Traveling is fun and eating gluten-free along the way should be too. Think of your gluten-free food as a travel necessity versus an inconvenience. It is possible to be a carefree nomadic soul…just with a bit of food planning thrown in!
Get excited about gluten-free travel with these easy tips:
Although airport gluten-free food options are slowly improving, several have little to no options and several flights under three hours don’t offer meal service. Regardless of flight length, always travel with potential meal replacements and snacks, especially necessary if you encounter delays. Pack protein bars or powder in a container with enough room to add liquid and shake. Sandwiches and wraps with firm fillings like slices of meat, cheese and vegetables like cucumbers or peppers travel well as do firm fruits like apples and pears (make sure to eat them before landing in a foreign country due to customs regulations). Pack ice cubes in sealed plastic bags to keep your food chilled and discard the ice and liquid before going through security. Refill the bags with ice once through at a fast food restaurant. For longer flights, contact the airline to order a gluten-free meal for every leg of your trip. If landing in a foreign country, you should be fine bringing in most packaged foods as long as they are still sealed.
Car travel is easier when gluten-free because you can literally bring your cooler with you. Easy eats include sandwiches, pre-cut meat cubes or slices, vegetable sticks and dips like hummus, berries, bananas and snacks like nuts, chips or your favorite cookies or crackers. Hot water can easily be added to ready-to-go meals in a cup when you are filling up for gas and ask politely for a little hot water if it has a coffee and tea bar. If you are on a long road trip, plan ahead to venture off the highway for designated gluten-free restaurants and enjoy your food stops – they most likely won’t be fast food options right along your route. Make this a fun part of your trip instead of an inconvenience. You will get to see more off the beaten path!
When booking a hotel, find one that offers a microwave and mini refrigerator or has gluten-free selections on its menu. Make sure your room has a coffee maker which will allow you to heat up water and add it to instant meals you have brought – hot breakfast cereals, soups, instant noodles etc. Booking a hotel near a grocery store will help you stay gluten-free while learning more about local culture. Reserving through a company like Airbnb enables you to stay in a home with full use of a kitchen but just keep cross-contamination in mind and think where gluten-filled crumbs may have been.
While planning a trip, get Googling! Dive into some online travel forums and ask where the best gluten-free restaurants are. Gluten-free travelers are always excited to share their food finds! Find the latest cell phone apps for gluten-free living around the world. Gluten-free travel dining cards are a must when visiting a foreign country and help navigate language barriers. This will ensure your server and the chef preparing your meal understands your needs and important details aren’t lost in translation.
Think of gluten-free travel as an amazing adventure and it will be! It just might mean removing some shoes from your suitcase to make room for protein bars and snacks but knowing you will be covered under any circumstance will be completely worth it. Happy travels!
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