Gluten Free Travel Tidbits!
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
If you or a loved one is gluten free (or has Celiacs), you know it can be stressful at times traveling. You want to make sure you aren’t going to get sick while trying to enjoy your travels. Hopefully these tips can ease that stress just a little bit!
Flying Gluten Free
Bring along snacks and light meals that require no extra preparation and can be eaten anywhere -– in the terminal, on the plane, etc. If you’re not sure you’ll be able to stock up on these items while you’re away, then remember to bring enough for your flight home, too.
These are good bring-along foods that require no preparation:
- Fresh fruits (grapes and bananas are especially convenient)
- Individual-size cans or packages of fruits (including those little individual packets of applesauce)
- Dried fruits
- Fresh vegetables
- Cold cereals
- Cookies, crackers and rice cakes
- Nuts and trail mixes
- Energy Bars
- Potato chips, corn chips, soy crisps
Don’t forget to bring along napkins, plastic utensils, etc!
Get a grocery guide! A gluten free grocery guide is PERFECT for traveling. Great for road trips or vacations where you wouldn’t be staying in a hotel and you have access to a grocery store/supermarket. Say you are in a state with an unfamiliar grocery store. A gluten free grocery guide can help you shop quick and easy! Shopping for gluten-free food can be very time-consuming and challenging. Save time shopping for gluten-free foods and eat more safely by getting The Essential Gluten-Free Grocery Guide, 3rd edition. You’ll find 30,000 brand name and store brand gluten-free products listed along with lots of helpful tips to make shopping and living gluten-free easier! Remember, the guide does NOT eliminate reading label! Also, The Essential Gluten-Free Grocery Guide is intended for use only in the United States so it would not be best for traveling overseas BUT it will definitely help for packing for any overseas trip (food and snack wise!) Find it on Amazon along with the The Essential Gluten-Free Restaurant Guide, perfect for eating out in any of the great 50 states!
- Start by checking for free celiac information cards from national or regional associations. Both the Czech Coeliac Society and the Swiss Celiac Society offer such cards online. For other countries, take a look at the “International Celiac Societies” listed on the Resources page at Celiac Handbook. Only a few of them provide a card, but hopefully the number will increase. Print several copies so you won’t mind if a card gets damaged in a restaurant kitchen.
- The Celiac Travel website provides an impressive selection of cards in many languages (currently there are 38, including Arabic, Japanese, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Urdu). Given that several companies are charging money for celiac translation cards, I have to tip my hat to Roger and Lyndsay, who run this site, because they’re providing these detailed cards for free (a small donation is requested but not required).
- Gluten-Free Passport provides free cards online in French, German, Greek, Italian, Spanish, and Russian. I like these because you have the English and the translated language side by side, though of course that makes these cards larger to print.
- There are several sites, including Clan Thompson’s Celiac Site and the Finnish Celiac Society, that provide or link to free information about celiac disease in different languages. These descriptions aren’t detailed, but they certainly get the point across in languages including Polish and Thai.
- If possible, learn a few words or phrases in the local language before you go on your trip. Knowing how to say “Tengo la enfermedad celiaca; No puedo comer harina o trigo” (I have celiac disease; I can’t eat flour or wheat) made my travels to Spain and Chile easier, because awareness of celiac disease was widespread.
- Gluten Free Travel in Norway (guidetoglutenfree.com)