Travelling With Kids - Allergy Edition

Updated: Mar 30, 2021

If you have a child that has allergies, you know how stressful it is! Eating out at restaurants can be a nightmare (milk seems to be in everything), parties and playdates can be awkward and travelling long haul on a plane is definitely up there on the anxiety list.

When we emigrated to Australia from the UK my daughter was 2 and had a dairy and egg allergy. I thought it wouldn’t be a problem to order her a special meal – I was wrong. They had no option online suitable, despite me also calling customer service to see if they accommodate her allergies. I was told to bring my own food. For a 26 hour flight this was going to be a challenge – my daughter loves eating more than anything in the whole world – food is life!

I think most of our carry-on luggage was stuffed with pre-packaged croissants (milk free), packets of raisins, vegan biscuits and any other 2 year old friendly snack that she could safely eat. Plus all the other million things you need when you travel long haul with a toddler.

We still ordered the kids meal in the hope that there would be suitable options, I ordered a normal meal and my husband selected vegan (he isn’t vegan but we needed options!).

When the kids meal came around it was spaghetti bolognese, I asked the flight attendant for a list of the ingredients to check and she couldn’t provide me with one. The extras on the tray was a carton of flavoured milk, a mini chocolate and a bread roll with butter. Basically she couldn’t eat anything on the tray – try explaining that to a hungry 2 year old. 

Luckily when my husband’s vegan meal came, he was given a vegan curry and some fruit and crackers so she could eat most of that – phew!

The main meal ordeal was out the way but it got worse. Breakfast offerings for both adults and children was scrambled eggs or omelette – you had to be kidding me! Luckily the vegan meal saved the day again with fresh fruit. 

I naively thought that the airlines could accommodate allergy requests, they seem to be able to accommodate many other food requests for adults but the kid’s meals are tricky. If you're travelling with a child with allergies always check with the airline, bring tonnes of your own food and where you can try ordering a vegan adult meal so you have options.

Ultimately my top five tips to help you survive travelling with kids who have allergies are:

  • Plan ahead – look at the airline website, see what meals are available ad call customer services to see if they can provide any extra assistance

  • Pack LOADS of snack foods – gives you peace of mind that you have something to feed them when they get hungry 

  • Order vegan where you can to cover some of your bases

  • Don’t be afraid to ask the airline staff for other food, they have hidden snacks

  • Get sneaky (I mean creative) in order to hide the items from your child that they can’t have to avoid the meltdown

Kristina is a Brisbane-based travel enthusiast and Mum to her 4-year-old daughter. She has combined her passion for travel with her knowledge of parenting to found 'Keeping Kids Busy'. Where she sells age-appropriate activity bags packed full of crafts, books, games and puzzles designed to keep kids busy anywhere. Kristina spent her 20’s travelling the world and when she became a mum at 30 she still wanted to travel and share her passion with her daughter. They moved across the world from the UK to Australia when her daughter was 2 and has experienced many long haul flights since.  During this time Kristina spent hours searching online and in-store finding the right type of activities to keep kids busy on the plane, this research led to the creation of her business 'Keeping Kids Busy' Kristina will be sharing all her tips with travelling long haul with kids on the plane, road trips, finding the right family-friendly destinations and hotels across the world.  Learn more at: