Gluten Free Travel
Italy, the land of home-made pizza and fresh pasta. France, famous for crunchy baguettes and buttery croissants. America, large portions of comfort food and deep fried everything. Could these places possibly be gluten friendly? Yes!
It's difficult enough for people with food intolerances to dine out in their own hometown, let alone travel half away across the world to eat in an entirely foreign country. But, with a little strategic planning and some research on you or your family's behalf, travelling overseas need not be a food nightmare for the gluten impaired!
To start planning your gluten-free trip away, look to the internet as your guide. There are numerous sites with handy hints, tips and traveler's reviews on eating safely when you're away. One thing to bear in mind is to contact the airline and reserve gluten-free meals on all your flights. Alternatively, taking on board your own snacks will save you the hassle of eating plane food and you can be 100% certain of what you are eating. Another thing to think about is to source out restaurants and cafes in the towns and cities you are traveling to and look online at their menus, if available.
There are free downloadable dining cards on the internet for sufferers of coeliac disease; these are available in 49 languages! They include phrases which let the chef and staff know what it is you're allergic to and what ingredients you need to avoid. These pocket sized travel cards are a dream come true for the gluten intolerant, and should be taken everywhere when dining out in non-English speaking countries.
To navigate America and Italy, there are two great books called The Gluten-Free Guide to New York and The Gluten-Free Guide to Italy, both by author Maria Ann Roglieri. These two guides have everything from where to dine and where to shop, what to cook, interviews with restaurant owners and managers, and information on where to seek medical care and support services.
Another thing to keep in mind is once you have booked your accommodation, it may be an idea to contact the hotel(s) where you are staying and send them a letter outlining your health issues and any dietary requirements. This can save you the hassle later on when it comes to ordering in house meals and you may be more likely to be taken seriously when it comes to dining in. As this is just a suggestion and not completely foolproof, it's always a smart idea to double check that the 'special' meal you've asked for, is in fact what you are being served.
With these tips kept in mind, travelling overseas with an intolerance or allergy to gluten will become just that little bit less stressful, leaving you time to plan and focus on more important things...like shopping!
By Karli Smith