I have coeliac disease and while this makes travel a little more difficult, it certainly is not impossible and I do not let it stop me. Research and planning take the stress out of travel.
With the boom in healthy eating, this is both a blessing and a frustration for those with coeliac disease. A blessing for the growing awareness and availability of gluten free options, but frustrating as there is a stigma around gluten free eating and sometimes I feel like I need to justify the way I eat.
Here are my tips for travelling coeliac disease or other food intolerances.
There is an abundance of information on the internet, with some good planning and research travel with a food intolerance does not have to be difficult. Look into meals commonly eaten in your destination and the ingredients that make up these meals. Knowledge on local dishes will heal with the decision-making in restaurants where there is a language barrier. You can also look up allergy-friendly restaurants and local supermarkets.
When travelling I generally opt to either stay in self-catering accommodation or hostels with a kitchen. This gives me the flexibility to prepare meals on my own, such as breakfast, this is helpful in places where meals like breakfast are often bread-based.
It is always a good idea to be prepared for long journeys with snacks. Some good non-perishable snacks include nuts, rice crackers and gluten free oats. You never know if you’ll be delayed or struggle to find a gluten free meal at an airport or station.
Most airlines allow you to select a gluten free meal at the time of booking, though I would recommend phoning and checking with the airline a few days before departure to make sure they received your request. I once flew a flight where my meal was forgotten. However, the staff were very accommodating and were able to locate a raw vegan meal, which was gluten free.
I generally try to take my own basic cooking utensils with me when travelling. Useful things such as a plate, bowl and cutlery allow me to avoid cross-contamination in shared kitchens.
This website has cards that you can download and they explain coeliac disease and what we cannot eat in over 50 different languages. You can print these out or download to your smartphone.
Do you have any tips for travelling with a food intolerance?