How to Get Answers You Need and Enjoy the Outdoors with Food Allergies

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Adventure trip planning starts with an important question "Have You Done Something Like This Before?"

If the answer is that you have not, and you have thought through the choice of guided and self-guided trips, you have three choices:

  1. Have the folks in your party, who do not have food allergies, go on a scouting trip with a travel provider to gather the information needed on the trip to prepare for a future self-guided trip
  2. Directly hire a guide and work with them to plan a private trip
  3. Leverage the experiences of others with food allergies who have done the trip before you to gain insights and lessons learned

As you go down this path, the confidence you can place in the answers will in many ways be determined by the quality of the questions you ask.

So, what are those questions?

We are not big fans of abstract theory and hand-waving answers when it comes to food allergies, so want to share with you a very real and personal experience we are going through right now.

Enter upcoming epic adventure family trip...

The Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB), which circumnavigates the massif of the highest peak in the Alps, is considered one of the most special hiking experiences in the world.

Over a ten day span, you travel through three different countries (France, Italy, Switzerland), enjoying some of Europe’s most spectacular mountain vistas while staying at villages and huts along the way.

This is one of those once-in-a-lifetime trips we have wanted to do as a family, but food allergy fears and a general fear of the unknown have always stood in our way.

No more!

When we asked ourselves the question "Have You Done Something Like This Before?", the following concerns came to light:

  • Potential language barrier that can complicate food allergy discussions given that the trek crosses three countries whose native language is not english
  • Remotely working on getting reservations at the huts in the Alps is a source of worry as we have never done that before
  • Lack of familiarity with the villages and points of contact impact our ability to plan, reach out, and communicate our needs to potential food service providers

So our first tactic was to see if we could out-source this to an adventure travel provider who specializes in this type of trip.

Unfortunately, in going through our checklist of questions with many of them, they were not able to put us directly in touch with the guides (not assigned to trip until closer to trip).

They also raised concerns of lack of control over food due to the hut-to-hut and mountain village locations for dining.

Considering the above quickly led us to make the decision that a self-guided trip out-of-the-gate would not be a good idea.

So what we have decided is that two members of our family, without food allergies, would go on a guided trip of TMB this summer and:

  1. Get first hand knowledge of every single detail about the trip that pertains to food allergy accommodations
  2. Establish the needed relationships and contacts with the service, accommodation and food providers along the way
  3. Use the information we gather for a future TMB self-guided trip for the entire family

So this, dear reader, gives you a unique opportunity to leverage our upcoming scouting trip to get answers you need to your questions as well.

What is the one question you would want answered to go on an adventure trip with food allergies?

Simply hit reply to this journal entry and let us know. Or you can post your question on our Facebook page or on Twitter. We will be sure to incorporate them into our scouting trip!

And while you are there, go right on ahead and like us or follow us to keep up on upcoming news and information!

SafeBites » Travel

You don't have to go on a two week trip in the Alps to enjoy the wild places of Europe.

» Of course, if you are staying local, it is important to keep in mind that camp sites at popular National Parks are.. popular, and you need to reserve them early.

» Last year, when we backpacked the popular Gunsight pass trail in Glacier National Park, we were not able to get early reservations for all the camp sites, so we had to show up early (as in before the sun rose) to stand in line at the ranger station to pick up spots that were allocated to the walk-ins.

SafeBites » Food

Focusing on what you can eat and looking for variations around that is the first mental step to managing food allergies. Combine that with learning simple food substitutions will massively help with your food choices during adventure trips.

» There is an argument that often happens between the food-as-fuel crowd and those who want something extra in the food bag. Yup, I'm talking desserts here. For the record, I am definitely in the latter camp!

SafeBites » Gear

It took as a while to get used to them, but at this stage of the game we would not go on any multi-day adventure trip that that requires walking without a pair of trekking poles.

» Then I saw these and the thought that kept running through my mind was "If Gandalf in Lord of the Rings had a trekking pole, this would be it!"

» I want one. That is all!

Hope you enjoyed this journal entry...

Anil John
Founder and Curator

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