Latin America, Travel

Travelling with food allergies

Travelling when you have a food allergy or intolerance is stressful, especially if you don’t speak the local lingo.

I always say that dining out is a a great opportunity to practise your Spanish but with so many people suffering from food intolerances waiters really have their work cut out for them, especially with those guests who’s language skills are somewhat limited.

Travelling to a country where you don’t speak the local language can be stressful enough without the added layer of complicated words you need to try and communicate you specific dietary requirements. It can be so stressful, especially if you are travelling with a child.

As its coeliac awareness week this week (9-14th May) I thought I’d share with you a few tips to help you travel with more peace of mind despite having coeliac disease or any other food allergy or intolerance.

Tip 1 – Learn the Key vocab & phrases related to your allergy

It goes without saying that learning the key vocabulary relating to your particular allergy is important. You can of course get by with a few words and phrases – I’ve listed some of the most common ones below. Write these on a piece of paper and carry them with you at all times, accompanied with a dictionary (

Intolerancia al glúten – Intollerance to gluten

Alergia a la lactosa – Allergic to lactose

No puedo comer [insert food here] – I can’t eat….

Leche de vaca – cows milk

Lecha de soja – soya milk

Peligroso – dangerous

Emergencia – emergency

Watch this mini lesson on how to pronounce these words and phrases:

Tip 2 – Translation Cards

The better option however are Translation Cards. Translation cards ensure that others are made aware of your allergy or intolerance despite any language barriers.  

Cards are laminated, the size of a credit card and are printed in English on one side and Spanish on the other. Carry them in your purse or wallet and show the waiter when you are ordering a meal so they can assist you in choosing something appropriate from the menu. They save you so much stress. And prevent having to look words up and fumble with your Spanish.

Translation cards are crucial especially if you are travelling with children and make your whole holiday experience much less stressful.

Here at Adventures in Spanish we provide this service for £35 per pack of two cards. More information on our website or feel free to contact us directly on to discuss specific requirements.

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