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Navigating Gluten-Free Summer Travels: 5 Essential Tips

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Summer is coming, are you ready?  This is my favorite time of year, warm weather, swimming, and sunshine.  What could be better?  It's also a great time to travel. Traveling has always been exciting, with endless new adventures and people to meet.  When I was younger, I used to like checking off all the places I visited and all the famous sites I saw.  Now, I enjoy going with a plan but allowing for flexibility.  Often the best places to see are off the beaten path.  The locals give the best ideas about what you should see.  However, when you have gluten sensitivities or celiac disease, traveling can also be a bit overwhelming. Fortunately, with some preparation, you can enjoy a gluten-free summer getaway. Here are five essential tips to help you navigate gluten-free travel this summer.

1. Choose your destination:

With so many amazing sites to see, you need to decide where you want to go.  Are you someone who loves the beach?  Do you want to go to Europe or tour the United States?  Are you spontaneous or do you enjoy every detail planned out?  Having to eat gluten-free should not keep you from traveling to all the places you want.  Of course, it comes down to your comfort level. 

2. Research Your Destination:

Once you narrow down where you would like to go the research begins!  Look into local tourist attractions, the best places to stay, and gluten-free food options.  Facebook has a great deal of gluten-free groups all over the world.  Just type in “Gluten-free in ______.”  You will be surprised how much information is out there.  There are also a lot of gluten-free bloggers that have information about different cities and countries.  Be sure to check ahead to make sure the restaurants and bakeries you find are still open.  Having a list of go-to places will make dining out much easier and ensure you don't miss out on amazing food.

3. Pack Snacks and Essentials:

One of the golden rules of gluten-free travel is always to pack your snacks and essentials. While you will find restaurants and grocery stores that have gluten-free options, it's wise to have backup options, especially for long flights, road trips, or outdoor excursions where gluten-free choices may be limited. Stock up on portable snacks like nuts, seeds, gluten-free granola bars, and fruit to keep hunger at bay between meals. Don’t forget that you can go to a local grocery store and get gluten-free options once you arrive.  Read up before traveling overseas so you know how gluten-free items are labeled.  When I traveled to Ireland, my daughter and I stopped at a grocery store and bought gluten-free bread, grapes, and peanut butter.  We kept them in the car in case we were hungry and couldn’t find other options. 


4. Stay Flexible and Positive:

Remember to stay flexible and positive during your gluten-free summer travels. While it's essential to plan and take precautions, unexpected challenges may arise along the way. Whether it's a language barrier, limited food options, or a dining mishap, try to approach each situation with patience and a positive attitude. Use setbacks as learning opportunities and don't let them dampen your travel experience. With the right mindset and a bit of flexibility, you can enjoy a gluten-free summer adventure filled with unforgettable memories and delicious culinary discoveries.


5.  Have fun!

Sometimes we spend so much time worrying: will there be gluten-free food, or what happens if we get sick?  We forget to enjoy ourselves.  It is stressful to travel with celiac but we can’t allow our autoimmune disease to take the joy out of traveling.  So, get out there and see all those places you have on your bucket list! 


Traveling gluten-free can be stressful but it doesn’t have to keep us from traveling and enjoying ourselves.  By following these five essential tips—choosing your destination, researching your destination, packing snacks and essentials, communicating your needs, staying flexible and positive, and having fun—you can enjoy a memorable summer getaway. With proper planning, you'll be able to savor the flavors of your travels while staying gluten-free. Bon voyage and happy gluten-free adventures!

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