How to Travel Gluten-Free: Part One

Traveling while on a gluten-free diet may seem like a daunting task for people with Celiac Disease or a Gluten-Sensitivity. But a little planning can go a long way toward having a perfectly wonderful GF vacation, regardless of being newly diagnosed or a 30-year veteran. Here are some tips to help you have a safe, cross-contamination-free trip.

First Rule of Gluten-Free Vacationing: Plan, plan, plan!

Just like the three rules of real estate (“location, location, location”), g-free travel means you must “plan, plan, plan.”

— Research Restaurants in the Area(s) You’re Visiting (and en-route)

Make a list of establishments that are food allergy friendly ahead of time. Knowing where to go at a moments notice can save you a lot of headaches on the road.

Research possible fast food, grocery and sit-down dining options. There are dozens of websites that specialize in reviews of local and chain restaurant options. A simple Google search on “gluten-free dining” plus your destination city/town will usually return numerous options.

Purchase a GF dining app for your mobile device. (Best if you’re going to more populated areas)

There are numerous apps out there that have customer entered restaurants. They often list, categorize and review GF options based on searchable maps.

Research (read reviews of those who have used it) before purchasing an app. There are new ones popping up all the time and some better than others. Several are worth the effort/money, but there are many that are not yet populated with useful information (especially in less urban areas).

— Stay Somewhere with a Kitchen —

Nightly Rental Options

There are plenty of places that rent by the night that offer kitchen options:

• Larger hotels often offer suites
• Extended stay hotel/motels

Think Outside the Box
When going for a longer stay (1 week or more) try renting a vacation house or condo. They’ll have full kitchens and afford you an easier stay. There are numerous vacation rental websites on wherein you can browse by amenities, such as kitchens and food delivery.

— Pre-Plan and List Your Meals —

If you’re not going to eat out, coming up with a meal plan will help you know what to pack. While deciding your meals ahead of time may take away some of the spontaneity normally associated with being on vacation, it also takes out the “what’s for gluten-free dinner” anxiety. Pre-planning and preparing your own meals allows you to enjoy a happy, relaxed, symptom-free vacation.

Choose meals with which you’re familiar
You don’t need to get fancy with your meals… you’re on vacation! So choose some tried and true, easy to prepare meals so you won’t stress.

Choose single pot or microwave meals for easy preparation. The quicker you cook, the faster you can get back to your vacation!

— Travel with Dining Cards —

Dining cards (small pocket cards that you can hand servers to inform them of your food requirements) are a great travel tool. Especially if you’re traveling to a foreign country and aren’t fluent in that language. There are many great dining cards available online. Some are free for you to print at home, others can be purchased and sent to you. When traveling abroad, consider purchasing a set of cards in that language. They’ll be professionally translated, more complete and sturdier.