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What Are the Best Tips for Gluten-Free Travel?

By Elle Jay
Updated: Jan 27, 2024

Vacation planning involves more than just deciding on fun things to do. Where to stay, where to eat, and transportation to, from, and during vacation all play a part in gluten-free travel. Anyone who suffers from dietary restrictions knows how important it is to stay away from foods that can cause health problems, even when on traveling. No time is a good time for allergies to crop up, but vacations may be the worst time to deal with gluten intolerance.

The most important tip for gluten-free travel is to be prepared. Keeping your dietary needs in mind when planning a trip is vital to making the best plan possible. Most people make transportation choices first when planning a vacation, and this decision can affect anyone with problems such as celiac disease.

Car travel offers the most flexibility when it comes to gluten-free travel. Road trippers can pack a variety of gluten-free foods in the car, so they will not have to worry about finding appropriate dining options during their trip. Train travel provides some flexibility with carry-on luggage, so special foods can usually be taken along and stowed above or in front of the seat. Soft-sided coolers work well for driving or riding the rails, because they can keep foods cool without taking up too much space.

A few airlines offer gluten-free diet options for an in-flight meal, but they rarely advertise the special meals or offer them up front. Ask about your food choices before reserving a flight to see what is available. There are many restrictions when it comes to airplane carry-ons, so always verify what is allowed and what is prohibited. You may be able to bring a cooler along as luggage, but what you carry inside is subject to search and could be thrown away if it doesn't meet security guidelines.

More and more hotels have joined the gluten-free travel world by adding selections that support a this lifestyle to on-site restaurant menus. Chain hotels may be more likely to offer gluten-free dining options in some cases, but it never hurts to ask what kind of accommodations can be made when you book a room. Many hotels and motels also provide an in-room refrigerator and microwave, which makes it easier to maintain a special diet. Ask about nearby grocery stores at check-in, and at the start of the trip, stock up on gluten-free staples to keep on hand. The hotel concierge or front desk may provide a list of area restaurants with selections for people with dietary restrictions.

Some of the best foods for maintaining a gluten-free diet require no special stores, storage, or preparation. Fresh fruits and vegetables, and meat or fish that has not been processed, marinated, or breaded, can be found in restaurants and hotel dining rooms that do not specifically offer special meals. Knowing what is allowed and what to avoid can help make gluten-free travel easy and enjoyable.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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