Have food allergies, will travel

Traveling with food allergies must be hard.

Even in many countries in Europe, menus simply don’t list all the ingredients used in meals. My Canadian friend went into an allergic shock in Prague because of his nuts allergy. He figured eating a sandwich would be safe. Of course, they didn’t mention the sandwich had pesto in it. And pesto contains pine nuts…

And that’s Prague, which is now fairly Westernized. Imagine what it must be like to travel in Asia, where not only do they use peanuts a lot more but it is much harder to read the menus and find people who speak English well enough.

This ABC article talks about traveling with allergies. It is about the challenges of a traveler with serious food allergies, who presents a card to the waiter noting his allergies to peanuts and peas, written in the native tongue. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn’t. Some waiters even say that they have “never heard of such allergies.”

I found it really interesting to read, although I don’t have any allergies. How do you deal with food allergies when traveling?

Air Canada is Set to Ban Pets in the Cabin

Air Canada is set to become the first Canadian airline to ban pets from riding in the cabin of its aircrafts. This news comes after one passenger had a severe allergic reaction to the the presence of a cat in a seat near her. Unfortunately, because the air on flights is recycled, allergic reactions often won’t go away simply by moving the pet to another seat away from the allergy sufferer.

Meanwhile, Air Canada‘s competitors, particularly Westjet, are taking advantage of the ban by attempting to woo pet lovers.

I’m an animal lover but I kind of agree with Air Canada — it’s not fair for allergy sufferers to bring your pets in the cabin. It’s also not really fair to make animals suffer in the belly of the plane, but I think pets suffer from any journey, no matter where they are on the plane. Here’s my solution: leave Fido at home or drive.

Hypoallergenic Hotel Rooms

Most stories are about how bad hotels rooms are, but here’s good news for many. The NY Times just ran a story on some hotels that go to great lengths to clean their rooms.

The Premier Hotel in Times Square, for example, uses ozone, tea tree oil, dust-mite covers, and other methods to create the “Pure Room.” And they aren’t the only ones. The article lists a host of other hotels making similar changes. Some charging premiums of five to ten percent over a ‘normal’ room, some not.

The process is not cheap. It often requires ripping out carpets and drapes, throwing out mattresses and duvets, and installing new equipment, such as air purifiers, filters, and maybe even wooden blinds and hardwood floors.

Aside from the physical changes, cleaning changes can also be made, including swabbing doorknobs and phones with germ-killers, misting surfaces with antimicrobial agents, and four-hour ozone treatments.

But watch out. What might make things clean doesn’t necessarily help those with allergies, and vice-versa.

Photo: Mussels