When you’re heading on vacation the biggest question is where to stay when you have food allergies? Nowadays there are so many options available, from your standard hotel to an Airbnb and adventurous places in between. During our five week trip through Australia and Singapore, we stayed in a whole bunch of locations from a cabin in the woods with no electricity to a serviced apartment and even a 5-star hotel. To help you narrow down your options, I wanted to share a brief summary of my experiences at each. Let’s get started!
Staying at a hotel with food allergies
We stayed three hotels during our trip. While in Singapore we stayed at two different 5-star hotels that both came with breakfast. I was warned multiple times by an assortment of different people to be careful when eating in Singapore, which meant I was planning on only eating at the hotel. We chose a 5-star hotel because it has an international staff that all speak excellent English. They also make sure customer service is their top priority and they have a reputation to uphold. A 5-star hotel isn’t accessible to everyone, but if you get a chance to try one out, they definitely treat you like a queen.
Check out all the custom food they made me!
We stayed at the Regent Hotel by Four Seasons and The St. Regis. Both hotels were incredible and made sure to prepare a safe breakfast every day. The Regent went above and beyond and made me safe dinners too (just look at all that salmon!).
In Melbourne, we stayed at a Travel Lodge for five nights. This was a great hotel because it had a fridge and a kettle, which is a must when traveling with food allergies. When you have a refrigerator and a kettle you have a basic kitchen and can make simple meals. I was able to get extra plates and utensils from the breakfast area and made salads every night for dinner. We also had breakfast included. I asked about the breakfast offerings when we checked-in this way I could buy any extra food necessary (like yogurt). If you are staying at a hotel, my one piece of advice is to make sure there is a fridge! Without a refrigerator, I don’t know how the five nights in a hotel would have gone.
Staying at a serviced apartment with food allergies
This was my favourite way to travel while in Australia. A serviced apartment is a fully furnished and equipped apartment, but you get your bed made and new tiny bottles of shampoo each day. The reason I loved the serviced apartments was they are professionally cleaned after every visitor, which means the kitchens are spotless. I had everything necessary to make all meals and felt safe no allergens were lurking around. If you are looking for a place with personality, a serviced apartment is not the right fit. If you are looking for a clean and well-organized place, then you will love a serviced apartment.
Staying at an Airbnb with food allergies
I’ve stayed in an Airbnb three times so far, twice being on the Australia trip. Each Airbnb experience has been very different. In general, I am a little weird about staying at stranger’s place, so a lot of research goes into where we chose to stay.
The first Airbnb was located on the Sunshine Coast. It had fantastic reviews but was a garden apartment which meant it was damp and not great for my asthma. It was super clean, but I still felt the need to clean it all before settling in – to be sure there were no traces of any allergen. This is the part about me being weird when staying at strangers, something I didn’t feel at the serviced apartment. The cool part about an Airbnb is that in some cases you get to interact with the host. I found out that my host’s sister-in-law also has a food allergy blog, so that was a neat coincidence. And they even took me to yoga!
The second Airbnb we stayed at was a cabin in the middle of a national park completely off the grid! It was such an amazing experience I will be writing more about it later. In a nutshell, it was basically like camping with running water and a BBQ. If you know how to prepare for camping with food allergies, that was this experience.
If you are looking into staying at an Airbnb, I would recommend reading the reviews and letting the host know about your needs. This is also important if you have an allergy to dogs or cats.
→ Find a unique place on AirBnB (affiliate link)
Staying in a Hostel with food allergies
We didn’t stay at any hostels because if you can believe it, they were almost the same price as a standard hotel! And honestly, I think I am getting old. But really… the main reason I didn’t want to stay at a hostel was I wanted to have a clean kitchen. Being away for 5 weeks meant having access to a kitchen was my top priority in choosing where to stay. Hostels have communal kitchens, and the stress of the kitchen’s cleanliness was too much for me to handle. So hostels were crossed off the list of possibilities pretty early in our planning.
Is there any accommodation I forgot? Have you had a great hostel experience? Let me know in the comments below.
Kortney is your typical atopic triad! She manages asthma, eczema, environmental and food allergies. Kortney is a co-creator of the online community Allergy Travels and co-host of The Itch Podcast. She wants to spread joy in a community that can easily see the hard side of life with atopic disease and believes that you can have a full life with food allergies, it may just be lived a little differently!