Travelling can be an overwhelming experience for a person with celiac disease. Planning a successful trip requires a lot of preparation in advance but is not impossible.
With proper research and a bag of snacks, you can enjoy a safe journey without your food restriction getting in your way.
Here are a few tips to get you started.
Do research ahead of time
This may seem obvious, but it is so important. Once you figure out where you are travelling to, do research on the city and culture. Look for restaurants that can offer gluten-free items and grocery stores in the area.
Check the menu ahead of time
If you will be visiting a restaurant or café, check the menu ahead of time, if possible, and ask around for recommendations.
It can be difficult to choose a restaurant when travelling to a foreign country, so do some research ahead of time to find gluten-free restaurant options.
Pack a bag of gluten-free trail mix or gluten-free granola
Homemade gluten-free trail mix is another great thing to bring along for those times when you cannot find fresh fruit or gluten-free munchies.
Gluten-free pretzels mixed with seeds or your favourite nuts, plus some raisins or dried fruit like cranberries, and you are done.
Add in the proportions you prefer and it will be perfect for you.
Speak in restaurant language
It is easy to get comfortable saying things like “I’m celiac” or “I’m gluten-free” – but those phrases may not work as well overseas or in a foreign language.
So it is best to be clear and concise on the ingredients you cannot eat.
Say things like, “I’m allergic to gluten, which includes wheat, barley, and rye. Are any of those ingredients used in my meal?”
You’ll have far better success with this approach.
Book a place to stay with access to a kitchen
Choose a place with a kitchen for stays of more than a day or two to give yourself plenty of flexibility to cook for yourself. Especially in places where there are not as many safe gluten-free options.