Travelling with allergies

When you have an allergy, there is nothing scarier than eating in a foreign country, especially when you don’t speak the local language

Kieran Ball
May 12, 2019 · 7 min read

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My sister has an allergy to peanuts, and she is always very conscious about making sure she alerts staff to her allergy when she eats out in restaurants. This is quite simple to do in English speaking countries, but when she travels to places where English isn’t the local language, her stress levels rise!

Here is a simple guide to try and alleviate the stress for anybody with an allergy who is travelling to a foreign country. I’ve written some phrases that might come in handy if you’re speaking countries where they speak French, Spanish, German, Italian or Portuguese.

The most common allergens are milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybeans, so I’ve stuck to these in this guide. However, if you require any assistance with other allergens, please let me know in the comments.

Spanish

Here are some phrases you might find useful. All you have to do is pick one of the phrases and place your allergen in the gap. A good idea is to write down the entire phrase onto a piece of paper that you can show wherever you eat.

I am (severely) allergic to ___________Soy (severamente) alérgico a ___________

I have an allergy to ___________ Tengo una alergia a ___________

I have a severe allergy to ___________Tengo una alergia severa a ___________

He/She is (severely) allergic to ___________Él/Ella es (severamente) alérgico a ___________

He/She has an allergy to ___________ Él/Ella tiene una alergia a ___________

He/She has a severe allergy to ___________Él/Ella tiene una alergia severa a ___________

Does it contain ___________? ¿Contiene___________?

Does this contain ___________?¿Esto contiene___________?

Do you serve ___________ here?¿Sirve___________ aquí?

Allergens
(I recommend that if you’re allergic to nuts, list all the variety of nuts you’re allergic to as well as the general word for “nuts”. This is because certain people don’t associate some nuts with the general term)
milk la leche
cow’s milk la leche de vaca
eggs los huevos
fish el pescado
crustacean shellfish los crustáceos
seafood los mariscos
tree nuts las nueces de árbol
nuts las nueces / los frutos secos
almonds las almendras
walnuts las nueces
pecans las pacanas
cashews los anacardos
pistachios los pistachos
hazelnuts las avellanas
peanuts los cacahuetes / el maní (South America)
wheat el trigo
sesame seeds los semillas de sésamo
sesame oil el aceite de sésamo
sesame el sésamo / el ajonjolí
soybeans la soya

French

Here are some phrases you might find useful. All you have to do is pick one of the phrases and place your allergen in the gap. A good idea is to write down the entire phrase onto a piece of paper that you can show wherever you eat.

I am (severely) allergic to ___________Je suis (gravement) allergique à ___________

I have an allergy to ___________ J’ai une allergie à ___________

I have a severe allergy to ___________J’ai une allergie grave à___________

He/She is (severely) allergic to ___________Il/Elle est (gravement) allergique à ____________

He/She has an allergy to ___________ Il/Elle a une allergie à ___________

He/She has a severe allergy to ___________Il/Ella a une allergie grave à___________

Does it contain ___________? Est-ce qu’il contient ___________?

Does this contain ___________?Est-ce que ça contient___________?

Do you serve ___________ here?Servez-vous ___________ ici?

Allergens
(I recommend that if you’re allergic to nuts, list all the variety of nuts you’re allergic to as well as the general word for “nuts”. This is because certain people don’t associate some nuts with the general term)
milk le lait
cow’s milk le lait de vache
eggs les œufs
fish le poisson
crustacean shellfish les crustacés
seafood les fruits de mer
nuts les fruits à coques / les noix
almonds les amandes
walnuts les noix (de Grenoble)
pecans les noix de pécan / les pacanes
cashews les noix de cajou
pistachios les pistaches
hazelnuts les noisettes
peanuts les cacahuètes / les arachides
wheat le blé / le froment
sesame seeds les graines de sésame
sesame oil l’huile de sésame
sesame le sésame
soybeans le soja / les germes de soja

German

Here are some phrases you might find useful. All you have to do is pick one of the phrases and place your allergen in the gap. A good idea is to write down the entire phrase onto a piece of paper that you can show wherever you eat.

I am (severely) allergic to ___________Ich bin (sehr) allergisch gegen ___________

I have an allergy to ___________ Ich habe eine Allergie gegen ___________

I have a severe allergy to ___________Ich habe eine schwere Allergie gegen ___________

He/She is (severely) allergic to ___________Er/Sie ist (sehr) allergisch gegen ___________

He/She has an allergy to ___________ Er/Sie hat eine schwere Allergie gegen ___________

He/She has a severe allergy to ___________Er/Sie hat eine schwere Allergie gegen ___________

Does it contain ___________? Enthält es ___________?

