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buluga

Anyone Have Any Vacation Recommendations?

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I've read and searched this message board, but I didn't find anyone's recommendations about where they would/could go for gluten-free travel. I was diagnosed in March, and really haven't traveled since. I want to go somewhere warm this winter - Florida, Caribbean, someplace to escape the Boston winter. But in addition to the complications of finding the time and a place that my wife and two young daughters want to go to, now I have to find a place that can accomodate the gluten-free diet.

Has anyone taken a vacation to someplace warm where you know that gluten-free food was no problem? If you were me, where would you go (both with and without the children)?

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Our family has recently strugled with this (I am the one with celiac disease, not the kids). We ended up booking a disneyland vacation for spring break. The kids will have a blast and I should be able to eat!

Hez

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Anything other than the Disney experience? I was thinking someplace quieter. Someplace I could sit on the beach and go out for a nice meal and not worry about being sick. Anyone been anywhere like that?

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If you go someplace tropical, and rent a condo, you can cook your own food and avoid the risk of contamination. On the other hand, Europe could be a good place as well.

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San Diego, California is nice. There's LegoLand, The S.D. Zoo, SeaWorld, the beaches, Tijuana, Mountains, the Missions, Hollywood... so much to do. And WholeFoods, Trader Joe's, Boney's, Henry's, Outback Steakhouse, PF Changs. It's nice! B) Oh, and a Disney World, too... I think.

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Buluga,

I can relate to your post. My son and I became gluten intolerant in Febuary after taking strong antibiotics. It took months before we found out what was wrong with us. We are healing but had to cancel a trip to Italy in May. We are going to rebook our trip in a year or so after we feel comfortable travelling so far away. In the meantime we have booked a march trip to Oahu. We have booked a vacation house and will cook most meals just for peace of mind. I have researched restaurants that offer gluten-free menus. It was pretty easy. If I were you, I would figure out the destination, then research gluten-free restaurants and stores that sell gluten-free foods. Good luck and have fun.

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I took a Carnival cruise in August to the Carribean (sp?). They did a pretty good job. I spoke with the head chef the first day and told him about my situation. They seemed used to dealing with allergies/intolerances. They asked that I not eat at the buffets b/c of cross contamination, but they were more than happy to serve me food either in the restaurant or through room service. I ordered everything plain (plain meat, potatoes, veggies, hamburger patties - specifying that they could not touch a bun, etc). You can bring dry goods on board too, so I brought chips, cookies, and cereal. They tell you not to bring items that need refrigeration, but I did b/c I knew that they had a little room fridge in there - took out their snickers bars and stuffed it with my soy milk!

Search under the travel discussion - I think others have posted about their cruise line experiences too.

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I'm cruising in 3 weeks on the Windsurf, operated by Windstar Cruises (owned by Holland America) and we cruised with them before. When you notify them of your gluten-free status they tell you they will do their best and that they only have one kitchen, however everyone on the ship went out of their way for us. The Maitre de, the Chef and our waiter. I wasn't glutened once. At every meal the Maitre de came to me and told me what I could eat (I got to the buffets first before cross contamination happened) and they had a barbeque on deck for lunch every day where they would cook my food separately. Also at every meal you had the option of going in the dining room and whenever I did the chef would offer to make almost anything on the menu gluten-free for me, also he made me a lot of things that were NOT on the menu. (special desserts).

Windstar is a small cruise line with big sailing ships so they do not stock gluten-free foods for me, however I understand that on Holland America's larger ships they do supply gluten-free food as long as you tell them a month in advance of your food issues.

Because of the smaller ship its a very relaxing cruise and you go to lots of smaller ports and islands that the big ships can't stop at.

Susan

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There's a couple in Maryland (Baltimore area) that does a gluten free dining and travel club thing. They arrange a couple of trips a year - cruises and the like - that are all gluten free. The site is http://www.bobandruths.com

FYI, they've got a ClubMed adults only planned in Feb., a ClubMed family getaway in July, an Alaskan cruise in May, a tour of Ireland and Scotland, also in May, a Kenyan safari and a tour of the Orient (China, Thailand, Cambodia) coming up later in the year. Maybe more stuff. There's a membership fee to join the club, and of course the cost of the getaway or cruise or whatever, but it's not that expensive, and if you want to do some travelling, might be a good idea.

Debbie

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How about Kauai? Long flight from Boston but worth it if you can stay at least a week. I really recommend renting a condo or cottage and not risking cross contamination or gluten at every meal... plus, celiac or not, who wants to eat restaurant food 3 meals a day for a week anyway, ick. So my advice it to check out vrbo.com (vacation rental by owner)... it can save you a lot of $ and I've had 2 good experiences, one on Maui and one on Kauai, with them. The last one we stayed at had a bbq grill, which was great b/c my hubby did a lot of the "cooking" and you just can't beat fresh fish on the grill. yummy.

Happy vacation planning,

Heather

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Thanks for the responses everyone! Gluten-free travel isn't thoughtlessly easy, but then what is these days?

I looked at the Bob & Ruth's but I was hoping to get more flexibility by booking something like Club Med myself. I e-mailed Club Med, and they sent me a form letter about food they offer like spaghetti and meatballs! Thanks a lot.

