When we travel there are several things we have to plan ahead. We have to buy the airplane tickets, book a hotel room, decide which places we are going to visit and so on.
Therefore, traveling on a gluten-free diet can be quite a challenge! You are probably wondering if you will be able to eat on the plane, or if there are any restaurants with a gluten-free menu at your destination. And if you are traveling abroad you probably think you’ve got bigger problems because you don’t know if their typical food is gluten-free or how you can say gluten-free in their language.
Let’s leave the worries aside and prepare for your trip with our set of tips to travel gluten-free.
1. Plan ahead! If you are traveling by plane and it’s a flight that offers meals, request a special meal when you book your flight. If you are staying at a hotel, you can always contact them prior to your arrival to know more about their GF breakfast options if that’s included. You might want to ask them if they have a fridge for you to store your food, for instance.
2. Pack some snacks! Nuts, dried fruits, granola, GF crackers, protein bars, but do check airport security regulations since no pre-packaged food is allowed in international flights. You must be prepared for the lay-overs and the delays, so have some pre-packaged GF snack in your carry-on luggage as well.
3. Pack your meds. Take your vitamins, your digestive enzymes, every medication you might need. “Take enough prescription and over the counter (OTC) medications to last your trip so that you don’t need to search for a reliable pharmacist to check ingredients or try to read hidden gluten on a medication label”, said Melinda Dennis on a blog post of the Gluten Free Dietitian.
4. Be prepared to meet the chef. While traveling most of us have no other option, but to eat out. So, don’t freak out and take this challenge as an opportunity to make people more aware of Celiac disease. If you are traveling within your own country, you can talk to the waiter or waitress, but if you feel they are not quite understanding your questions or your condition, ask to talk to the chef. Kim Koeller of the Gluten Free Blog gives a great tip for asking questions at a restaurant. She says we should use restaurant terms instead of simply saying “is this gluten-free?” Here are some examples she mentions in her blog (which is great, by the way> she gives tips of traveling gluten-free around the world)
- Are your hamburgers made with breadcrumbs?
- Is your chicken flour dusted?
- Is the sauce made from a roux that includes wheat flour?
- Are your french-fries fried in the same oil as other breaded items such as chicken fingers?
5. Be patient with waiters and chefs! Your meal might take longer than the others to come. Not everyone knows what celiac disease or gluten sensitivity is and they are certainly going to make a huge effort to meet your needs. Be patient, thankful and tip well. Next time someone with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity comes around they will be thankful to you!
6. Get you GF Restaurant Cards printed. If you are traveling abroad and can’t speak the native language of the country you are visiting, you must print out a copy of the gluten-free restaurant card on the language of the place you’re staying. You can find free ones on the website Celiac Travel. They have done an amazing job putting those cards together in 54 languages.
7. Download apps. Life is much easier now that we have internet and smart phones, so take advantage of them. There are apps that help you find and choose places to eat, We can recommend 2 apps right now, but we will be testing others soon.
– The Gluten Free Roads
– Triumph Dining
We hope those tips will be useful! Now, how about telling us what are your tips for traveling gluten-free?
Gluten Free Dietitian
Gluten Free Living
Gluten Free Blog