Does this contain ___________?Enthält das ___________?

Do you serve ___________ here?Servieren Sie hier___________ ?

Allergens
(I recommend that if you’re allergic to nuts, list all the variety of nuts you’re allergic to as well as the general word for “nuts”. This is because certain people don’t associate some nuts with the general term)
milk Milch
cow’s milk Kuhmilch
eggs Eier
fish Fisch
crustacean shellfish Schalentiere
seafood Meeresfrüchte
tree nutsNüsse
nuts Nüsse
almonds Mandeln
walnuts Walnüsse
pecans Pekannüsse
cashews Cashewnüsse
pistachios Pistazien
hazelnuts Haselnüsse
peanuts Erdnüsse
wheat Weizen
sesame seeds Sesamsamen
sesame oil Sesamöl
sesame Sesam
soybeans Sojabohnen

Italian

Here are some phrases you might find useful. All you have to do is pick one of the phrases and place your allergen in the gap. A good idea is to write down the entire phrase onto a piece of paper that you can show wherever you eat.

I am (severely) allergic to ___________Sono (gravemente) allergico a ___________

I have an allergy to ___________ Ho una allergia a ___________

I have a severe allergy to ___________Ho una grave allergia a ___________

He/She is (severely) allergic to ___________Lui/Lei è (gravemente) allergico a ___________

He/She has an allergy to ___________ Lui/Lei ha una allergia a ___________

He/She has a severe allergy to ___________Lui/Lei ha una grave allergia a ___________

Does it contain ___________? Contiene___________?

Does this contain ___________?Questo contiene___________?

Do you serve ___________ here?Servite___________ qui?

Allergens
(I recommend that if you’re allergic to nuts, list all the variety of nuts you’re allergic to as well as the general word for “nuts”. This is because certain people don’t associate some nuts with the general term)
milk il latte
cow’s milk il latte vaccino
eggs le uova
fish il pesce
crustacean shellfish i crostacei
seafood il pesce / i frutti di mare
tree nuts la frutta a guscio
almonds le mandorle
walnuts le noci
pecans le noci pecan
cashews gli anacardi
pistachios i pistacchi
hazelnuts le nocciole
peanuts le noccioline / le arachide
wheat il grano
sesame seeds i semi di sesamo
sesame oil l’olio di sesamo
sesame il sesamo
soybeans la soia

Portuguese

Here are some phrases you might find useful. All you have to do is pick one of the phrases and place your allergen in the gap. A good idea is to write down the entire phrase onto a piece of paper that you can show wherever you eat.

I am (severely) allergic to ___________Eu sou (severamente) alérgico a ___________

I have an allergy to ___________ Eu tenho uma alergia a ___________

I have a severe allergy to ___________Eu tenho uma alergia grave a ___________

He/She is (severely) allergic to ___________Ele/Ela é (severamente) alérgico a ___________

He/She has an allergy to ___________ Ele/Ela tem uma alergia a ___________

He/She has a severe allergy to ___________Ele/Ela tem uma alergia grave a ___________

Does this contain ___________? Isso contém___________?

Do you serve ___________ here?Você serve ___________ aqui?

Allergens
(I recommend that if you’re allergic to nuts, list all the variety of nuts you’re allergic to as well as the general word for “nuts”. This is because certain people don’t associate some nuts with the general term)
milk o leite
cow’s milk o leite de vaca
eggs os ovos
fish ao peixe
crustacean shellfish a crustáceos
seafood a frutos do mar / o marisco
tree nutsas nozes / os frutos de casca rija
nuts as nozes
almonds as amêndoas
walnuts as nozes
pecans as nozes-pecã
cashews os cajus
pistachios os pistaches
hazelnuts as avelãs
chestnuts as castanhas
peanuts
os amendoins
wheat o trigo
sesame seeds as sementes de gergelim
sesame oil o óleo de gergelim
sesame o sésamo / o gergelim
soybeans a soja

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Kieran Ball

Written by

Teacher and creator of 3 Minute Languages — a series of books and online courses that help you to learn a foreign language quickly and easily www.3minute.club

The Happy Linguist

Hints and tips to make foreign language learning easier

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