If you have Celiac Disease, or any type of food restrictions, traveling can be stressful. It is normal to have anxiety about whether or not your meal is going to be safe, or if you will even be able to find food in the first place. The last thing you want is to be sick on a trip where you are supposed to be having fun.
But not to worry, I’ve got your back. My husband and I have traveled a lot over the past decade, and I’ve learned some things along the way. I always have a strategy, and a list of things that I do before and during every trip that make things a lot easier, and safer.
By doing your research and having a plan, you will make your trip so much more enjoyable!
Gluten-Free Tips for Celiacs
- DO RESEARCH AHEAD OF TIME – This may seem obvious, but it is so important. Once you figure out where you’re traveling to, do research on the city and culture. Look for restaurants that can offer GF items, and grocery stores in the area.
- BIG CITIES CAN SOMETIMES BE EASIER – Traveling to bigger cities can potentially give you more options for restaurants and grocery stores. Smaller towns may have some things, but I’ve experienced so many more cross-contamination issues. Bigger cities seem to have more variety too.
- TRY TO BOOK A PLACE WITH A KITCHEN – Finding an AirBnB or hotel with a small kitchen can be very helpful! This way, if you find yourself having a hard time with restaurants, then you can at least make your own meals. We have done this for breakfasts in particular. I will just go to the grocery store when we get into town and grab things like oats, fruit, peanut butter, avocado, chips, and other easy snacks. Being able to whip up some breakfast before we start exploring for the day makes things easier. Also, these toaster bags are something you can also bring with you. They are a new discovery to me, but I’m going to give them a try!
- BRING CELIAC TRAVEL CARDS – Having celiac travel cards on hand can be extremely helpful if you don’t speak the local language. This will eliminate confusion while trying to tell the waiter about your restrictions. I have used these before when we went to Mexico and Costa Rica. Although, I really didn’t need to because our waiters happened to speak very good English.
- ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS AT RESTAURANTS – I wrote an entire post about dining out, so this should tell you everything you need to know about eating at restaurants.
- BRING YOUR OWN FOOD & SNACKS – I never travel without bringing at least a few snacks just in case. There haven’t been many times that I haven’t had anything to eat at a restaurant, but you don’t want to be disappointed and hungry. This is another reason to find a local grocery store to stock up on a few things. And if you end up not being able to eat out, then you can run to that grocery store and create a makeshift meal there. Bringing a few snacks for plane travel is a must too, we all know that there aren’t many things in airports or planes that we can eat.
- FIND ME GLUTEN-FREE APP – I have used the Find Me Gluten-Free app on almost every trip we have gone on, and it is normally pretty helpful. You just put in your current location, and it finds GF options that are near you. They even have a section where they have crowd-sourced to let you know if it is safe for a celiac. This is not always foolproof, but it does help.
We have taken so many amazing trips over the years, mostly within the U.S., but then also a couple to Mexico and Costa Rica. We have made so many memories and have gotten to experience so many fun things. Here are a few recap posts from some of the trips we have taken…
- Costa Rica
- Miami & The Florida Keys
- New York City
- Scottsdale, AZ + The Grand Canyon
- Pagosa Springs, CO
- Las Vegas + Portland, OR
- California Coast Road Trip [Part 1]
- California Coast Road Trip [Part 2]
- Cabo San Lucas
I hope these tips help you in your travel endeavors! If I missed anything, and you are an experienced gluten-free traveler, let me know! I will add it to the list!