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Resources for international travelers with allergies

Going to Thailand and have a peanut allergy? Headed to Italy and require a gluten-free diet? If you suffer from a food or medicine allergy, have diabetes, or are lactose intolerant, there’s a resource that may help with international travel. SelectWisely sells laminated wallet-sized cards describing your condition in a variety of language options, so you can present your card to waiters, cooks, doctors, and EMTs to quickly communicate your needs. Most cards cost less than $10.

Allergy options include chocolate, lobster, MSG, nuts, and more; languages available include Greek, Italian, Japanese, and Thai. You can also purchase multi-language and multi-food allergy cards, rather than having to buy several individual ones.

To handle additional communication snafus, I also like Point It: Traveller’s Language Kit. A bit more general than the allergy cards, this little book contains photographs of anything you might need but don’t know how to request in the local language—food, medicine, toiletries, even some fun diversions like scuba diving and snorkeling. Amazon has used and new copies from $5.

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