Part Two in our series on travelling with kids, we’re going to take a separate look at these two (related) issues.
Travelling with Special Dietary Requirements
Whether you’re gluten free, dairy free, vegan, avoiding additives, or on any other diet; travelling with dietary restrictions can be tricky, but not impossible. You can order a special meal for your plane trip, but please be aware that these are not always foolproof. Contamination is possible. If you are very sensitive, you may wish to consider bringing your own food.
The plane trip aside, finding safe food in airports or at your destination can be difficult. Since it’s a very specific issue to each diet, I’ll concentrate only on generalities.
Take snacks. For the first day or so of your journey, you can pack alot of your own (perishable) food. A cooler bag that folds down and a number of small plastic (leak proof) containers are a good way of transporting it. Yoghurt frozen in its tub, frozen peas, frozen corn and frozen berries are all icepack-and-snacks, keeping your other food cold while they defrost. Some of the following are big hits with our kids when out and about:
- Chopped cucumber sticks, carrot sticks
- Dips like hummus and guacamole
- Cheese and crackers
After the first day or so of your journey, you will need to buy perishable food in your location. However, it’s a good idea to have some non-perishable food on hand that you can use when you’re either not sure you have something safe available or are pressed for time. Things we like are:
- Muesli bars
- Cans of tuna
- Rice cakes
- UHT milk in single-serve containers
- Shelf-stable cheese (this is loaded with sodium, so I use it as an occasional treat only)
- Cans of corn
- Dried fruit
- Nuts (diet permitting)
- Honey/Jam/Vegemite/Peanut butter (as above)
- Pre-cooked rice packets
- Just-add-water macaroni and cheese (again with the sodium)
Most diets accommodate fruit, and this is easy to buy in most places. However, it’s not easy to wash if the water isn’t fit for drinking. Fruit that is peeled before eating (mangoes, banannas, oranges etc.) is safest.
How to Carry All That STUFF?
If you’re travelling with kids, then you have three main categories of stuff to accommodate: bottoms, outsides and tummies. As above, the little tummies can be kept safely full if you can carry enough of your own food. Plastic containers and a cooler bag are one way of carrying food. Depending on your location and your family preferences, buying a small bag of frozen peas every morning before leaving for the day might be one way of feeding and cooling!
Bottoms can require special care and the items involved with it can be quite bulky- wipes, nappies etc. My suggestion is to pack minimally. Even in third world countries, you can buy disposables if you need to. Don’t bother with a changemat- use your carrier instead!
Outsides- the wee folk have a habit of creating loads of laundry when you’re out and about. My best advice here is to lower your standards. Take as little in the way of spare changes of clothing as necessary and if there are stains or the children spill something, don’t worry unless they’re cold! You’re on holiday, give yourself a break too 🙂
Once you’ve decided which items are absolutely necessary to carry, you need to decide how to carry them. One of my favourite methods over the years have been large (home made) messenger bags slung over the shoulder and around the wearee. A one-strap back-pack is a recent acquisition and that can be worn threaded through the carrier you’re wearing in most cases.
Lastly, consider weights training before you go 😉
Where have you been? What did you eat? What did you take?