The easiest place to be gluten free is at home, but travel is a part of all of our lives at one point and it is important that we be prepared for things to consider when traveling.
Gluten Free travel can be fun and enjoyable if you prepare for your trip ahead of time. Make sure to check on airlines, hotels, and trains for the options they may provide. It’s best to assume no one will have what you need and prepare your own food or plan where you can reliably find gluten free food.
I just went on a trip with my two gluten free kids. We traveled on a plane and stayed with my non-gf family. In order to prepare for this trip, I gathered some information. Below you will find aspects of trip planning with information on different vendors and other things you should consider when traveling.
Gluten Free Travel Planning
Agreeing to a long trip whether it be by plane, train, or car, can be overwhelming when you need to consider how to prepare gluten free for one or more family members.
The different methods of travel as well as the destination are things to consider when starting to plan for travel. Depending on these variables you may or may not be able to bring your own food, food preparation possibilities, and more.
Plan for the best. Prepare for the worst.Gluten Free Moms’ Mantra
When it comes to airlines, you should always assume that there will be no options or if they have options you have ordered ahead of time, prepare for an error where your food is not available. If you are comfortable with ordering the food on the airline, don’t be discouraged from it, but have a backup plan.
Below I’ve included information on different airlines and what gluten free options they offer, a great starting point to plan a trip on a plane.
Traveling by plane can bring up some difficult hurdles we need to cross. You can find my tips for packing for an airline trip. The shorter the trip the easier it will be. When we went on our vacation we were gone for 9 days with three gluten free people, two of which were kids. I learned a lot from this and I’d love it if you could avoid my mistakes!
On the other hand, travel by train can be much simpler with fewer restrictions. However, there are some things to consider as well. Most trains will not offer gluten free food, or if they do the options will be extremely limited. As with planes, always prepare to bring your own food on a train trip.
We love to go camping with family and while there are some extra things to consider, especially if traveling with other people, it doesn’t usually take much more planning than a family without the consideration of a gluten free diet. There are plenty of gluten free options for s’mores – just bring your own roasting stick (and label it if camping with non-gf companions).
For hotels, there are some things to know or look for, but especially if you are traveling by car there are many options available. Always request a mini-fridge in your room and fill it with quick and easy options. I usually prefer to find a hotel with a kitchenette or do a house rental when possible for ease of food preparation.
Snacks on the road! No matter the way you are traveling, snacks are always needed. Prepare a mini cooler to bring premade sandwiches, cheese sticks, and other favorite items. Other things to consider are fresh fruit, pretzels, chips, jerky, and crackers.
Planning for a trip while gluten free can be stressful in any situation, but when you can’t bring your own food it brings in another layer of anxiety. So what happens when you can’t pack your own food for the trip? Longer trips and those including flights may be part of this.
Some things to do might be ordering grocery pickup at your destination, looking at what restaurants are nearby, and participating in local gluten free groups online to gain a better understanding of what is available in the area.
You will find more information on each of these topics below and I have written an entire post on each that you can click through to for more in-depth information on each topic.
Gluten Free Travel Information Hub
For more information on traveling while gluten free, see the below links for additional information.
Gluten Free Travel Guide – For general information on all types of travel when you need to maintain a gluten free diet.
Gluten Free Airlines – A list of airlines with information on airlines that offer gluten free options, carry-on allowances, and more.
Gluten Free Travel By Air – Essential tips, packing advice, and food ideas for successful gluten free plane trips.
When You Can’t Pack Your Food – How to stay gluten free in a new place when you can’t bring your own supplies.
What To Consider For Gluten Free Accommodations – A list of questions to ask when staying somewhere related to gluten free and the pros and cons of different types of accommodations.
What To Know About Gluten Free Airline Travel
For a breakdown of all the airlines and their policies regarding gluten free travel, click over to this article.
On that list I included whether the airline allows a carry on and whether it is included in the price or not. This is because you will likely need additional space to carry your own snacks and food on board.
I highly suggest not relying on the gluten free meal they may provide and to bring your own food. Make sure to consider food you may need at the airport on either side of your flight in addition to layovers. Don’t rely on the airline to provide your food or you may be caught in a spot without any food.
Another thing to consider is food available at the airport. Once you get through security you are able to purchase food that you cannot take through from outside the airport. However, don’t expect that the available options will be gluten free.
Make sure any liquids are 100 ml (3.4 fl oz) or less. Liquids include items such as cream cheese. Peanut butter, yogurt, and salad dressing qualify under the same category as cream cheese with a maximum of 100 ml. So you may bring hard cheese like cheddar but not over 100ml of soft ones like cream cheese or dips. So bring your own crackers, bread, and the like.
There are also restrictions on ice and ice packs. You may attempt to find ice on the other side of security, but it is best to bring items that may be enjoyed at room temperature.
For more details on allowable foods, you can look at the TSA site for examples of allowable foods and requirements.