Traveling and Gluten Free, HELP

Summer is fast approaching, that means summer vacations, traveling with your child’s sports team, family reunions, and college tours (oh thank goodness that’s not me yet). Traveling and gluten free– yikes! I know because I have been there.  We travel often due to my girls in competitive dance and my other daughter plays travel lacrosse.  It’s scary, yes. So I have since learned some things that have helped me and I thought I would share with you.

  • Check with your hotel before you leave to see if they have a refrigerator in the room.  This will be a huge convenience and will allow you to bring food and snacks with you.  We always bring lunch stuff, fruit, cocktails (yes, of course cocktails) cubed cheese and crackers.
  • Have an iPhone? Download the free app called Find me Gluten Free  this app is awesome! This app allows you to look for gluten free restaurants by searching the name or a location.  Heading to West Palm Beach? Simple, put that in and the app will list restaurants that offer gluten free options and allows people to review how it was.  This app has saved me and it is FREE.
  • BRING SNACK WITH YOU! Yes, every where we go when traveling I have granola bars (Kind Bars are gluten free and are delicious– Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew is my favorite right now, it tastes like you are eating a candy bar).  Skinny Pop Popcorn is another healthy snack to bring, nuts such as plain roasted almonds or walnuts are good choices, and of course fruits are always great to have on hand.
  • For those of you that are staying in hotels during your trips, watch the free breakfast- yes, I know that it is free, but at most of these free breakfast buffets they offer many items that those of us who are gluten free cannot eat.  Waffles, muffins, eggs (or shall I say fake eggs, yes, they have a bunch of artificial ingredients and usually have gluten in them) even the yogurt can have gluten.  So, take the time to research the hotel breakfast and call the hotel to find out what they serve.  Bring your own fruit, gluten free instant oatmeal, or make gluten free muffins to have in the hotel room.
  • If you are waiting at the airport for your flight, check for restaurants and places that have fresh fruit, salads, and even fresh eggs for a quick breakfast.
  • Going out of the country? That certainly may be a bigger challenge, make sure you get as much information as you can before you leave the country and ask questions.
  • Most restaurants these days have either a gluten free menu or have naturally gluten free items on their current menu.  Take the time to read through and ask your waiter, make sure you let them know you need to avoid gluten.  I even tell them when I order soemthing that is gluten free, I want them to clearly know that I have a bad allergy and need them to be careful.  I used to fell like it I was an inconvenience, but now I see how accommodating most places are and the great lengths they go to for me to feel comfortable.
  • Many of us travel and stay with family or friends.  Yes, this can certainly be hard, especially with gluten being hidden in so may seasonings and sauces, but be prepared.  Let your family and friends know you are sensitive to gluten, tell them not to stress about it, and make sure when you arrive you either bring your own gluten free bread and snacks or head to the store and get some gluten free items you CAN have.

Traveling can be an obstacle when dealing with a gluten intolerance or allergy, but you will learn over time where you are comfortable eating and how to plan when staying with family.  The biggest advice I can offer is to ask questions and do your research before you leave.

Kristin 

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