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## How to Travel Europe with a Dairy Allergy

Traveling with a dairy allergy can be challenging, especially in a continent like Europe, where dairy is a staple in many cuisines. However, with proper planning and preparation, you can navigate your European adventure without sacrificing your health or culinary enjoyment.

### Before You Go

– **Inform yourself:** Research the local languages and how to ask about dairy in each country you’ll visit. Learn phrases such as “I have a dairy allergy” and “Can you confirm that this dish does not contain dairy?”
– **Carry a translation card:** Consider creating a translation card with your dietary restrictions in multiple languages, including English, French, German, Spanish, and Italian.
– **Pack safe snacks:** Bring along non-perishable dairy-free snacks such as fruit, nuts, granola bars, and gluten-free crackers. This will provide you with a backup in case you struggle to find suitable options at restaurants or cafes.
– **Consider an allergy bracelet or necklace:** Wearing a medical alert bracelet or necklace can quickly alert others to your allergy in an emergency.

### During Your Trip

**At Restaurants**

– **Communicate clearly:** Inform your server about your dairy allergy and ask them to double-check ingredient lists and ensure that your food is prepared without dairy.
– **Be specific:** Don’t just say “I’m lactose intolerant.” Explain that you have an allergy and cannot consume any dairy products, including milk, cheese, yogurt, and butter.
– **Ask about hidden dairy ingredients:** Be aware of common dishes that may contain hidden dairy, such as sauces, gravies, soups, and baked goods.
– **Offer alternatives:** If you’re unsure about a dish, suggest a dairy-free alternative or ask if the restaurant can modify it for you. Many European cuisines offer plant-based milk options and can accommodate dietary restrictions.

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**At Cafes**

– **Check the menu:** Look for dairy-free milk options, such as soy, almond, or oat milk.
– **Ask for a plain coffee or tea:** Avoid lattes, cappuccinos, or other specialty drinks that typically contain milk.
– **Bring your own milk:** If you have a specific dairy-free milk that you prefer, consider bringing it along to ensure you have it when you need it.

**At Supermarkets and Groceries**

– **Read food labels carefully:** Check ingredient lists for any dairy products, including hidden sources such as whey, casein, and lactose.
– **Look for dairy-free alternatives:** European supermarkets typically stock a variety of dairy-free milk, yogurt, and cheese options.
– **Ask for assistance:** If you’re struggling to find what you need, don’t hesitate to ask a store employee for help.

### Special Considerations

**Country-Specific Tips**

* **France:** France is known for its dairy-heavy cuisine, but there are still plenty of dairy-free options available. Look for the “sans lait” (without milk) label on food packaging.
* **Italy:** Italian cuisine is dairy-rich, but many restaurants are willing to accommodate dietary restrictions. Ask for “latte di soia” (soy milk) or “latte di mandorla” (almond milk) with your coffee.
* **Spain:** Spanish cuisine often features lactose-containing ingredients, such as Manchego cheese and paella. Be sure to communicate your allergy clearly and ask for alternatives.
* **Germany:** Germany is a dairy-producing country, but many grocers and restaurants offer dairy-free products. Look for the “laktosefrei” (lactose-free) label on food packaging.
* **United Kingdom:** The UK has a wide range of dairy-free options available, including plant-based milk, cheese, and yogurt. Many restaurants and cafes cater to dietary allergies.

**Additional Tips**

* **Carry an epinephrine auto-injector:** If you have a severe dairy allergy, carry an epinephrine auto-injector (such as an EpiPen) with you at all times.
* **Be prepared for emergencies:** Know the local emergency numbers and how to get medical assistance in case of an allergic reaction.
* **Stay informed:** Keep up-to-date on new dairy-free products and restaurants through online resources and social media.
* **Enjoy your trip:** Traveling with a dairy allergy doesn’t have to be daunting. With careful planning and preparation, you can experience all the culinary and cultural delights that Europe has to offer.

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