Travelling With Allergies: How To Pack Your Carry-On

Standing in the security line is like performing a circus act. Guzzling down water while balancing a bag of liquids and a laptop in one hand, then removing shoes with the other to tiptoe barefoot on the cold tile floor.

We’ve all been there, right? Well, it can be even more of a hassle packing your carry-on when you’re traveling with allergies.

Imagine that you don’t only have to jump through the hoops of security, but you’ve also got to carry all the “extras” that food allergies require. Learning how to pack when you’re traveling with allergies sounds complicated, but with a bit of organization, it can be done successfully!

After years of perfecting the art of packing, I am now a practical packer. I’m willing to leave the extra options behind to travel hassle-free. For us “allergic reactors” who are traveling with allergies, it’s ALL about the extras in the carry-on bag – not the checked luggage that makes the difference.

What to pack in your carry-on when traveling with allergies:

Letter from allergist

Now, let me explain the necessity of the how, where and why these items are on my list. Whether you have TSA pre-check or not (which if you are a frequent traveler you should, without a doubt, get pre-check. Just sayin’), you need to have a letter from your allergist specifying your allergies and that your medications are a life-saving necessity. In all likelihood, you will not end up using the letter, BUT I have needed it before, and I would not leave without one.

I figure that one time that I don’t bring it will be that one time I need it more than ever. If you’re carrying anything from liquid Benadryl to Epinephrine, there is possibility security will ask about these items.

I travel frequently, and it rarely happens, but bring a letter just in case. You never know! I suggest keeping the letter in a folder with your other documents. You will already have it out and ready in case it is needed. No bag rummaging necessary!

Extra medicines

Why do you need extra medicines in your carry-on? Since travel is unpredictable (even when you think it should be a quick non-stop flight), it is always better to be over prepared with more meds.

That is one added stress you don’t want to add to your list! Carry them in an insulated bag and make it easy on yourself. Most camping stores have them in an appropriate size for travel that will easily fit in your carry-on.

Hand wipes

Hand wipes? Yes, they have multiple functions when it comes to airport travel! You should store a plastic bag with plenty of packs inside your carry-on. I like to put it in a pocket that is easy to access at an inconvenient time. That is usually when wipes are the most necessary, of course!


Airports are one of the most challenging places to find safe food to snack on. This is why packing an excessive amount of food is essential. I like to pack a gallon size bag of safe snacks in my carry-on for munching purposes.

It fits in my carry-on bag below my medicine bag with ease. I don’t need to access it with the same immediacy as the hand wipes or the medicine, so its whereabouts is not as imperative.

When traveling with allergies, packing could be a travel nightmare. These carry-on strategies will minimize the packing stress though, and you will enjoy a hassle-free experience at the airport, even with food allergies!

UPDATED: September 25, 2018


Allie Bahn

Food allergy blogger who has spent years living abroad and traveling the world with life-threatening food allergies. Allie loves inspiring others to safely explore and believes that allergies should not be a barrier for life's adventures!

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