I wonder if there are any resort-type places like that (that offer organized kid activities!) which at least know about and offer choice for gluten-free vacationers!?

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Hmm, I saw a summer camp program someplace that offered a week or two during the summer for gluten-free kids.Everything that week was gluten free. I'll have to see if I can find the place again - it was last summer when I saw the info on it, and I don't remember where or what the name was.

Debbie

Ok, check this website:

http://www.csaceliacs.org/isearch/index.php?s=Camp

I believe this is last year's list, but many of them will be having programs this year too. Contact anyone that sounds interesting and see.

Debbie

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I've read and searched this message board, but I didn't find anyone's recommendations about where they would/could go for gluten-free travel. I was diagnosed in March, and really haven't traveled since. I want to go somewhere warm this winter - Florida, Caribbean, someplace to escape the Boston winter. But in addition to the complications of finding the time and a place that my wife and two young daughters want to go to, now I have to find a place that can accomodate the gluten-free diet.

Has anyone taken a vacation to someplace warm where you know that gluten-free food was no problem? If you were me, where would you go (both with and without the children)?

I'd reccoment England. Much more available for Gluten Free Products (at least Yorkshire) and the general population is much more educated on gluten-free. It is more open there, I guess because diagnoses is higher in Europe. Also a once in a life time place to see!

Hugs

Bridget

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Thanks for the responses everyone! Gluten-free travel isn't thoughtlessly easy, but then what is these days?

I looked at the Bob & Ruth's but I was hoping to get more flexibility by booking something like Club Med myself. I e-mailed Club Med, and they sent me a form letter about food they offer like spaghetti and meatballs! Thanks a lot.

I wonder if there are any resort-type places like that (that offer organized kid activities!) which at least know about and offer choice for gluten-free vacationers!?

I definitely understand! My 14 year-old son and I were both diagnosed with celiac disease last year. We went to Florida last summer for 2 weeks and ended up sick a few times after eating out and "being careful". Gluten seems to be hidden everywhere and many chefs just don't get it.

We're heading to Beaches Resort in Turks and Caicos next month. It's an "all inclusive" resort with 10 restaurants. I've been reassured that the chefs are very accomodating. I'll let you know!!

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I would recommend Cuba but being in the US you are prohibited from visting this beautiful place.

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Guest BERNESES

I would have to agree- Kauai is GORGEOUS! I would also recommend San Francisco. It won't be terribly warm but the food is incredible. So many gluten free options. I was out there in June and didn't get sick once. Also, maybe Scottsdale AZ area. They have a great restaurant called Thai Foon that has a gluten-free menu, some gorgeous resorts and spas, good shopping, lots to do. It's warm, you can travel to Tuscon, Sedona and the Grand Canyon from there.

I'm going to Turks and Caicos in a month. A little nervous but we have a kitchenette so that should help. Also, before I was "really" sick (but clearly symptomatic), we went to Costa Rica for our honeymoon and that was great- lots of fish, meat, rice, beans. The only time I got sick there was after going out for pizza at a restaurant owned by Americans. If you want any recommendations about San Francisco, Arizona, or Costa Rica, let me know. I'd be happy to give you details.

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I went on a cruise with Royal Carribean to the Western Carribean. It was great! They were really good about the food and everything. You just have to tell them beforehand. All we had to bring was cereal, really. They even made a few gluten-free desserts for me. They give you bread (it's actually really good). It was so much fun!

-Jackie

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I am off to Jamaica in a couple of months will let you know about the resorts etc., down there.

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Norweigan Cruise Lines was wonderful when it came to my diet restrictions. Not only were they very aware of what was needed, but they had Gluten-Free bread available the first night I was on the cruise ship (I didn't give them any advanced notice). There wasn't even one mess-up, so I would definitely recommend them.

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I took a Carnival cruise in August to the Carribean (sp?). They did a pretty good job. I spoke with the head chef the first day and told him about my situation. They seemed used to dealing with allergies/intolerances. They asked that I not eat at the buffets b/c of cross contamination, but they were more than happy to serve me food either in the restaurant or through room service. I ordered everything plain (plain meat, potatoes, veggies, hamburger patties - specifying that they could not touch a bun, etc). You can bring dry goods on board too, so I brought chips, cookies, and cereal. They tell you not to bring items that need refrigeration, but I did b/c I knew that they had a little room fridge in there - took out their snickers bars and stuffed it with my soy milk!

Search under the travel discussion - I think others have posted about their cruise line experiences too.

I took a Carnival Cruise in August and thought they did a great job in the dining room to accomadate my celiac disease as well. What ship were you on? I basically handled it the same way you did. I even ate at the outside grill. The meat was cooked on the grill with the buns on a plate and all they cooked where burgers, dogs chicken and steak. No breaded chicken fingers or stuff like that so I felt it was safe.

Also, I have read some of the more expensive cruise lines will even bake you gluten-free bread etc. Carnival did not offer this much accomadation.

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I am going to Costa Rica in a month. I'm havina Spanish speaking friend write up some info cards for me for restuarants. (I know you can get it here.) I plan on eating lots of plain fruits, veggies, meats, and beans and rice. It sounds like a lot of their traditional cooking would be gluten free except for wheat tortillas.

-Bobbi

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