Gluten Free, Musings

Tips for Traveling Gluten Free

Being away from home shouldn’t mean compromising your gluten free health and safety. I used to travel so much for work, I became very efficient in the way I planned my trips to stay safe. Colleagues were well aware of my needs and were more than happy to go along to places I selected ahead of time. When traveling for pleasure, the same goes for whomever my travel companion happens to be. So, the common theme here is to plan. Here are a few quick tips to help you get started.

My Vetting restaurants protocol can be a good resource to planning your meals at your destination. If you wing it, you may run the risk of getting “hangry,” and from personal experience, it’s not a pretty sight. I will say that at least half, if not more of my dining experiences away from home usually take place in a kitchen-equipped hotel suite via grocery stores where I can have uber control. Some people make dining out part of their travel experience, so vet ahead of time to increase your chances of success!

Tips for planning your gluten free travels

Flights – Did you know that many airlines offer GF meals (mainly on longer flights that offer meal service)? Request GF meals at least a week ahead of time. This is the meal I received – and it was actually pretty good! An added bonus? On all of my flights, the “special” meals were the first to be served on the plane! And, I wasn’t the only GF meal being served on the plane. Some travelers order special meals for their travel companions too so they are all served at the same time.

Hotel – Consider a suite hotel with a kitchen and plan a few meals at the hotel. You’ll still need to be diligent with the cookware and utensils you’ll be using (cross contamination), but having a microwave and fridge can be a big help.

Restaurants – Research and make reservations at accommodating restaurants. Even restaurants within many theme parks have GF options.  This is just as critical as planning which hotel to stay in or the activities you plan on doing. Do your vetting and make reservations ahead of time and follow a good protocol when dining out.

Pack plenty of nutritious GF snacks for the airport, airplane, car, train, amusement parks and other activities. It’s easier than the time and effort of roaming a random convenience store to find something safe – and keeps “hangry” at bay.

Know the translation and symbols for GF in other countries, including words & pronunciation of wheat, barley and rye. In Amsterdam, they had a pretty decent labeling system. I dined via grocery store way more often than restaurants. This was hazelnut butter that I put on some GF bread. It’s called “Hazelnootpasta” in Dutch. Had I not known, the word “pasta” would have thrown me off, but it had their little GF symbol on it.

Planning ahead can make all of the difference to whether your trip is an awesome or miserable one. Don’t miss out an anything! Go prepared!

Check out the new blog, Spoondoggles, and follow them on their GF, Paleo and AIP journeys!