Eggs, nuts, seeds on a wooden board

Travelling with Allergies: Top Tips

This week we have a guest blog from Harriet Pitman, the Director of PAC: Perception Awareness Collective, a fantastic collaborator, supporter and chocolate provider here at RAS HQ. You know, from previous blogs, preparation is queen! But when you are travelling with someone who has a serious allergy, preparation takes on a whole new meaning. Knowing what their triggers are, and, what to do if they have a severe reaction could be life-saving.

Harriet’s account below is a very personal one.

About eight years ago I started to have serious reactions after eating certain foods and not being able to enjoy the treats that I had been used to eating whilst growing up. Trying to work out what was causing all the issues took a long time and was a long, sometimes painful, journey. By doing the FODMAP diet under a nutritionist I could build myself back up again and get back to normal life.

This was hard enough and then suddenly I had the realisation that I would be travelling around the world for work and I would need to be really careful of how I manage this. There are many allergies and intolerances in the world today but getting someone to understand how serious this is can be difficult, it is quite often they just think you are being fussy! Below are my 5 top tips for travelling with allergies and intolerances:

  1. See a nutritionist who can help identify your exact issue if you are unsure. Not knowing can make you cut out even more options so having a clear idea of the issue really helps;
  2. If you have a serious allergy, ensure that you always have your EpiPen (or similar auto-injector) and medication with you. This sounds obvious but I have gone out from the hotel and realised my medication was back in the room which was not going to help me if I had a reaction;
  3. If possible, take a little survival pack of food with you in case you are not able to find anything you can have. Dry snacks, soups and anything you are able to tolerate;
  4. You can get translated cards to take with you to show what you are allergic or intolerant to. Here is a free option and here is a paid version;
  5. PLAN AHEAD! Choose your destinations carefully. Some countries it is very difficult to immerse yourself in a culture if you have allergies. Do your research before you go! Are you able to eat street food, are you able to explain your allergies and have them catered for?

Having an allergy or intolerance should not stop you being able to go where you want to, but you may have to adapt what you want to get from your travels and just be slightly more prepared before you go.

If you have a colleague, friend or family member who has an allergy then why not book a half day course on how to use an auto-injector (Epi-pen*), learn some Basic Life Support, and AED (Defib). Contact our team on reception

*Other brands are prescribed

It’s Nearly Festival Season!

It’s nearly festival season!

Seasoned festival goer Ketki Chowdhury gives us her top tips for festival goers.
Festival, Hand in the air, Risk Advisory Service, bright lights
Location, Location, Location!

When it comes to picking your festival camping location, you have to be a bit like Goldilocks. Not too far, not too close, not by the loos, but far enough away from the bar. Think about how you arrange your tents. If there are a couple tents of friends, you could make a right angle to pitch your tents? It might just stop someone from getting in your space and give you some breathing space.

There are some great cheap tents out there, ideal for a festival, so don’t waste money on an expensive one. I don’t think any of my tents really have survived the journey home. They are damp, smelly, and usually missing something. I read recently about the new cardboard tents they look fab.   Apparently you can colour them in too. So, we’ll be trialling ours this summer. Don’t rely on tech to find your tent, it will inevitably fail put up a landmark that will help you and others find their way back.


Buddy Up

Share the responsibility with your friends in being the ‘sensible one’ that helps you wobble back to your tent; and won’t let you do anything you might regret in the morning (like ringing your boss and telling them you a) love them b) hate them c) stole the Christmas treats). Shaz and I share this, one night I get to go mental the next night, I have to be the grown up! Shaz did save me from telling my then boss what I really thought of him (not pretty).



Just don’t take your tech with you. Unless you are a festival journalist, do you need to take your laptop, tablet and phone? Chances are you won’t get a signal anyway! So don’t take your brand-new phone, you’ll either a) drop in the mud, b) drop in the port-a-loo or c) have nicked.  Go old school and be at the meeting point at the time you agree. It saves wasted time and arguments.

Anything you take make sure you it’s in a clear zip-lock bag. Then it’s waterproof. I have a festival wallet that hangs around my neck inside my shirt. It means I can only carry a small amount of stuff. I really don’t need my supermarket points card at that moment.



Let’s be honest here, festvial organisers have a captive market when it comes to food and drink and its’ not cheap. Before you go stock up on protein bars, dried fruit, nuts, cakes, crisps – make sure you have your fave midnight snacks! You probably aren’t going to get your five a day, but one weekend isn’t going to derail your eating plan or cause lasting damage. Stick to stuff in packets that you can bin as you go. It’s really distressing when back from an awesome band in the rain, picking up a tube of pringles the wrong way around midnight, when you are ankle deep in mud. Don’t take glass bottles they’ll have them off you, but gin in a plastic bottle is much lighter to carry!



Wear layers. You know great British Summer isn’t that predictable. So, I have a wardrobe of festival clothes, some have great memories others are just cheap and cheerful, but only take clothes you aren’t really bothered about and some cheap wellies (wellington boots).  I avoid jeans they are a bugger to dry when it rains. But I do love me some shorts, and chinos they are so much easier to dry. I always have flip flops, wellies and trainers with me.

I met an ex-solider a few years ago, who said we only need two sets of clothes, one dry and one wet. I thought he was mad, but apparently not. Sleep in the dry clothes and put the wet ones back on in the day, if it’s bucketing it down. Keep the dry ones dry.


Other random stuff I take to festivals, other than condoms, tampons, ear-plugs, water proofs, dry shampoo, wet wipes (no way I’m wasting time in the line for a cold shower) and loo roll is a decent mattress, pillow and a warm sleeping bag. For too many years running, have I been barely able to stand from sleeping on my yoga mat under a t-shirt. Get a decent inflatable mattress, Shaz and I shared a double one last year, with a couple of thick sleeping bags. It made a massive difference.  A couple of dry-sacs for when it inevitably throws it down. Oh and your dancing shoes!

Happy Festivalling!