How to Travel Gluten-Free

Travelling can present its challenges, but toss in a food allergy or dietary restriction and it can be downright daunting.  However, my own gluten intolerance hasn’t prevented me from travelling—in fact, it has been a key component in fuelling my desire to travel. I wanted to defy the misconception that I would be limited as a gluten-intolerant traveller, and since my diagnosis three years ago I have travelled to more exotic and foreign places than I ever had before.

I didn’t know that the travel bug would bite me so hard, but it did, and I am always looking ahead to my next adventure (and next international cuisine to take on, gluten-free style). Thankfully I am now well-versed and always equipped with the essentials (and more) to successfully travel gluten-free.

Here are my tips for travelling gluten-free (or GF). Try them out, share with a friend, or modify to make your own!

  1. Do Your Research
    Before selecting a destination, I recommend doing some research about the local cuisine and traditional dishes to determine whether it is viable for you to travel there gluten-free. Keep in mind that some cultures are more GF-friendly than others! I also recommend looking up GF bloggers (or related editorial pieces) residing in the country or city you are travelling to, as this can help you get an idea of what to expect.
  2. Pack Food
    It might seem silly to go grocery shopping before leaving on a trip, but it is so important to come prepared. I always pack a stash of food (breakfast items in particular) in case I am ever in a pinch. This comes in handy when you are out and about all day and choices are limited. Instead of succumbing to hunger and potentially glutening yourself, a GF snack pack from home will save you from a nasty outcome. Extreme hunger never ends well for anyone.Related: Taking food into the U.S.? Learn the rules first to avoid any trouble at the border.
  3. Call Ahead
    Whether it’s an airline, a hotel, an AirBnB host, or a restaurant, calling ahead to inform anyone in the hospitality industry of your gluten intolerance will put you at ease ahead of time and enable them to properly accommodate you. You’ll be amazed at how welcoming people are if you give them a courtesy call!
  4. Get Cultured
    If you’re travelling to a country that speaks anything other than English as its first language, I suggest you learn enough of the native tongue to accurately explain your dietary restriction. Try it out—at the very least you are learning something new!
  5. Be Proactive
    You can never be too careful. The best thing to do is be proactive: pack probiotics for gut health, peppermint tea bags or ginger candies to soothe an upset stomach, and vitamins to boost the immune system. And don’t forget to purchase travel insurance. Cover your bases and be realistic!Related: When do you need travel insurance? 4 things to keep in mind. 
  6. Have Fun!
    I hope I haven’t dissuaded you from travelling, because these steps are rather easy to follow. A little extra planning goes a long way, and the less stress on your mind, the more fun you will have on your trip!

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