Its already hard enough when you have a food allergy to eat out but when traveling and the menu is in a different language it's that much harder. This is something we have had to battle ourselves when traveling but we have a few tricks that have made it more manageable.
1. Track down an allergy card. A great website for those who have celiac (can't eat gluten) is here. It offers a card that explains celiac and the seriousness of it in 63 different language. It is free to download but always great to donate and support the efforts! We used this extensive in Colombia and Peru, it saved us many times. Print dozens of copies, you'll lose them, waiters will accidentally take them or you'll destroy them from moving around.
Another option is to used a paid website such as Allergy Transition Cards. Here you are able to select your allergy and one of 43 languages. They offer cards for various food specific allergies and special diet cards (ie lactose).
2. Download Google Translator App
With the app you have a few options. You can translate a sentence or a few words to help communicate with a waiter or read the label on the food. OR you can use the camera mode to have it translate the words over the top of the label. It is very impressive!
3. Cook your own meals
We recommend this in our 5 Crucial Rules to Affordable Traveling but it also applies when traveling with food allergies. If you go to the local market you can hand pick your ingredients and know for fact it isn't contaminated. The bonus is you save quite a bit of money this way!
4. Bring snacks and protein bars
If your schedule is full of all day activities then a great back up is bring snacks or bars from home. It is the worse when you have been hiking all day or exploring and you stop at the only restaurant in a 15 mile radius and they don't have ANY food you can eat. Protein bars and snacks have saved us dozens of times as well!
5. Search for recommendations
Search for recommendations from other travelers, look up restaurants and check menus when planning your travel schedule ahead of time. Be sure to post any great finds on the Affordable Traveler forum