Over the first half of this year I have done an insane amount of travelling for a combination of work, holiday and moving house. So far my travels have had me in Bulgaria, England, United States and the Caribbean with weather ranging from freezing snow, pouring rain and blistering sunshine.

As all you girls will know, packing can be a bit of a nightmare with just a couple different functions to attend, let alone drastic changes in temperatures. So I try to make life a little easier by staying at self catering accommodation because at least then I don’t have to worry about my food allergies as well as the packing.

What are the benefits of self catering accommodation?

You might think that staying at a hotel is easier, which in some cases it is. You don’t need to cook, you don’t need to clean your room or make your bed. However, you do have to eat on the hotel schedule and what the hotel has chosen to cook. I’m not saying staying at hotels is never a good idea, and I do love staying at a nice hotel on occasion, I’m just saying there are benefits to self catering too.

One of the benefits of self catering accommodation, when you have allergies, is that it allows for flexibility. You can choose to go out if you’ve found somewhere safe to eat, but you always have the fall back option of cooking yourself when you want, how you want and what you want.

Having your own kitchen means you have control over the food that you are eating and how it is being prepared. We all know cross-contamination is a huge risk and one of the risks that can be least understood, so cooking yourself reduces this and gives you more control.

8 Allergy Travel Essentials To Pack When Self Catering

I have done the vast majority of my travelling over the last 10 years, a combination of backpacking in India and across Europe, holidays in France, Bulgaria, USA, and now the Caribbean. Not to mention travelling in England since a kid for school trips and family holidays.

When you are on the road you don’t know exactly what you’ll need or when you’ll need it. When you rent self-catering accommodation they range from fully stocked to the bare basics and you never know what you’ll get where.

So, I now have a few everyday items I like to keep with me while I’m travelling. I have found time and time again I have to buy them and often you can only get big bottles or tins of this stuff which is never practical to haul around, not to mention expensive if you keep having to buy brand new ones.

I’ve also found these items will keep you feeling relaxed and add a little home touch to your holiday travels especially when you’ve had a long day of travelling and have just arrived at your destination.

Here is a list of my travel essentials to keep in your luggage when you’re on the road.

1. Salt and pepper

Some holiday rentals have salt and pepper, others don’t. Recently I’ve decided that I’m taking a little salt and pepper with me while I’m travelling so I can always season my food. It just makes food taste a little bit better when you’ve got few options to season. If you don’t have, or don’t want to buy a big bottle, I sometimes take some sachets from a canteen or cafe where I’ve bought a coffee. They’re often found next to the sugar and cutlery.

2. Your favourite seasoning

This is a home comfort for sure. Bring-a-long a little of your favourite herb or spice mix to add to your dishes. If you’re ever feeling home sick, something that smells or tastes like home is bound to make you feel more at home. Not to mention something you know is allergy safe for you.

3. Sugar sachets

Whether it’s for your tea, coffee or to add to your cooking, a few sachets of sugar have proved incredibly useful over my trips. A steaming sweet cup of coffee after a long day of travelling hits the spot, or I add it to the onions so they caramelise. It really brings out more flavour in a dish. If I’ve forgotten to pack sugar, I grab a few extra packets at a cafe where I get a coffee on my travels and pop them in my handbag for later.

4. Zip lock bags

This is a new edition to my travel bag, but I don’t know why I haven’t thought of it sooner. Always have about 10 zip lock bags handy. Perfect for food storage while travelling, keeping out the creepy crawleys in hot countries and also when you’ve forgotten your see-through toiletries bag for airport security. They also don’t take up much space and depending on the quality you buy have less chance of leakage than cling film.

Recently I’ve found them incredibly useful to make and store my airplane food. I was staying at a hotel on Saba island with a long couple days ahead of travelling to get back to England. I didn’t have a kitchen but could make sandwiches. I didn’t want to buy a whole roll of cling film or foil which I’d just leave behind. The zip lock bags were perfect and reusable!

5. Anti-bacterial wipes

You never know when anti-bacterial wipes will come in handy, but you centainly miss them when you don’t have them. You can get little packets of 10 tissues from most pharmacies and supermarkets. Use to clean your hands, wipe down surfaces and airplane seats, or to clean your feet off after walking barefoot – well, you are on holiday.

6. Coffee/Tea

I sorely miss coffee when it’s not available, and if I’m honest, I’m a bit of a coffee snob. Instant just won’t do. I’ve started carrying a couple sachets of fresh coffee with me for airplane rides and for my morning coffee after a late arrival and all the shops are shut.

7. Allergy Safe Snacks

Always a good idea to have a few snacks. When my boyfriend and I arrived in Anguilla (Caribbean Island) at 5pm having started travelling at 3am that morning we were hungry. We’d also realised that the Island was much more spread out than we’d anticipated. It was too late to go to the car rental office and the supermarket was too far to walk. Thank fully I had packed a lot of high protein food for us to eat during the day (8 sausages and 6 egg omelette, bananas, a box of gluten free crackers, gluten free cookies and some chocolate). We had just enough left by the time we arrived in Anguilla to have a little snack and then collapse into bed.

I can tell you I was incredibly relieved I’d packed that much, no one is very nice when they are tired and hungry.

I also try to top up my stocks when I find a surprise allergy safe snack at a supermarket. Or at least to be aware of where to go to buy the snacks in preparation for departure. Just like when you’re heading out on holiday, you’re going to need snacks on the way back and when you’re not at home it takes a little longer to prepare.

8. (optional) Dairy free milk portions

I put this as optional because I personally haven’t started carrying these yet, but they are a very recent discovery while I was judging the Free From Food Awards the day before I was off on my USA and Caribbean adventure (posts coming soon). This discovery is UHT dairy free milk individual cartons! For anyone with a dairy allergy who can’t have their cup of tea or coffee without milk, this will be brilliant! There’s never a guarantee that you will find suitable milk, so taking a little supply will be so welcome. They’re also small enough to be taken through security! Wahey!!




So these are my allergy travel essentials when you are self catering. Thank you for reading. I hope you find my list useful!

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8 allergy travel essentials when self catering

I’d love to know what you always have in your allergy travel essentials pack. Please leave a comment below and share your tips!

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