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KnightRobby

Flying And Travelling With Celiac And Hotels, Etc

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Hey everyone.  Hope you all are doing well.  I run 2 networks that are becoming quite successful and have been doing them from home.  I have been told it is highly likely I will be flown out to San Francisco and Sweden in 2015.  To be honest, I hardly have traveled, which is something I regret but it has been primarily because of my crappy health.

 

I would of course have to stay in a hotel.  Anyone familiar with traveling inside and outside of the US or even Sweden when dealing with Celiac?

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I travel quite a bit for work but mostly driving.  I leave this week for 2 months on the road.  I have a cooler that plugs into my car to keep some food cool between hotel stops and have found quite a bit of individual serving sizes of food and snacks to take.  You probably can't fly with most of that food but you should be able to find similar at grocery stores.  Traveling abroad, check the travel forum here to see if anyone has gone to Sweden??

 

In the US, I try to find extended stay type hotels as much as I can so I can cook for myself.  For this trip I'm bringing my toaster oven and hoping that I can use it in hotels that are not extended stay.  At minimum a room has to have a microwave and mini-fridge.  I've also done some research for known gluten-free restaurants where I will be staying.  Sometimes there are great options, Red Robin, Jason's, etc., sometimes there is nothing.  It's going to be an interesting 2 months that is for sure.

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We found the pre-packaged "lunches" from GoPicnic to be great for travel.  They are shelf stable, small, and light.  We had no problem getting them through airport security.  Check them out, they have several gluten free options.  My son even keeps a few at school and one in his backpack for "emergencies."

 

You can also get cards to print in different languages to explain your situation when eating out in a foreign country.  You can give it to the chef and they can help steer you to safe choices.  Due to cross-contamination, I would stick to naturally gluten free choices (steamed vegetables, salads, grilled meats without marinades, etc.) just to be safe.  You don't want to be sick while traveling.

 

We always bring some of our favorite cookies or some good chocolate when traveling.  I found that dessert was the hardest to find . . .

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I travel frequently for work and just got back from San Fransisco.  Northern california is a gluten free haven.  Many resturants are gluten free or have gluten free menus.  Great food in the area. 

 

As far as airports and hotels, I have had luck finding stapes such as hard boiled eggs, fresh fruit (bananas, apples, etc), almonds, kind bars, and I have even noticed that some airport hudson news magazine stores are carrying the GoPicnic pre-packaged lunches.  However make sure that you read the box carefully, not all GoPicnic lunches are gluten free. 

 

If I am renting a car, I will look for a whole foods in the area, if I am going to be there more than just an overnight and stop in there for some staples for the hotel or get dinner from the deli there if I am not eating out with clients. 

 

The hardest thing for me has been making sure I tell people (clients) ahead of time about diet/food concerns for lunch if it is provided in the office.  I always feel like it's a bit of an imposition and will end up eating a salad or being hungry and eating more later. 

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Okay great.  Thank you all for the info.  I'll have to look up those GoPicnic lunches.  I've never heard of them until now.  Too bad options are limited when taking stuff on the plane.  That's the real pain in the butt to be honest, but it is what it is.

 

And yeah, I have a friend in Sweden and did some homework on Celiac in that area.  I guess they had a major epidemic in the 70's.  They managed to reduce the amount of children getting Celiac by changing the formula they were fed when babies and reducing Gluten foods.  Anyway, definitely worth reading up on imo.  Seems like scientists can learn a lot from Sweden and their outbreak.

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I travel quit a bit, out of the country only to Aruba and Mexico which is a pretty short flight.  But whenever I fly in the country I always take nuts, go picnic meals, or Snyders pretzel sticks and the individual "bowls" of Peanut butter.    Those types of things always make it through security in my carry on.   For my checked luggage (probably the only reason I have to check luggage)  I pack cheese that doesn't need to be refriderated, skinny cow or something like that, crunchmaster crackers, pepperoni and things I can open and refriderate when I arrive, individual bags of instant gluten free oatmeal work great for hotels.      In the grocery store of other countries I only found fresh meat, fruit and veggies to be reliable, everything else was usually written in something I couldn't read, so I didn't take a chance on anything.     Personaly I don't travel with a crockpot, or hot plate or anything like that I do a lot of research and send emails to restaurants asking all the questions I can and I take that email printed and aske to speak to the person who answered me if I need to.    If I don't have time to research that is trickier.   

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I am new on the site, and just want to say thanks for the great ideas.  I am getting ready to travel to West Africa for 2 weeks, and was freaking out about keeping all my food gluten free on top of all the other precautions.  I checked out the gopicnic site, amazing!!! I am getting ready to order a bunch!! Such a wonderful idea.  I plan to take quite a few for the flight and to eat while I am there so I don't have to worry about eating gluten or food contamination.

 

Has anyone had an issue with TSA making you throw your prepackaged food away? My friend flew from Baltimore to Cali and they made her throw away her granola bar.  I am worried I won't have anything to eat for a 12 hour flight if they make me throw these away at security.

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http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/traveling-food-or-gifts

 

I have never been asked to throw away any food I have tried to take aboard.   I looked on the TSA website and it looks like most things they will not let you bring aboard or things that are gel or liquid type, I do see that they list spreads like cheese and peanut butter, but your go picnic meal will be sealed so I can't imagine them giving you trouble with the cheese spread and I have taken both cheese spread and idvidual cups and envelops of peanut butter and have never been asked to throw them away, maybe becuase it is a sealed package and not something I packages myself?   Looks like on that link there is also an app you can download so if you have questions about an item.    Hope that helps some.   I LOVE to travel, we head out this afternoon for a 10 day trip but we are driving for this one. 

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Get a letter from your doctor stating you have severe dietary restrictions and need to travel with your own food.  I just got back from San Francisco, also.  I didn't find it as easy as others have mentioned to find gluten-free restaurants, and the ones I did find are very expensive.  Mariposa Bakery, Pier 23, and the San Franciscan (all on Embarkadero) have gluten-free options.  I used a travel blog to find gluten-free foods in airports, and it was a dismal failure, except for listing CIBO (an organic grab n go).  I got a pretty good turkey sandwich.  

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Make sure that the GO Picnics you get are the Gluten Free ones - I was excited to see some at an airport until I realized they weren't gluten-free versions.

 

As others have said, San Francisco should be easy.  I imagine Sweden also won't be too bad, but I'd bring some things just in case.  Most Swedes speak decent English.  

 

When I've traveled overseas recently, I've e-mailed the Celiac Society of each country (googled for the name) and asked them for advice, for the local words, and brands/stores where I can stock up on things to eat in my hotel room.

 

Good luck.

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