This is the time of year when familiestake vacations and travel the world. Traveling can often be stressfuleven under normal circumstances; packing problems, flight delays,getting lost, are all possible when trying to get from point A topoint B. So imagine how stressful it can be for a celiac orgluten-sensitive person to get ready for a big trip, especially to alocation that doesn't cater to the gluten-free lifestyle.The following tips are geared towardhelping even the most sensitive celiac to have a fun filled andgluten-free vacation while minimizing the stress factor as much aspossible. This article covers the following: preparing for yourgluten-free travel adventure, gluten-free travel by plane,automobile, train or ship, gluten-free accommodations, gluten-freemeals and snacks, what to do if you accidentally ingest gluten.
Traveling by car is the best way totravel, if you have a choice. That way you can stop at stores asneeded and load up on your gluten-free snacks. Trains are also good,because they allow and encourage you to bring your own food on the train. Planesand ships are where it starts to get a little trick, especially if you have a long trip ahead of you.
Airlines are fairly easy to manage,because you can bring your own food aboard the flight. However,there is a limit to what and how much you are allowed to bringaboard, which can be a problem on a long flight. While many airlinesoffer vegetarian or Kosher options for those with special dietaryneeds, most airlines do not have gluten-free menu options for thoseof us with gluten-intolerance. However, Continental Airlinescurrently offers gluten-free food options. Although, if you areextremely sensitive to cross-contamination, it is still safer tobring your own food.
Most motels or hotels offer acontinental breakfast and that's about it. Short of eating coffee andorange juice for breakfast,there usually isn't much in the way ofmeal options for a celiac. However, many small bed and breakfast'swill accommodate you special dietary needs if you talk to them andset it up in advanced, and some even offer gluten-free options. To find a gluten-free Inn, perform a “Google” search for'gluten-free accommodations' in the area you will be traveling to.
Staying with family or friends can bestressful if they aren't sensitive to your dietary needs. It can alsobe difficult to explain to your friends and loved ones, what it meansfor you to be gluten-free, and who really wants to spend their entirevacation educating the everyone you meet on what it means to beceliac or gluten-sensitive? That could literally take the entirevacation. If cross-contamination is an issue for you and you areconcerned about eating in a gluten based house, the following linkwill help you determine what you need to be free from gluten whileyou are staying with others. It might be a good idea to print theinformation and share it with your host, maybe even emailing them alink with the information, prior to your visit.
Gluten-Free Meals and Snacks
Finger foods, gluten-freechips/crackers, veggie sticks, gluten-free sandwiches, these are allwonderful foods to keep with you on a trip. Bring as muchgluten-free, shelf-stable food with you as possible. Find out wherethe local farm market is, for fresh and local, organic produce andbuy fresh produce when you arrive at your location.
Many people getting ready for a trip,will place an order online in advance and have it delivered to thelocation they will be visiting. The Gluten-Free Mall is veryaccommodating and can ship shelf stable food Nationally andInternationally and frozen goods can be shipped within theContinental US. Having a package of gluten-free food delivered toyour location, gives you one less thing to worry about. No extrapacking, or extra luggage, no worries about your food getting crushedor apprehended at customs or tossed out at an airport. It's assimple as placing an order online or by phone.
The National Foundation for CeliacAwareness (NFCA) works very hard to train chefs and kitchen staff allacross the globe, on the dos and don't s of cooking gluten-free fortheir guests with extreme gluten sensitivities. Check out the listthey have compiled of of GREAT kitchens that have the stamp ofapproval from NFCA for a possible location near you.
Unfortunately, not all restaurants havethe GREAT seal of approval from NFCA and the likelihood of one beingat your chosen destination is pretty slim, and finding a dedicated gluten-free restaurants are also rare depending on where you travel. That's why it is important to knowwhat to do when you go out to eat with a group of gluten-eaters.There is a great deal of information on this subject, but here aresome links to get you started.
What to do if you Accidentally Ingest Gluten
There are varying opinions of what thebest thing to do is when you accidentally ingest gluten, drink gingertea, take laxatives, hot water bottle on the abdomen; there really isno right answer, as everybody is different and has differentreactions to gluten. However, here are some tips that might help ifyou accidentally ingest gluten.
Happy and safe travels everyone!