By Victoria Hasty, Seattle, WA
We traveled with our daughter, Danielle (age 11), to France in summer 1998. For most of the 17-day trip we stayed in a rented house, with kitchen accommodations. We prepared formula each day with a Tupperware shaker.
Danielle's Phenyl-Free was taken to Paris ahead of time by my in-laws. Unfortunately, they were stopped at Customs. Customís officials kept the formula for two days before the sealed cases of formula were released, without explanation! Despite this, I would still recommend that travelers ship or send the formula ahead of time, if you can. It is good to know that it has arrived before the trip begins.
Other tips and comments based on our experience:
Plan to use more formula on the trip than you would normally use.
Mix the formula with bottled water to cut down on taste differences and to avoid the possibility of diarrhea or an upset digestive system.
Take along at least two cans of formula on the plane as part of your carry-on luggage.
Pack a generous amount of low protein food products.
Pack normal cups and straws so they are familiar.
Try to get accommodations with kitchen facilities.
Limit dining out to one meal or fewer per day
When going to a restaurant, take along an uncooked portion of low protein noodles and ask the cook to boil them for ten minutes and add butter. Request salads, fruit, sorbet, sautéed mushrooms. Be bold and be an advocate.
Set a good example for your child regarding the importance of diet.
Discuss the challenges of the diet before and during travel.
Be sure that everyone in your group is supportive and understands that sharing a trip with a PKU person means accommodating the diet.
Keep to your routines as much as possible for times the formula is consumed, (i.e., first thing in the morning, mid-day, before dinner and bedtime.)
Take along the PKU doctor's name and phone number for the country in which you travel if you can get this information. Hopefully you won't need it, but it brings a tremendous peace of mind.