Gluten free and travelling? Wondering how you will eat well while abroad? Unsure if gluten-free travel is even possible?
Well, you’re in the right place! Here are some top tips from a seasoned gluten-free traveller to help make gluten-free travel simpler and more enjoyable. Yes, your belly can be as happy as your soul when you travel – even if you’re gluten-free!
GLUTEN-FREE TRAVEL TIP 1: DO YOUR RESEARCH
I enjoy going with the flow as much as the next person, but when it comes to eating, I need to be secure in knowing that what I am eating really is gluten-free. If you’re living gluten-free, you will know the pain and discomfort that comes from accidentally eating something containing gluten. Now imagine that discomfort happening while travelling abroad? In order to confidentally travel gluten-free, you need to do your research before you get on the plane.
Do a quick web search for the places you’re going, and you’ll no doubt be inundated with ideas. Pinterest is another great place to get gluten-free recommendations for countries around the world. You can search Pinterest just like you would any other search engine. But if you want to make that job a little quicker, you can check out my Gluten-Free Travel Board to get you started with your research – and no doubt get you salivating over all the gluten-free treats you can enjoy while travelling!
GLUTEN-FREE TRAVEL TIP 2: BOOK INFLIGHT MEALS IN ADVANCE
Long-haul flights are tricky at the best of times, but without any food at all they can be trickier still. If you’re gluten-free and travelling on long flights, book your inflight meal in advance. Often, airlines only stock as many gluten-free meals as have been requested – if you haven’t booked a specific gluten-free meal in advance, chances are you’ll have nothing to eat.
DON’T request your gluten-free inflight meal through a travel agency. I’ve heard it from flight attendants themselves that these often get lost and never make it to the airline, resulting in many a hangry gluten-free traveller.
DO go direct to your airline and request a gluten-free inflight meal for each of your flights. If you have other dietary restrictions as well as being gluten-free, let them know. Better to be safe than sorry!
GLUTEN-FREE TRAVEL TIP 3: PACK SOME SNACKS
Sometimes, even special requests to airlines can get lost and airports can be void of gluten-free options. To help prepare for the worst-case scenarios, leave some room in your bags for gluten-free snacks.
Pack a few things in your hand luggage and carry on items that you know are gluten-free and safe. My tip would be to pack more than you think you’ll need, just in case. DO check with the airline what can and can’t be carried in your hand luggage though – nuts and fruit based items are sometimes ruled out. Check beforehand what you can take, and that way you won’t have your precious snacks taken by security.
Also consider packing a few gluten-free snacks in your hold luggage. That way, even if you struggle to find many gluten-free options after arrival, or if it takes a day or two to get sorted, you’ll still have something gluten-free and safe to eat and ease that travelling tummy of yours!
GLUTEN-FREE TRAVEL TIP 4: ASK!
Wherever you go to eat, ask the server if they have gluten-free options or even a gluten-free menu. If you see something on the menu you like and think might be gluten-free, ask just to be on the safe side. A lot of restuarants and coffee shops will be more than happy to discuss ingredients with you and might even surprise you with their generosity in adding or omitting things to tailor a dish to be safely gluten-free. After all, they want you to eat there and not write a bad review later!
GLUTEN-FREE TRAVEL TIP 5: IF IN DOUBT, STICK WITH WHAT YOU KNOW!
If you’re struggling to find places and are in a big city, chances are there’ll be a chainy place you can go to more confidently. Still be sure to check though – McDonald’s fries aren’t gluten-free everywhere! And it probably seems like such a small thing that doesn’t even warrant mentioning but… use what you know. If there’s pasta on the menu and it doesn’t say gluten-free, chances are it’s not gluten-free – stick with the salad! If something’s deep-fried or battered, steer clear. Stick with what you know to be more likely safe from gluten. It’s better to be safe than sorry!