Here are 5 Tips on Planning a Hawaiian Vacation with Multiple Food Allergies

Planning a trip for many families is simply choosing your destination, transportation, where to stay, and what to do. When planning a Hawaiian Vacation with a family with multiple food allergies, there’s extra steps and precautions we take to ensure a safe vacation. Hawaii was our first long haul trip with our Littles. We had safely traveled within North America on flights not longer than 4 hours per flight segment. Now that we were traveling further and overseas, with our food allergies more preparation was needed. Here are some tips that helped us plan and prepare for our Hawaiian vacation:

Tip #1 – Carry extra food and snacks for inflight
First and foremost when traveling anywhere with my Littles, I always carry extra food and snacks. We bring at least one big meal inflight, depending on the time of day of travel. No inflight meals are included when flying to Hawaii is not considered international flight from Vancouver, Canada. Only inflight food for purchase is available. We regularly carry dry foods like beef jerky, granola bars, instant noodles, tortilla shells and or pita bread. We also bring luncheon meat and a thermos of hot food like dumplings or rice. At the airport we pick-up fresh fruit and beverages. This gets us to Hawaii until we land and we grab a bite to eat.

Tip #2 – Familiarize yourself with local cuisine and ingredients
We typically stay in vacation rentals where a kitchen is available to prepare meals. As Chef de Cuisine for my family, when I’m on vacation I also need a break from cooking. I spend time researching local cuisine and if their ingredients are safe for my Littles. I find basic dishes like Huli-Huli chicken may contain kukui nut. Or some pokes may contain shellfish. Depending on the dish, always ask the Chef how they prepare and let them know about your allergens.

Tip #3 – Plan meals ahead
Being a Foodie I’m always on the lookout for the best places to eat. I research online menus and call restaurants ahead to ask questions on preparation and ingredients. Normally I find dishes that are safe and my Littles can enjoy. Breakfast is our “danger meal” for my son, as dairy and eggs are often served. We have a light breakfast at our condo to ensure we start the day off right.

Tip #4 – Shop locally
We love to shop locally, especially at Farmer’s markets. We buy fresh fruits and vegetables and enjoy the local snacks. We get to know the market vendors to inquire about their products and ask for recommendations for places where locals eat. We also shop at local supermarkets, Costco, or Whole Foods to stock up on familiar brands and allergen-friendly foods for breakfasts and snacks during our trip.

Tip #5 – Bring medications and emergency plans
Ask your Doctor for a letter stating your allergens and medications. We’ve had to explain ourselves about our multiple Epi-pens at airport security on many occasions. And the letter is useful where venues search or x-ray your belongs before entering. Showing them a Doctor’s letter or even our Medic Alert wallet card saves time.

We also create a list of the addresses and contact information for hospitals, medical centers, and drugstores. Going old school and carrying lists has saved time from searching and we just map the directions.

Traveling to destinations that are unfamiliar and far-away requires planning. Our Hawaiian vacations have been filled with lots of memories, especially with these planning tips and we’ve enjoyed many delicious meals safely away from home.

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