It’s holiday season! If you have specific dietary requirements, like myself, going abroad can be a worrying experience. I have found that preparation is key and have listed my top tips to make travelling gluten free as hassle free as possible:
Before leaving for your trip, research the area you are visiting and see if you can find any information about gluten free shops, stockists and restaurants in that area, note them down and it will save you lots of hassle when you get there. Also, make sure you create some translation cards, I used this helpful guide from Coeliac UK https://www.coeliac.org.uk/document-library/179-spain/spain-dec-2015.pdf and handed them to waiters when eating out in Mallorca recently. This was really useful and cut down on a lot of the translation worry.
2. Inform in advance
Don’t be afraid to contact your hotel or holiday provider before you leave. You will be surprised at how accommodating some of them can be and by informing them in advance you have more chance of there being something to eat when you get there!
3. Pack a picnic
Always take some emergency items in your case just in case you find yourself in a situation where you don’t feel comfortable eating. I pack bread rolls, rice crackers and chocolate biscuits, just in case!
It is also important to pack a picnic for your journey. Airports and service stations are very poor at providing gluten free food so make sure you are prepared for any hanging around.
4. Order first
On a recent flight, the only gluten free hot food available was chips. By the time the cabin crew reached my seat to take my order they were sold out. Always inform a member of cabin crew as soon as possible that you are gluten free to ensure you get first dibs!
5. Learn the lingo
If you are going to a non-English speaking country then ensure you know how to say the important terms for your requirements, for example ‘gluten free’ or ‘I have coeliac disease’.
6. If you don’t ask, you don’t get!
Don’t be afraid to ask everyone what gluten free options are available, don’t just settle for what you can see at the buffet that looks safe. I have been given a whole loaf cake, bread rolls, biscuits and a spectacular platter of desserts after enquiring about gluten free options.
Don’t forget to have fun and enjoy your holiday! Hopefully, like me, you will find your experience much better than you anticipated. Please feel free to share any gluten free travel tips that you have, I would love to hear them.