A milk allergy or being milk intolerant (dairy-free) and the thought of going on a family holiday can be incredibly stressful. I know too well the constant worry of whether or not something will go wrong with my son being. As I have the first-hand experience of travelling with a dairy-free child, I thought I would pass on some advice and tips that I have learnt along the way.
Travelling with a food intolerance like being milk or dairy intolerant can feel daunting, but this for me is not a reason not to go travelling or on holiday. I have found that as long as you are prepared and have done some research before you arrive, then you should be okay while you are away on holiday.
Here are my top 3 tips for going on holiday with children with milk intolerance/gluten.
Take Spare Formula
If you are travelling with a baby and they are still using their special formula then make sure you take 1 or 2 more tins than you need. Making sure you have extra tins of their special formula with over what you think you will need gives you a good safety net incase anything goes wrong.
Plan in advance – if you get this on prescription, particularly if you are travelling for a longer period of time, you will need to contact your doctor in advance to arrange this so you can get multiple doses/amounts/tins.
If you are going travelling for a long time, then you could see if the formula you use is available in the country you are going to, this is great across Europe if you’re travelling as most companies have several of the same product across the countries.
Take Spare Snacks
Even now I still make sure I take plenty of snacks with us when travelling. I find nothing worse than hunting out shops and searching for food that the kids can eat and you never know what’s in certain foods if you’re buying off the shelf and can’t understand what language it’s written in.
I normally take their snacks, some wraps to make their lunch up, crisps that they eat and fruits along for the ride. If we are self-catering then I also take other food with us like pasta, cereal and other items that are not liquid so that we don’t get them taken off us at airports/borders.
I have discovered that taking snacks with us can be handy for when travelling whether it be flying or driving etc. My son and daughter always seem to want to eat and having a stockpile of suitable foods makes it way less stressful than it can be, especially if they’re nagging in the car!
If you are flying and taking food into another country, you are best checking the country’s guidelines on what/how much you can take in, we got caught out once and it was a nightmare so be careful.
Learn the local language
Learning the local words for milk or gluten has always come in handy. Write these words down, so that when you go into a shop or out to a restaurant you can check ingredients. In Italy, I found learning Sensa Latte was invaluable as I could easily say it and read it on the packaging which is a great example.
I have also done a shout out on Facebook to see if anyone knows someone who speaks the local language before we arrive. This means I can then ask them to translate something suitable for us to use while away, when we were in Poland we were able to facetime our neighbours to find out what a few of the signs said when we were lost.
Tips for Travelling With A Child With A Milk Intolerance/Allergy
- Google Translate App can come in very handy too if your phone has charge so keep it handy. Download the language pack before you arrive and don’t look back. This means you can use the handy picture feature which you can hold up to signs or packaging and it auto translates for you (which we didn’t know in Poland!). It’s a great feature and we used it a lot when we went to Lake Como last Autumn.
- Allergy cards can also come in handy if you wish to buy one before you go away on holiday. Also useful if you have multiple allergies.
- If your child is dairy-free then Vegan food is great to look out for, it’s guaranteed to have no dairy. There will be no animal products involved and some countries have a great range of food for your child to eat especially in recent times.
The advice above will make your family holiday with a milk intolerance easier. You still may stress while there and don’t worry it is normal, any holiday with kids is stressful! It can be difficult at the best of times putting your trust in someone, never mind doing it on holiday when there is a language barrier so the more you can do the better.