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Bonnie PA

Banned from group trips

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Have others had this happen? I signed up for a group travel trip with a professional operator AFTER I told them I needed a zero-gluten (and no milk) diet and they said ok. I paid months in advance and was ready to go. One month before the trip they said their insurance company was requiring them to cancel my booking because I’m a liability: I could sue if there was an error in food preparation and I got sick they said. I offered to sign a waiver that I would not sue. No dice. I have celiacs disease. I cannot help that I need a restricted diet. Isn’t this illegal? I fear I will lose money on my airfare—and never be allowed on group tours. Suggestions?

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I am not an attorney, but what they did is not illegal.  Even though celiac disease is a disability, the only challenge that I can recall is for celiacs (under the American Disabilities Act) who were required to purchase a dorm meal plan at universities.   The university is not obligated to provide gluten free foods and keep students safe.  But they are when they make them pay for meals.  It also applies if you are in jail!  This might be applied to a cruise where you can not get food anywhere else once you are at sea or cruise companies are smart and want your business.  


A travel company is optional.  You do not have to go on a trip with them.  Unfortunately, life today in the US is dictated by lawsuits and insurance companies.  I can see that the insurance company might be worried that you would get sick and then sue them.  Sign a waiver?  You could say later you were ill when you signed it.  I assume you would be on a bus and maybe they feed you meals or snacks on the bus or contract with restaurants who can accommodate large bus tours, but not food allergies.  

Have you contacted your travel Insurance?  Maybe they can reimburse you?  Read the fine print.  Our camper once broke down and we’re had trip insurance through RV towing (AAA).  We got reimbursed for the hotel, food, etc beside getting towed.  

Consider a cruise.  They have taken the time to train all staff and even have dedicated kitchen sections of the ship specifically for allergies.  We like cruises and have never had a gluten exposure (see cruise safety tips in other posts via a site “search”. 

Consider traveling on your own.   We mostly eat at the market/grocery store and picnic if we are unable to find a restaurant that offers gluten-free food and we have read online reviews by celiacs who have eaten there.  

Finally there are some dedicated gluten-free group tours.  I want to try one soon!  


I get your disappointment.  Celiac disease is not fun, but we do have options and we have an opportunity to heal without drugs or medical intervention.  How lucky is that?  

Edited by cyclinglady

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Might see about local celiac support groups if you looking for group trips then plan for places that have good selection of options.
I often plan my trips around checking out gluten free dedicated restaurants and other bakeries who make gluten free (plus paleo and keto) baked goods. Not done this in awhile though.
For events there are expos like the nourished festival in the US that shows up in different cities and there are dedicated group tours and cruises as mentioned above.

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