Top 3 Tips for Hassle-Free, Gluten-Free Travel

Gluten-Free Travel

Whether you’re embarking on a solo adventure, jetting off for a romantic getaway, or taking the kids to Disney World, travel offers immeasurable benefits. Trips provide a much-needed break from the routine, renew our sense of wonder, and deliver a fresh perspective on life. As Pico Iyer put it, “Travel is not really about leaving our homes, but leaving our habits.”

However, when we are living with allergies, food sensitivities or within a specific dietary system, it is precisely when we break our daily habits that we open ourselves to health risks. Whether you are living with celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, or following a Paleo diet, you’ll want to keep gluten out of your diet even when you may temporarily relax the rest of your healthy habits.

Follow these guidelines to safeguard your health while travelling:

1. Pack Food

Portable snacks and meal replacement shakes are a convenient way to ensure that you never go hungry. Buy individually packaged almonds or make your own mix and pack a few ziplocks with your favorites. Small fruits such as tangerines or apples are easy to throw in your bag. A few low-sugar protein bars also come in handy when the airplane forgot your GF meal and the plane is delayed on the runway…for another 3 hours. Kind Bars are widely available and at least two of their tasty bars have only 4 grams of sugar: Cashew Ginger Spice and Madagascar Vanilla Almond. Other bars to look for are Quest Bar Coconut Cashew and Lara Bar Uber Roasted Nut Bar.

If you can find the time to make a batch of home-cooked treats to pack, try these lemon poppy muffins or Janice’s delicious chocolate date coconut bars  for a sweet treat that travels well and offers sustainable energy.

I often freeze small containers of yogurt to take on trips – by the time I’m ready to eat one a few hours later, it is defrosted but still cool. A box or small bag of Mary’s Gone Crackers is also useful if you can find room in your bag!

Finally, including a few packets of protein shakes like Sustain  or Recharge  in your luggage is a foolproof way to ensure that you get a nutritious breakfast even if your hotel offers only pastries and cereals.

2. Do Your Research

Does your airline offer gluten-free meals on your flight? Can your hotel restaurant accommodate gluten-free and make recommendations for local restaurants that would be suitable? Call ahead and ask questions and of course, turn to Google to search for gluten-free restaurants at your destination. Gluten-free is becoming increasingly popular and easy to accommodate.

3. Communicate in the Native Tongue

It’s always best to explain your allergy or dietary concerns with your waiter, but when language is a barrier, a simple card explaining that you cannot ingest gluten is a great tool.When travelling internationally, print out gluten-free request cards in the language of your destination country to ease communication barriers. offers cards in 54 languages explaining Celiac and gluten-free in multiple languages which you can print out to take with you to restaurants:

Enjoy your trip!

  • Sue UK

    Brilliant advice Laura….. I am celiac and very sensitive to all dairy…. staying healthy is ALL about planing my food, each and every day, allowing for and differences in my routine.
    Last summer was my first trip away since identifying my unique food poisons. It is a blessing to have both gluten and dairy as I had no choice but to prepare all my own food….all the flight attendants and my neighbouring passengers looked on longingly at my bed of rocket and watercress with cucumber chunks, cold roasted veggies topped with a homemade organic lamb burger…..followed by a paleo chocolate brownie and snacks of Beetroot chips courtesy of the UK’s top super market (grocery store).
    I found a good handful of restaurants who amended their food to suit my needs, left the ones I knew ‘weren’t getting it’! Had the best holiday in many years with tons of energy and wonderful vitality.
    This year I have a wider array of snacks for my travelling menu… staple banana bread and protein bar, but I shall stick with the salad and lamb burger. The first 5 nights are in NYC so I am excited to come by Eleven Eleven and buy a cleanse package and some extra smoothies. I would love to have access to them here in the UK.
    Thanks for the incredible resource you all share with abundance
    In Gratitude,
    Sue in the UK

  • Sue UK

    PS I shall be trying Janice’s chocolate date coconut bars and they will undoubtedly be a great addition to my travel food :)

  • Anonymous

    Thank you, Sue! Great to hear from you and yes, I agree, it is all about planning ahead and preparing. Hope to meet you in the office. -laura

  • The translation cards are a HUGE help when traveling and dining out. I used them all over Thailand last year. Be polite and smile when you hand over the cards. Don’t forget, a smile is universal!

  • Anonymous

    good advice, Erin — thanks!

  • Karen Broussard

    Staying in a hotel with a suite or efficiency — or in a condo with a full kitchen — will help, if you’d like to do some of your own cooking. We’ve done that on several trips, and it allowed us more flexibility and didn’t lock us in to eating every meal out! There are now also many hotel chains (and cruise ships) with formalized gluten free menu programs for guests. I also recommend searching on our website, GlutenFreeTravelSite ( ) where you can search by location and read user-submitted restaurant, dining & travel reviews.

  • Steven C. Day

    Once you make it past security, go to your gate and inform the airline staff that Handicapped seats at the airport you’ll be on that flight and will need assistance. Make sure they tag your chair and confirm that they can stow it in the cabin.