Packing for trips when traveling gluten free due to celiac disease as well as with food allergies is continually discussed when I’m guest speaking at conferences. From my perspective, maintaining a 100% gluten free and dairy free diet for over 12 years has definitely changed the way that I pack for business trips and vacation.
First, I always make sure to pack what I call my “home comfort kit” which includes my medications, supplements, herbs and other health remedies that I take in case of an adverse food reaction.
Since I do not have anaphylaxis, I do not need epinephrine auto-injectors. However, in my personal kit, I always carry antihistamines, antacids and aloe vera for stomach upset, digestive aids such as ginger, turmeric, and charcoal as well as bath salts. Luckily, I haven’t had an allergic reaction in years but I still have to be prepared wherever I am!
Second, I pack enough snacks in my carry-on bag to get me to my desired destination as well as a variety of snacks in my suitcase for excursions throughout the trip. These food snacks may range from no preparation items such as protein bars, cookies, protein mixes and fruit, to hot-water preparation items such as dried soups to foods requiring a small cooler as suggested in Let’s Eat Out. Packing my home comfort kit and my snacks definitely helps me feel safer when traveling.
Third, I make sure that any prior research that I have conducted about specific restaurants, stores and food brands at my destination are with me for easy reference. If I am traveling internationally to a foreign language speaking country, I always ensure that I pack multiple paper copies of the travel translation cards, additional language phrases, country travel kits and any advice from the local celiac and food allergy associations.
These downloadable restaurant cards with ingredient and food preparation phrases are available in numerous languages and are my life savers. I present my chef dining cards to the wait staff and/or chef at restaurants, hotels and stores to help to communicate my food concerns. I print extra copies for my travels because there have been lots of times that restaurant staff have asked me to keep the cards for other gluten free and allergy-free guests.
I also make sure that I have the latest update of the following gluten free and food allergy mobile apps: iCanEat Fast Food Gluten Free and Allergy Free for travel within the US, Find Me Gluten Free and iEatOut Gluten Free and Allergy Free for ethnic restaurant dishes when visiting foreign speaking countries.
Taking the extra effort to pack all of these things helps me to feel safe at all times and gives me the opportunity to enjoy my travels wherever that may take me! I hope it does the same for you!