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dietary concerns

Considering a group tour. I'm allergic to shellfish. Any problem with "group dinners" or lunches or are there always options?

Posted by
2560 posts

On Rick Steve's tours always options. I can't comment on others. Let the office know when you book and again when you meet your guide. We've seen all sorts of dietary needs accommodated on the tours we have taken.

Posted by
855 posts

I can only speak for the RS tours, we have taken 7. There are always some people who have allergies, be it seafood, dairy, whatever. Notify the company when you are filling our your reservation, and then confirm it again with the guide at the first meeting.

There have been times when an allergy person has gotten a meal that the rest of us say, "hey, that great," and tease them about giving us a bite. No one has ever gotten a meal they couldn't eat on a RS tour that we have been on, and they have all been happy.

Have a Great Trip!

Posted by
9718 posts

Yes, should not be a problem on an RS tour. I've also done several Road Scholar tours and it would not be a problem on them either.

As suggested, indicate on your sign up information (or however your tour company does it) that you have a shellfish allergy and ALSO speak with your guide in person after your initial group meet up to make sure they have that information.

I also suggest having some back up food available. I doubt you will run in to a situation where there is only shellfish offered. I am vegan and on all the tours I've been on both companies I tour with are usually able to accommodate me with an alternate selection.

Where are you considering going and with what company?

Posted by
5036 posts

I smiled at Mimi's comment, because that often happens to me. I don't eat most sweets, or really anything with sucrose, and on the Villages of South England tour I had the most amazing cheese boards at most of the group dinners. I don't know how many times people said "Wow! That looks great! How can I get that?" On most tours, I'm given fresh fruit for dessert - also coveted by tour mates.

Only one meal was a problem for me, looking back at 11 RS tours. That was the rijsttafel dinner the first night of the 21 day Best of Europe. Many of the little dishes were sweet, but the guide checked with me to be sure I found enough in the meal to eat.

Never any other problem; just let the tour office know. If this is a RS tour, there's a place on the portal you'll be given to tell them what you can't eat.

Posted by
6642 posts

On our three RS tours, the tour leader asked about allergies specifically during the first meeting - its part of their routine. They made sure that there were non-shellfish options, for example, if that was featured at the specific restaurant. As far as I can remember, there were always choices at every group meal, not just one fixed menu.

Posted by
635 posts

I have a severe dairy allergy/intolerance. On my RS tour the guide was extremely attentive at the group meals so was not served dairy. There was always an alternative.

Posted by
3 posts

Thanks for the responses. It puts my mind at ease. We hope to go on a heart of England tour next year sometime.

Posted by
362 posts

I just returned from the RS Sicily tour. TONS of fish, and I can't eat shellfish. The tour guide made sure that I knew what I could/couldn't eat at group meals and often arranged for a separate dish just for me.

Posted by
64 posts

Having been on many group tours (including Rick Steves) I have frequently encountered people with food allergies & other dietary issues. It is my observation that the best way to avoid problems is to contact the tour company (or cruise line, in the case of cruises) well in advance of the trip (starting when you make your reservation). Upon arrival, you should again make your needs known. My experience with most tour groups is that your tour guide/program director will look out for you in this regard. Participants who wait until last minute, while expecting to be accommodated, are apt to be disappointed & subject the guide to unnecessary pressure. In my travels, even in a location where seafood is popular, shellfish has seldom been the only choice. Since shellfish can cause serious problems for those with an allergy, I am sure you will also be proactive before any meal, to ensure that shellfish is not a hidden ingredient in any item. Happy travels!

Posted by
11450 posts

I have only been on one RS tour.. but on that tour we had a mother and daughter who were Celiac.. so not just gluten intolerant.. but absolutely could have NO gluten.. we also had a young child ( 10 yr old ) who had a severe allergy to all nuts and peanuts , severe enough to kill her..

The tour accomdated their needs at all group meals.. and in Italy the restaurant actually provided them with a gluten free pasta dish!!

Posted by
3491 posts

Been on 10 tours. Everyone with any dietary restriction was fed things they could eat during group meals. You just have to make sure you inform the tour guide of your issues!

There is usually a choice a 3 - 5 options where a choice is given. Those always include vegetarian and sometimes vegan options. And those are not just green salads. On nights where there is no option, the chef was always able to provide a meal suitable for everyone's restrictions. I have a strawberry allergy (epi pen level) and from personal experience have never had difficulty in getting something for desert that did not include strawberries at any group meal. Sometimes my desert was even the envy of the group compared to the strawberry whatever they got.