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Travel With Allergies

A Family of Four Squeezes into the Honeymoon Suite

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The view from the honeymoon suite

When we set out to select a location for our first vacation in more than two years, we had some very specific parameters.

We live in Pennsylvania and our goal was to escape the cold wintery weather, so our destination had to be a place which had beach-friendly temperatures during spring break, and also had access to an ocean.

In the past we had visited Mexico or Aruba, but when my now 16-year-old daughter’s anaphylactic food allergies (milk, shellfish, egg, walnuts, potato, tomato, eggplant and pepper – including spices from peppers) made it too risky for her to eat food prepared by anyone but us, we stopped taking vacations altogether.

After two years of vacation hiatus, we were seriously craving some beach time. We wanted to find a destination within 20 minutes of a hospital – preferably a North American hospital – and in close proximity to a grocery store that would have a variety of foods my daughter could eat and prepare easily. And we had to be able to read the food ingredient labels – familiar brands would be easiest.

Because she or I cook every breakfast, lunch and dinner, every day of the year, we also didn’t want to spend a lot of time preparing meals. Part of our need for a vacation came from the magician-like skill we had to apply every day in making delicious food that both she and the rest of the family could enjoy. She is very experienced at bringing her own food to restaurants, so that’s what we planned to do on vacation.

We started by checking temperatures. No beach location in the U.S. offered the consistent mid-80′s of the Caribbean. Southeastern Florida seemed to be the warmest beach location we could find.

The next important consideration for us was that we wanted to be right on the beach – not across highway A1A from the beach. There are probably a lot of places where we could have rented a house or a condo, but we’re not experienced with the ins and outs of private rentals.

Also, there didn’t seem to be any resort that offered condos on a beach that would be warm enough during spring break. Amelia Island, near Jacksonville, Florida, has great condos that are in close proximity to groceries and are on the beach, but it’s not 80 degrees there in March.

There were other locations on the West coast of Florida that offered condos, but again they were not as warm or easy to get to, or weren’t reasonably priced during spring break. We eventually settled on Fort Lauderdale.

Next page: The ideal location found

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