were planning to cater lunches or go to for dinners. Some were not going to be accommodating, which was fine. I just added to my checklist to plan what to do for those days.


From there, I made a shopping list to pick up food and snacks I could pack into my checked luggage. The list included cereal, shelf-stable food, and a lot of granola bars and snacks. (See list below).


In addition, we received this amazing care package from our trusted tuna fish brand, Wild Planet. This package arrived at the perfect time, as I had no idea about the wild tuna pouches and knew they would come in handy for my trip! The Wild Tuna Pasta Salad would also make a great to-go option, for those who are not allergic to gluten or corn.


Tips on Traveling for Work with Food Allergies - Amanda MacGregor - Food Allergy Blog - Wild Planet Tuna

So, what food did I pack for my trip?

By this point, I had a general idea of what I would be eating and needed to purchase at the store. Here is what I had on my shopping list for food, with links you can click if you want to look into the products for yourself.

On my list

What I bought

Cereal

Crackers

Shelf-stable tuna

Shelf-stable mayo

Shelf-stable plant-based milk

Snacks

YumEarth fruit snacks, Rule Breaker Snacks' Cookies, That's It bars, 88 Aces granola bars, Jonesbar, and Pearls no liquid whole black olives (see links below)

Spices

Plastic plates and bowls

Plastic utensils


Packing


Luckily, all I had was my giant suitcase we'd taken with us on long trips. This was overkill for a 3 and 1/2 day trip but came in very useful with packing all my food. As you can see in the picture above, I like to pack using a lot of baggies. Especially when traveling with food, it gives me a sense of security knowing that if anything leaks, the damage will not be too, too bad. I also find that it keeps me very organized by packing all my different outfits for each day into their bag. Not a food allergy tip, but a traveling tip I highly recommend! 😜


Tips on Traveling for Work with Food Allergies - Amanda MacGregor - Food Allergy Blog

I had already contacted the restaurants, established a meal plan for myself, researched places nearby my hotel to get takeout, and located stores for purchasing additional food when I arrived. The only thing I had left to do was to pack my carry-on bag and get ready for the airport.


Traveling


Being in the airport for the first time in 5 years was an experience all on its own. It felt familiar and foreign at the same time. One thing I was not prepared for was that the airport had undergone renovations and all the stores I was used to going to in the terminal had now changed. I had to do a lap just to find a spot to get safe water. Luckily, I had snacks packed in my carry-on bag, because I was struggling to find safe snacks when walking around.


When planning to get on a plane, one thing I do is pack peanut-free snacks. Despite not being allergic to peanuts or most nuts, I am still cautious of others who are. My snacks of choice for the plane ride were That's It fruit bars, 88 Acres granola bar, and YumEarth lollipops.


As mentioned in our previous traveling tips blog post, I advise wiping down your seat and screen (if the plane has one) when boarding. I also advise packing rubber gloves and doing the same thing once you get to your hotel room as well. I was very happy I did this when I got to my hotel in Chicago because, to my surprise, I found Cheetos left on my window sill. Being someone allergic to dairy, this was not a fun discovery and it gave me anxiety imagining what other unseen allergens were around my room. But knowing I gave it all a wipe down myself, gave me a small sense of comfort.


Tips on Traveling for Work with Food Allergies - Amanda MacGregor - Food Allergy Blog


Once I felt more settled into my room, I took a trip to the nearest Target to pick up coffee and water bottles. Just like I advise wiping down your seat on the plane and surfaces in your hotel room, I also highly recommend cleaning any appliances you will be using, such as the coffee machine in your hotel room. I already knew I wasn't going to be taking advantage of the microwave in my room, but if I had, I would have cleaned that too.


Eating


I ate the majority of my meals in my hotel room. For breakfast, would have a bowl of cereal. For lunch and quick dinners before running back out to meet up with my department, I would either have tuna with crackers or another bowl of cereal (depending on how much time I had). During the summit, I kept a couple of snacks in my bag, such as bars or cookies. I also snagged a banana during one of their catered breakfasts. But, the one thing I always had with me was a bottle of water! Still having to watch out for what type of water I drink (due to the added ingredients some brands include in their bottled water), it was important to know I had a bottle of safe natural spring water in my bag when needed.


Tips on Traveling for Work with Food Allergies - Amanda MacGregor - Food Allergy Blog

Despite the nerves that occurred, the trip itself was a great way to kick off my new employment and put me back at ease for traveling again. Every time I would panic or let the stress take over, Joe would remind me how it was going to be a great experience and that everything I planned for my food allergies could be something I could share on the blog. And that is exactly what I did here.


If you are a fellow foodie with food allergies who has a work trip coming up or a small travel booked soon, I hope this blog helped you sort out what you need to prep for. As always, if you have any questions or want to share suggestions for my next trip, feel free to contact us!


Hugs & Cookies,

Amanda

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