Gluten-Free Travel: Planes, Trains & Auto(immune)mobiles
As we approach the end of the cold winter months, many of us are naturally beginning to think about summer and travel: cross-country road trips, international excursions and the like. Of course, when you’re living with the complication of a severe food allergy, the prospect of long-term travel without certain access to safe, healthy foods is daunting.
Fear not! There are ways that you can have your vacation without threat of starvation.
If it’s a road trip on the agenda, you’re in luck: this is perhaps the easiest option for celiac-friendly travel.
Pack an ice chest! Seriously, this may seem like a hassle or overkill, but the headaches (and stomachaches) it will save along the way are totally worth it. No matter where you’re going, there’s probably a grocery store to be found. Pack some stuff in advance and restock as you go. The Huffington Post’s resident nutrition expert Amie Valpone wrote up some great suggestions for snacks and meals that are naturally gluten-free and easy to find on the go (no need to worry about tracking down specialty items in whatever tiny town you stop in).
Flying? Understandably, an ice chest isn’t really an option. In this case, a little research may be in order. Do a few savvy internet searches or send out a social media blast to see what your gluten-free options are in your destination. Gluten-Free Travel Site offers searchable gluten-free dining and travel reviews as well as menus. If you’re staying with a friend once you arrive, think about cooking in rather than eating out. If you’re staying at a hotel, check out rooms with kitchenettes or mini-fridges. Even if you don’t end up using it, the option is worth having.
If you’re craving an overseas adventure (who doesn’t?) start by thinking about which destination will be most suited to your needs. Going to a country where the native diet relies heavily on grains may not be the best option, even if it’s always been a dream destination of yours. Gluten-Free Travel Blog compiled a handy list of the Top Gluten-Free Cities from around the world!
That said, if you’re really feeling gung-ho about a locale, far be it from us to break your heart. There are, in fact, ways to prepare that will make your getaway a gut-friendly affair…
Find a way around language barriers! Do you know the word for gluten in Finnish? We certainly don’t. Luckily, CeliacTravel.com compiled an amazing list of printable cards explaining gluten-free dietary needs in 54 different languages. Print some (well, a lot – no need to be shy) and carry them EVERYWHERE. The language barrier alone is enough to derail a gluten-free diet, but it’s also possible that it will be someone’s first encounter with a gluten allergy. As we all know, awareness is touch and go, no matter what country you’re in.
One More Thing
Whether you’re flying or driving, packing some non-perishable, easy-to-grab items in your luggage is never a bad idea. Our granola, for instance, comes in individual packets that can be grabbed and tossed in a backpack or purse for a day of sightseeing, and they take up little to no space in your suitcase! The same can be said of our individual oatmeal cups: all you need to do is add hot water from your hotel coffee pot and ta-da! Instant in-room breakfast, no bowl required.
Looking for more? Here are some other great resources detailing the ways you can travel gluten-free:
- Gluten-Free Travel Tips via Celiac.com
- Travel in Delight Gluten-Free Magazine
- Travelling With Celiac Disease via Taste of Travel (National Geographic Blog)
Happy trekking, gluten-free travelers! Send us a postcard, okay?