Traveling Gluten-free: Here’s How to Make the Most of Your Next Trip
Whether you’re planning an extended vacation or a weekend getaway, being a celiac on a strict gluten-free diet should not hold you back. In fact, traveling while gluten-free can be a great way to explore world cuisines you otherwise would never try. While you may find yourself at a loss for how or where to find GF options in foreign lands, it’s possible to have an incredible gluten-free experience with some advance planning.
Finding GF options at airports, on planes, or on trains is often more challenging than eating at your destination. While hotels and cruise ships have come a long way at accommodating gluten-free dietary needs, airlines, airports, and trains still have a long way to go.
Here are some tips for maintaining your gluten-free diet while traveling via different modes.
TRAVELING BY ROAD
Having gluten-free snacks or other meal items on hand when traveling by road can be a lifesaver. Here are some useful suggestions on how you can fill your cooler and totes with goods. While some of them work well when you take a short break at a roadside park, others are more suitable for when you are in a hotel that’s equipped with an oven or microwave.
Items to Pack in the Cooler:
- Individually packaged items, such as aged cheese, yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, gluten-free wraps, gluten-free deli meats, pre-cut veggies (such as carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, sugar snap peas), hummus, fresh salsa, and/or bean dip.
Note: Always make sure that you keep an ice pack in the cooler, so your perishables stay fresh longer.
Items to Pack in a Dry Goods Tote
- Dry snacks such as nuts/seeds, dried fruit, whole fresh fruit, gluten-free granola, corn chips, popcorn, and rice cakes.
- Other options include easy-to-cook brown rice, canned whole or refried beans, canned gluten-free soup, or canned fish (tuna, salmon, and sardines).
- Nut butter, jam, and whole-grain gluten-free bread.
Note: Do not forget to pack salt, pepper, and a can opener!
TRAVELING BY AIR
Flying can be a little more challenging than traveling by the road as there is less flexibility. If you have a long flight with a meal option, talk to the airline well in advance to inform them about your dietary restrictions. While most airlines will be willing to accommodate your needs, some may not. So, be prepared in either case.
There may also be certain security regulations that won’t let you bring your own gluten-free food items. It is advisable to research your airline beforehand to be fully aware of their gluten-free standards.
Things you need to consider for packing a TSA approved snack/meal:
- If you want to carry gel or liquid items (eg. hummus, yogurt,dips), you must follow TSA regulations.
- The gel or liquid item must be packed (maximum quantity: 100 ml or 3.4oz) in a sealed container.
- It shouldn’t be wrapped with aluminum foil as it would interfere with the X-Ray machines.
- Make sure that you only pack whole fruits. Any half-eaten fruit will be removed by security unless it is properly wrapped or placed in a bag.
- Only one Ziploc bag is allowed per traveler.
- Dry snacks such as sandwiches and rice cakes are only allowed if they have been properly wrapped or kept in an air-tight container.
Happy Gluten-free Traveling!