You’ve been planning this trip for months and you’ve just soaked up the sights and sounds of the first day of your grand traveling adventure then in an instant everything comes to a crashing halt. You now find yourself gazing at the four walls of your hotel bathroom mystified at how gluten could have invaded your system. Sound familiar?
Well, I don’t want this experience to be familiar to you so here are a few of my travel tips to keeping gluten out of your travel plans. Planning in advance is one of the most important skills. “I go to a lot of business meetings. I contact them ahead of time and tell them I’m celiac and I get a special meal.”
Many airlines offer special meals that are either gluten free or all fruit. You can request this by calling at least 24 hours in advance. It is important to bring something to eat just in case you don’t like what they serve. I like to bring a bean salad in a small Tupperware container and some baby carrots. Raw, unsalted GF nuts and seeds can also provide a good source of protein that will stay fresh during a long airplane flight or car ride.
Some people choose to travel on gluten free tours or cruises. If you are staying at a hotel, make sure they have a refrigerator in the room. This way you can keep snacks and extra food with you. The hotel concierge should be able to help you find local food stores. In Italy, the pharmacies carry gluten free crackers and snacks.
Before you go on your trip find a few gluten free restaurants or places to eat that will accommodate your special needs. Don’t be shy with your waiters. Tell them that you cannot have gluten. It is usually best to order your fish or poultry grilled dry to avoid any possible hidden gluten. Ask specific questions about how food is prepared. Many restaurants marinate fish and poultry before cooking it. The marinades might contain gluten. It is important to order salads with the dressing on the side and no croutons. Ask your waiter to write down your order to avoid errors.
Traveling is meant to be a fun adventure and by putting a few of these practical tips into practice you’ll be well on your way to calling yourself a “Happy Gluten Free Traveler”.