Summer is here and that means more opportunities to travel locally and out of state. Whether you are planning a staycation or a two week vacation to Disney, the addition of planning your families gluten free needs can add anxiety to an already stressful task.
But worry no more! While I am “away” on a self induced staycation, I have partnered up with blogger extraordinaire Erin Smith of Gluten Free Fun & Gluten-Free-Globetrotter to provide you with her expert advice, tips, and suggestions on where to go, what to pack, and where to eat while on vacation!
Check out her article below:
Gluten-Free Fun Travel Tips
by Erin Smith
Planning a gluten-free vacation can be daunting to some people. Celiac travelers are afraid of getting sick from accidental gluten so far from home. With a little preparation and some research about your destination, you can travel worry-free this summer. Here are some tips to make your gluten-free travel experience a success.
Do your research. If you have a destination in mind, start researching that city using the Internet. Search for restaurants with gluten-free menus, local Celiac support groups, gluten-free bloggers that might have also traveled to that city, and even Facebook pages for local gluten-free resources.
Use specialty websites that help you locate restaurants in your destination city such as :
- Gluten-Free Restaurant Database from GFRAP (www.gluten.net/find-a-restaurant.aspx)
- Gluten-Free Registry (www.glutenfreeregistry.com/)
- Gluten-Free Travel Site (glutenfreetravelsite.com/restaurants/)
As you start to discover some gluten-free places in your destination location, bookmark these websites and keep track of where you want to eat or shop while you are away.
Make a map. Working off the list of websites you found during your Internet search, start saving these locations to a Google map. This is a free tool from Google that allows you to save your own personal map for any location in the world. Pinpoint your hotel, local restaurants with gluten-free menus, supermarkets, and even embassies and hospitals on your map.
NOTE: At this time, Google maps cannot easily be used offline so be sure to print out your map and locations ahead of your trip.
Use a professional. Not everyone wants to plan their own vacation. Many people are more comfortable traveling with a tour provider or using a travel agent to book their trip. Today, there are companies that were founded by people with Celiac Disease who understand the difficulties of gluten-free travel.
Bob and Ruth’s Gluten-free Dining and Travel Club provide national and international tours that are entirely gluten-free.
Gluten-Free Travel US is a travel agency that offers custom itineraries for gluten-free tours that are entirely gluten-free. travelers.
Pack a bag. Even the most experienced gluten-free traveler feels more comfortable with a bag of safe food nearby. Buy a soft-sided cooler and stock up on your favorite gluten-free food before you leave for your trip.
Here are some of my favorite travel foods:
- Frozen grapes. Not only a great snack, but a great way to keep other food in your cooler cold.
- Crackers and pretzels. My favorite snacks are Glutino cheddar crackers and their pretzel sticks. Put these in a hard-sided plastic container to avoid crushing those frozen grapes in your bag.
- Trail mix. This can include Chex cereal, nuts, dried fruit, chocolate, sunflower seeds, anything else you would like to add. Make a big bag and bring smaller snack-sized bags to eat throughout your trip.
- Sandwiches. Make a few sandwiches ahead of time and wrap in foil to keep cold next to
- Fruit. Apples are a great snack since they don’t require packaging or cutting.
With your map in hand, gluten-free snacks nearby, and peace of mind from all of your research and planning, you can have a fun gluten-free vacation anywhere in the world.
About the author
Erin Smith was diagnosed with celiac disease in 1981, so she’s been eating gluten-free almost her entire life. Erin has a unique perspective of growing up in the gluten-free community. She is passionate about sharing her experiences and expertise with others.
Erin has been writing her gluten-free lifestyle blog Gluten-Free Fun since 2007.
In 2011, she launched Gluten-Free Globetrotter, a website that encourages those with celiac disease to travel the world and not be scared about eating gluten-free domestically and abroad. She has traveled to more than 20 states, 15 countries, and 3 continents all while maintaining a 100% gluten-free diet. Erin keeps an upbeat attitude towards living gluten-free and thriving with celiac disease in both of her blogs as well as her day-to-day life.
Erin is the lead organizer of the NYC Celiac Disease Meetup group, a social community that has grown to
over 1670 members in the 8 years she has been organizing the group.