A Spring Break can feel like a rite of passage for any American teenager but vacations with friends are often an important part of any young person’s life. It is a chance to relax from the pressures of school or college, explore a new place and grow in confidence traveling without your parents. Our trailblazer, Lara Chilton, tells us what it was like navigating her first Spring Break with peanut and tree nut allergies.
Was this trip while you were in high school or college?
Where did you go?
Grenada, in the Caribbean
What did you do to prepare for the trip? Did your parents do anything extra to help you get ready?
Luckily the friend I was traveling with had been to the island multiple times before, so I used her as a resource. She gave me all the info about local food, grocery stores, and assured me that there would be a kitchen available for my use. I also always make sure to have a lot of allergy-friendly snacks for when I’m hungry, but unsure of the safety of my other options. My mom always stays on top of new peanut/nut friendly brands, and for this trip she ordered a whole box of Lara-friendly granola bars for me to take!
Was there any time you felt nervous about managing your allergies?
About halfway through my trip, we drove to La Sagesse, a beautiful hidden beach on the east coast of the island. This was more secluded than where we had been previously, something that always makes me a little nervous just in case I did have a reaction. This was also the first place on the island that we ate out at a restaurant. My encounters with local food so far had mostly been fresh fish and fruit, delicious and in line with my allergies. Even so, I informed my server of my allergies and felt the familiar nerves that come with ordering food in an unfamiliar place. The server was reassuring, I had no issues with the food, and spent the rest of the day swimming and exploring the white sand beaches!
What’s your biggest tip for navigating spring break with food allergies?
Generally, Spring Break means traveling with a group of friends – use this to your advantage. Airbnbs are great for groups, and you can choose one with kitchen space to cook your own food. This allows you and your friends to buy different foods, catering to each person’s dietary requirements and tastes. Everyone’s happy! It’s also always great to travel with a group of friends who understand your allergy and are willing to be accommodating.
Do you have you fun story about your Spring Break experience?
Our first night there we arrived late at night. We were too excited to sleep so went for a midnight swim! A perfect start to any Caribbean vacation.
Anything else you want to add?
If you’re concerned about navigating Spring Break with allergies, my advice is still to say yes to the trip. Plan as much as you can in advance and be aware of your potential limitations, but don’t let your allergy hold you back from going for it. Spring Break is the perfect time to take that trip you’ve been waiting for!
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