Travelling gluten free can be tricky especially if you’re reliant on other people understanding your dietary needs. Whether it’s to stay with friends, relatives or a weekend away, my bag is usually crammed full with a variety of gluten free snacks and staples to fend off possible starvation albeit at the hands of my well meaning hosts!
My top 5 favourite tips for traveling gluten free came into their own on a recent girls weekend away. Thankfully it took place in a self catering apartment in Liverpool which made meal times dreamily easy for me and everyone else was happy as I offered to cook all the meals.
Not that culinary skills were really required it was the talking in a way that you can only do with very close, dear friends and drinking of red wine that were the highlight. But food was a must to soak it all up and give us sustenance for further talking.
We stayed at the Bridge Street apartments in Liverpool One. These were serviced apartments and a continental breakfast was included in the price. So in the vain hope that I may get something gluten free I emailed ahead and received a wonderfully positive response.
However, on arrival the young friendly staff admitted they didn’t really know what gluten free was but said they’d done their best. I was very touched by their efforts and concern over whether they’d got it right. Our continental breakfasts were left for us in white paper bags, mine was labelled “gluten free” and contained a small box of Kellog’s cornflakes (not gluten free), a herbal tea bag and a bagel that was labelled gluten free. This was alongside Soya milk in the fridge and a free from yoghurt. So yes they were confused about what gluten free was about but got it nearly right! If I had been a Coeliac (& not just intolerant) and reliant on being able to eat every aspect of the breakfast the Cornflakes wouldn’t have gone down well. Whilst the soya milk and the free from yoghurt weren’t necessary they showed a level of concern and consideration. Whilst I applaud and am grateful for the effort they put in on my behalf I would have been very happy to explain what gluten free meant via email so to anyone else out there next time, please just ask!
No matter how much we think people should know what a gluten free diet is and that they really must have heard of Coeliac Disease by now, it’s not worth taking the risk so be a girl guide/boy scout and when travelling gluten free go prepared!
So here are my top 5 tips for travelling gluten free:-
- Take as many Eat Natural or Nature’s Path gluten free bars as you can. They’re easy to pack, taste great and keep you going as a snack or with their chocolate treat content do as a desert if necessary.
2. Nairns Gluten free oat cakes. A must have for most restaurants when they don’t have gluten free bread on the menu. I always carry them in my bag and have been grateful for them on numerous occasions.
3. Make some of my delicious flapjack and take with you in plastic containers. However, be warned my gluten eating travelling companions are always asking if I’ve got any of my flapjack with me make extra!
4. If you know you will be travelling or arriving at breakfast/lunch/ dinner time make up your own tasty gluten free roll to travel with. In Paddington Bear style I’d highly recommend a marmalade breakfast roll!
5. Take portions in plastic food bags or tupperware containers of gluten free pasta, cereal and bread. That way, if you’re staying at someone’s house or in a self catering apartment, the basics are covered. Obviously taking care on how your hosts cook them to avoid contamination but you don’t need me to tell you that!
If you bear these top 5 tips in mind for your next trip, you won’t go far wrong.
What are your tips for travelling gluten free? I’d love to hear them, please share them in the comments below so we can all benefit from your experiences.
©Maria Brannigan 2014