As a gluten-free advocate (GlutenFreeHelp.info), I am often asked for tips on how to travel with celiac disease. It is a surprisingly easy task. It requires a little planning and a few adjustments you are most likely already mastering at home.
I recently went on a trip to the East Coast for about a month and was amazed how easy it actually was being celiac. I’d like to offer you some insider tips on what made my traveling gluten-free so easy. In the end, all that was required was some planning ahead and communication.
First, how you manage your trip depends on your travel arrangements. Will you be flying or driving? These days, airlines allow travelers to bring food on airplanes with them. Each airline has its own set of guidelines which you can usually find online or you can ask customer service for when you are booking your flight. For example, one airline requires that you store your gluten-free foods in zip-lock baggies. I recommend bringing extra gluten-free foods, at least twice as much as you think you will need just in case there is a delay or cancelled flight.
With traveling food out of the way, now it is time to plan out your vacation. Call the local health food stores located near where you will be staying well ahead of your trip and ask them about their gluten-free selections. If there are not enough selections for you, usually they will be more than happy to order you any products. Call about a month ahead of time to ensure they can order in time. Ask the health food stores for any recommendations for restaurants for someone with celiac disease as well. I always find people so helpful and willing to give as much advice as they can. And who knows, you just may end up speaking to someone with a gluten allergy or celiac disease.
You can take many gluten-free products with you overnight to where you will be staying. Gluten-free pastas, breads, canned foods, etc. are all very easy to travel with. If you are able to get a hotel room with a small kitchen it will make your stay even easier.
Keep in mind always that celiac disease is no joke. Don’t ever feel bad about having your waiter check if a sauce has gluten in it or if something can be made gluten-free. I constantly ask restaurants to clean their grill before making my food. They are always more than happy to support my dietary needs.
Just as with anything, with some practice, traveling gluten-free can be easily mastered. After traveling as a celiac for years, my latest trip to the East Coast was as smooth as could be. As gluten-free and food allergy awareness goes, restaurants and companies are more knowledgeable and obliging than ever, which in turn makes gluten-free traveling easier than ever. With this advice in mind, you can look forward to vacations and traveling and truly enjoy yourself.