Travelling with allergies can seem daunting. Especially if you are travelling to a foreign country where you don’t speak the local language. Allergy translation cards are an essential tool in your travelling kit, helping to communicate your allergies clearly and accurately. Whether you have food allergies, intolerances or other dietary restrictions, or even a latex or medication allergy, a professional translation of your specific allergies can give you peace of mind when travelling.
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Why use an allergy translation card?
When you are travelling in a country where a different language is spoken, unless you are fluent in the local language it can be difficult to accurately communicate your allergies. Whether you are ordering food, or need to seek medical attention in the event of a reaction, being able to communicate your allergies clearly is essential.
We’ve often seen people attempt to have friends, family or even well meaning strangers offer to translate allergies for use when travelling overseas. Or just hoping that using Google translate will do the trick. Literal translations of foreign language words can sometimes end up with very different results to what was intended. Getting a professionally translated allergy card is definitely worth the peace of mind to know that you are conveying exactly what you need to about your allergies.
Best allergy translation cards
We’ve been living with food allergies for many years, so we’ve tried a few different options for allergy cards ourselves. There are some free printable options available online, but the ones we’ve seen have a fairly limited range of languages. More than one company sells professional looking allergy translations, but our favourite by far is Equal Eats. We’ve used Equal Eats cards for our multiple food allergies translated into French, German, Hungarian and Italian to name a few.
Note only do we love the quality of Equal Eats products, we also love the whole business philosophy. Founder Kyle Dine lives with food allergies and is passionate about travel. The company mantra is that “everyone deserves and equal seat at the table, regardless of the dietary restriction”.
Allergy card features
Allergy translation cards from Equal Eats are double sided, with English on one side and your chosen language on the other.
The messaging on the cards is spot on. For food allergens like nuts, the cards have facts about the allergen, which is identified in bold, and asks if the food contains this as an ingredient. There is also a warning about steps to avoid cross contact when preparing food and a note of thanks. We always convey sincere thanks to anyone who takes active steps to make an allergy-safe meal for us in person too.
Physical or digital cards
Equal Eats offers cards in two different formats. One is a physical plastic card and the other is digital files which are available for instant download. We have both types.
The plastic card is sturdy with good quality printing, which hasn’t faded with use. The card is exactly the same size as a standard credit card, so will fit perfectly in your purse, wallet or phone cover.
Digital cards are provided in two file formats. The first is perfect for printing at home, simply folding to make a double-sided card. If you print the cards at home, I highly recommend laminating to make sure that they last. However, with the digital file you can print as many copies as you like, which is perfect if you want to hand over a copy at a restaurant or elsewhere. The second digital file format is designed to save on your phone, a really handy way to ensure that you always have your card with you.
50 different languages
Equal Eats has a huge range of 50 different language translations available for its allergy cards. Some companies just cover the most common languages, which is great if you are travelling to popular tourist destinations. If you like to travel a little further afield, you’ll love that you can easily have your allergies accurately translated into everything from Arabic to Vietnamese, with another 48 countries in between. Whether you are travelling to Laos or Iceland, or need a Swahili translation, it’s been done.
Reliable language translations
We completely trust the translations provided by Equal Eats. They use a professional translation agency to translate into each language. The translation is then not only reviewed by a professional proof-reader, it’s also reviewed by native language speakers too.
Some people make their own allergy cards for use at home and when travelling. Personally we have found that using a professional-looking card manufactured by a company like Equal Eats tends to be taken more seriously. The format and logo on the card give it a level of credibility that seems to make a difference with food providers.
Not just food allergies
Equal Eats have cards for all the usual top food allergies, like peanuts, tree nuts, egg, shellfish, and more. You can also customise a card with multiple food allergies, which is what we have done. There are also cards for alpha-gal (mammalian meat allergy) and coeliac disease.
Equal Eats make translation cards for a huge range of dietary requirements including halal, kosher, vegan, vegetarian (a variety of options), keto and even autoimmune protocol (AIP) diet. Some of these would be very difficult to explain in a foreign language, so a professional translation will make communicating your needs so much easier.
And with customised cards, you are sure to be able to get a card that suits your needs.
A disclaimer: Yes, Allergy Spot is an affiliate for Equal Eats Allergy cards, but that’s because we genuinely love them. And we think they are a really valuable tool for anyone with allergies. We were one of the first to order the official plastic chef cards after they were launched. Our customised allergy card has a list of our specific multiple food allergies in two languages. We’ve since bought several more more digital/print at home allergy translation cards a range of different languages for overseas travel. You can read about how useful our French allergy card was for our food allergies in Paris. We use our printed allergy card all the time at home too: see our post on why we love food allergy chef cards for eating out safely. So we can recommend Equal Eats cards with confidence.
More practical tips for travelling safely with allergies
The key to safe travel when you have allergies is planning. Having allergy translation cards can take the stress out of communicating about food. If you are heading away on holidays, make sure you also read our other practical planning tips in these posts:
- Safe Travel With Allergies: It’s All in the Planning
- Travel Insurance for Allergies: What You Need to Check
- Travel Insurance for Asthma: Why it’s Important to Disclose