Living with celiac disease and other health concerns has made me quite mindful of how I travel gluten-free and how I prepare for it. I like to cover all of my bases in preparation, so that I can thoroughly enjoy my trip stress-free. My list is based off the handy gluten-free E-Guide I created. I use it in addition to my regular packing list, and of course some items may not be applicable for close-distance or short term travel. I don’t let celiac disease or my other health challenges stop me from traveling, and neither should you. I hope this helps you as much as it continues to help me.
1. Request Gluten Free Meal if Traveling via Airplane
Most International flights offer you this option.
2. Request Gluten Free Meals at any of the Hotels, Bed and Breakfasts, Resorts you will be staying in.
Most will be happy to cater to you, if they are able to.
3. Research: What is the food like where you are traveling? Is it mostly wheat or rice based? Are there any plates that are naturally and unmistakingly allergen free?
List these (BONUS if you can list them in the native language). Are there grocery stores or markets nearby where you are staying (especially helpful if you will have your own private kitchen)?
4. Make a list of gluten friendly restaurants you would like to visit.
Use allergen-friendly travel guides and celiac and other allergen-friendly associations. Be sure to see if they are hosting any gathering where and when you will be visiting. I personally like to use Find Me Gluten Free and The Coeliac Plate, which list gluten-free restaurants/venues in each city.
5. Make a list of English speaking clinics and hospitals in the area.
This is just in case, so you’re aware of how close or far away they are.
6. Carry a translation card if you are visiting a country, or city where you are unable to communicate in their language.
These aren’t simple Google translations, but are written in a context that the person helping you will be able to read.
7. Learn the very basics of the language of where you will be visiting, if it’s not native to you.
Basics, like Hello, How are you?, Good, Bad, Gluten, Dairy, Thank you - This will not only be helpful to you, but the person you are speaking to will greatly appreciate your effort.
8. Pack all necessary Supplements and Medications you will need.
I personally don’t go anywhere without my EpiPen, Activated Charcoal, Digestive Enzymes, an Inhaler, etc.
9. Pack nutritious travel snacks, like NuGo Dark Chocolate Pretzel Protein Bar, rice crackers, gluten free condiments, dry foods (i.e. pasta), bread, etc.
You never know when you will need back up calories, or added flavor. NuGo makes 34 certified gluten-free protein bars and cookies.
10. Travelers Insurance - Great to have, in case your health insurance doesn’t cover out-of-state or international travel.
I don’t leave home without it.
11. NIMA Gluten and Peanut Sensor - This does the dirty work for you.
It tests whether what you are eating or drinking has any gluten in it. I ensure my device is fully charged and that I have enough capsules before I go anywhere, locally or further away.
12. Gluten Detective - This test let’s you know if you have accidentally consumed dairy or gluten.
This is great to know, if you end up getting sick on a trip.
Be safe, and as always, Buen Camino.