A gluten-free diet does not have to hinder plans to travel anywhere around the world. These simple preparation tips can help a gluten-free world traveler prepare for complications in a variety of travel situations.
Each Stage of Your Trip
Traveling around the globe can take many forms, whether you’re heading across your state to visit family or to India to see the Taj Mahal. No matter the distance or mode of travel, it’s wise to prepare in advance for gluten-free eating while traveling.
- Air Travel – Gluten-Free Meals are available on a variety of airlines, and it pays to make sure they’re served on your airline of choice before booking your ticket. Make sure to reserve your Gluten-Free Meal in advance, and call to confirm this arrangement about 48 hours before your flight. Just in case there’s a mix-up, pack plenty of gluten-free snacks to eat on the plane.
- Car Trips – There are many opportunities for eating at restaurants during a road trip. Fortunately, there are restaurant directories that can help you and your fellow passengers choose a restaurant that works for everyone. This Gluten Free Directory is an excellent resource for eating out gluten free in the United States.
- Hotel Stays – There may be gluten-free dining at your choice of hotel, but it wouldn’t hurt to prepare by opting for a suite or a larger room that has a refrigerator and a microwave. Another option is to stay at a hotel that is within walking distance of a grocery store. This way, you can replenish supplies of fresh fruits, vegetables, and gluten-free snacks while you’re traveling!
Bring Your Own Snacks
Waiting until you’re ravenous before finding a restaurant can make eating in a different country more difficult. The hungrier you are, the more likely you’ll be to make a mistake. In order to avoid this situation, pack a small snack – like dried fruit – to munch on while you wait.
The following snacks are easy to pack and require no preparation prior to eating:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Packages of fruits and vegetables already conveniently portioned, including dried fruits
- Nuts, trail mixes and energy bars
- Cookies, crackers and rice cakes
- Meats like salami, tuna or beef jerky
- Varieties of potato chips, corn chips, soy crisps
To travel light, buy gluten-free snacks online and have them shipped to your destination so they’ll be there when you arrive.
Eat At Home Away From Home
Instead of staying in a typical hotel room, research places to stay that offer kitchens or kitchenettes as part of the amenities. Another option is to skip hotels altogether. Consider staying in a home that is a vacation rental or swapping homes in an international exchange. This will give you greater freedom to address your dietary needs as well as a unique connection with the place you’re visiting.
Prepare for Eating Out Gluten Free
Although you need to be careful, there’s no reason to skip restaurants altogether. One way to eat out safely is to utilize Restaurant Cards that provide information about the gluten-free diet. My favorite site for these cards is Allergy Translation because the cards can be customized based on single or multiple allergies as well as specific languages. They help the restaurant staff prepare your food according to your needs, especially since a language difference will make it more difficult to communicate your dietary requirements and ask questions. While not free, these cards are only $8 per translation and can be printed at home – no waiting for your card to arrive in the mail!
No matter where you’re going, traveling gluten-free can be fun and relatively stress-free. Use these tips to prepare now, and enjoy your trip!
Kelly Wilson is a freelance writer who loves food and travel experiences. She loves finding the best pizza places, especially with brick ovens. Her latest favorite is the woodfired Mac-N-Cheese Pizza at BJ Willy’s, a restaurant in West Linn, Oregon.