Ahhhh traveling…I use to just love to travel, I could be ready at a moments notice, throw a few things in a suitcase and be off.
Traveling with celiac disease makes traveling much more complicated and can take a bit of planning ahead of time to make sure you are safe but is still always so much fun discovering new things and well worth the extra effort.
Don’t let the fear of traveling overwhelm you, you just have to be really smart with your choices and you will be fine.
Please be sure to check out my tips on flying. I separated them so I could focus on traveling and not airports here.
So here are my Top 3 Tips, hope they help.
Once you have chosen your destination (or if it has been chosen for you for work) it is time to become a super travel agent, as I like to call it.
Start by making a list of your options. Do you have a say what hotel you stay in? If its a work thing, you may not always have that option but here is what I try and find and that is a refrigerator, a little kitchenette is a bonus. If you can stay somewhere where you can control breakfast and lunch lets say and then you can go out any try new place for dinner and you have cut you chances of getting cross-contaminated and sick by a third, a day.
Now I’m not saying that you should not go out and explore and experience the new place that you are in. But, what I am saying that you need to be smart about how you travel and what restaurant options are available to you. If you are traveling to a place with lots of gluten free options, than this is not something that you have to be so concerned about. However, if you are traveling to a place where you know there are not so many options, well than it is way better to be prepared and take care of yourself.
So before booking your hotel, find one with a frig, it will absolutely come in handy. If you are staying at a hotel of your companies choosing, call ahead of time and tell them that you need a refrigerator in your room for medicine and they usually will do their best to accommodate you if they can. Some places will change you and extra fee but it is usually way worth it, for your own piece of mind.
Call the hotel concierge and ask them what the name of the closest health food store is and how far is it from the hotel? You can also ask them if they have a local farmers market close by. If the hotel has no concierge, check with the front desk staff, they might be able to help and at the very least start checking major chain health food stores Whole Foods and Trader Joes and pull up on Google Maps how far they are from your hotel.
It is important that you have a strategy in place and you know ahead of time, how to best take care of yourself. Because if there are no health food option near your hotel and the city or town is not a gluten-free friendly town that you can not always hope that the nearest Publix or Krogers will have you covered. And that means going with Plan B, and that means traveling with the food yourself.
Now I know most people don’t want to travel with a suitcase full of food, but I would rather that any day then being stuck somewhere with no options, and trust me I have been there.
So if there is a health food store close by, I try to arrange my flight so that I get in early and have time to take care of me, first. If there is no health food store options, than I know I need to take care of me ahead of time.
I have found that lots of athletes need to do the same and have found awesome food bags that travel really well and they have different sizes for shorter and longer trips. These bags can and have been a lifesaver during my travels.
Check out what gluten-free restaurants are available near your hotel and also near where you plan on sight-seeing. I like to map out what options I have for the different directions I’m going in so that I know that am always covered. Check online, gluten free restaurants in whatever city you are traveling to and read the reviews on yelp and some other sites. Look at the restaurant menus and there are even some great apps that can help you find gluten free options near where you are.
The bottom line when traveling is that there are lots of options, you just have to know where to look and its all about being prepared ahead of time. I like to do the leg work upfront so that I can then relax and enjoy my surroundings. Knowing that I have taken the time to look after my health then makes the whole trip so much more enjoyable and I don’t have to worry about scrambling and having no options.
Would love to hear your tips on traveling please share in the comments below. Also, if you have specific tips you’d like to request, click on the question box and I’ll get to yours just as soon as I can.