A Family Vacation - and A Lesson in Hospitality

A Family Vacation - and A Lesson in Hospitality

by Sue Harrison

Our family vacation was planned for February, and all I could think about was, “How can I travel to Mexico with a cumin recall? What will Dante eat on the flights since we have a layover?” My mind was filled with questions as I prepared to travel to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, with my son Dante, who has multiple food allergies.

I knew that planning ahead and being prepared were critical to a safe and restful holiday.

  • I translated into Spanish Dante’s “chef card,” which lists his allergies to peanut, tree nuts, shellfish, peas, chickpeas, lentils, sesame, and mustard.

  • I spent about $200 on Twizzlers, Nilla Wafers, tortilla chips, gummies – all the snacks I knew he could eat and thought might make the trip more of a treat for all of us. I packed everything on the bottom of three large suitcases.

  • I packed a large carry-on bag with enough snacks, veggies, and fruit to last at least nine hours. I also picked up a Power-Up Lunchable to surprise my son with on the plane. I knew it would make his day (and it did!).

  • I had a letter in my bag from our doctor stating that we needed to fly with all of Dante’s medications plus ice packs, food, and drinks. I showed this letter to each TSA agent before I went through security and explained our situation.

I felt successful before we even left the runway.

I had also reached out ahead of time to Manuel DeLuca, executive chef at the Sheraton Hacienda Del Mar in Los Cabos, where we were staying. I was amazed that Chef Manuel met our family within 5 minutes of our arrival at the hotel. He immediately explained that he was going to copy the chef card and give it to all the hotel staff and was dedicating an area of the kitchen to Dante, complete with his own fryer.

Everywhere we went on the hotel property, the staff knew my son. They made him every dish his heart desired: Huevos Rancheros, loaded nachos, yogurt parfaits with fruit, non-alcoholic daiquiris and mudslides, quesadillas, and more. I was beyond amazed at how professional they were and how they "got it." Dante felt famous. I felt overjoyed and, most importantly, safe.

I cannot say enough good things about this resort and Chef Manuel and his staff. The highest compliment I can give him is to acknowledge him and encourage anyone traveling to Mexico – especially families traveling with food allergies – to visit Sheraton Hacienda Del Mar in Los Cabos.

I hope these travel tips will help your family too!