Are you an allergic traveler? | The Food Sensitive ShopperThe Food Sensitive Shopper
My new friend, Edmond Biermann (founder of Allergic Traveler, LLC), is no stranger to traveling with food allergies. Read about her travel experiences, useful advice, and handy traveler cards so that you can also travel safely with food allergies…
How we came to be
I have lived with food allergies my whole life. I grew up in a time that was pre-internet so there were not anywhere near as many resources available to my parents as there are today. And yet, my parents still traveled. I was on my first trip at age two. Although some may think this is an early age to travel, because of baby formula or breast milk, it is simply not when you are allergic to milk. I have outgrown my milk allergy but have many more today. They include eggs, nuts, mushrooms, peanuts, soy, pork, garlic, sesame, corn, celery, chicken, potato and almost all fruits. And yet I still travel! I do not, nor will I ever let my life be sheltered because of my food allergies. This does not mean I am reckless when traveling. I am very well prepared with meds, Allergic Traveler cards, and Epi-pens.
How can I help others?
When I discovered that not everyone was willing to travel, I started thinking how could I help others? There is so much to see, it would be a shame not to experience the world to its fullest. Now don’t get me wrong, there are people with food allergies that travel but it appears it is not the norm. When I started interviewing these people at various conferences about their tips or struggles while traveling with food allergies, there were some very useful suggestions. For instance, always check to see if your favorite grocery chain is located in your destination city. There were some not so helpful, even alarming too. For instance, many were using free translations services online. This was terrifying to me. Being a linguistic major in university, I knew the importance of accurate translations. Machines cannot replace people! One person I interviewed even told me about a translation he found online for his allergen. The translation was inaccurate and actually said in Czech that he was allergic to grenades! You know what? So am I! Although comical this can be quite dangerous. It was then I knew I needed to start helping others. Instead of just making cards for me, I invested in making my cards available to others. The catch though, was each card had to be customized to the allergy sufferers need. We work with over 17 translators that guarantee the accuracy of such an important translation.
Who we are…
Living with allergies my whole life, I know the frustrations of trying to make others understand the severity of eating the wrong food. Time and time again, I have had to teach the restaurant servers that ‘yes, that (food) could actually kill me and no I am not exaggerating!’
You simply present the Allergic Traveler card to the waiter and you are able to communicate your allergies without fear of having a reaction (due to lack of communication).
It should not be a battle every time you dine out. It’s not enjoyable as an allergy sufferer or a parent of an allergy sufferer to eat in restaurants when you fear the worst. It makes you reluctant to eat out, whether while traveling or in your own hometown. However, I believe that it is important that we are out. We should wear our allergies like a badge of honor. We need to make others more aware and more accepting of our allergies. This can be done in our own backyard where we know the restaurants and speak the language. But what happens when you are traveling, for pleasure or business, and you need to communicate with the waiter that you are allergic to nuts in French? That is the premise behind Allergic Traveler, LLC
We offer a wide range of allergy cards in multiple languages. You simply present the Allergic Traveler card to the waiter and you are able to communicate your allergies without fear of having a reaction. (due to lack of communication) You can carry it with ease in your wallet. You can hand it to the waiter discreetly if you are out with business associates and you don’t want them knowing your personal dietary needs.
This card is not restricted to travelers
As a parent of an allergic child, I know you are in constant worry. Field trips are the worst!! The Allergic Traveler card can be hung from your child’s back pack to alert others of the severity of your child’s dietary restrictions. The card does not have to be translated; it is also available in English. All translations are done by native speakers in order to ensure the accuracy of such an important translation.
Break out of your bubble
One should not have to live in a bubble because of their allergies. I love to travel and I hate the idea of being restricted to where I can go because of language issues or allergies. I used to travel with food all the time, but when you are away for a lengthy period this is not always feasible. My Allergic Traveler card has given me the freedom to see the world and I hope it can do the same for you.