I’ve been to Nice and the Isles of Greece…I’ve been to paradise…well, you know the rest. One of my favorite pastimes is globetrotting. I love to find new destinations to explore and more importantly eat my way through. Now, my other half absolutely hates to fly though, on occasion, I do get him sufficiently liquored up in the airline lounge, then continue for the duration of the flight – as long as the seat turns into a bed on long flights, traveling with him is a dream, LOL!
Most of my crazy travel adventures actually involve (with my partner’s blessing) my fabulous 70-something year old mother who, will on a moments notice, trek cross-country or around the world with me. She makes for a great travel partner and also happens to be diabetic so coupled with my food allergies there is never a dull moment. Now I speak Mandarin but when Mom wants Splenda in China –good luck!
The point of this post is that when I first was diagnosed with Celiac disease, then later an allergy to all possible shellfish – I honestly felt overwhelmed and a bit scared. I mean how could I keep living the fabulous lifestyle and be GF and not die from an anaphylaxis shellfish-related incident? After all, it is a BIG world out there. I love to eat more than words can express. I loved shellfish more than ABBA (well, maybe not that much, but close). I loved pastry, bread, pasta, you name it.
Well, I took baby steps when travelling doing lots of research beforehand so I would at least have some safe backup options at a particular destination. Know what to ask for in the language of your destination. Now, I do speak several world languages but there are times I need a cheat sheet for new countries. Go online and look for helpful phrases or better yet, purchase translation cards from a company such as Triumph, which I stumbled across but have not yet tried.
Basically do whatever you need to do prior to departure to feel empowered and comfortable. Most international airlines will offer a GF option, so ask. I have had some great ones (and not so great) over the years but it is always interesting to see how different airlines approach GF dining at 35,000 feet. I will review some of those some other time. Another great tip is to pack a snack pack and don be shy about it. On shorter trips we know airline food is crap and more often than not, regardless of class of travel there are few to no GF options. I like to bring some of my favorites along just in case of delays.
When you arrive at your destination, talk to people, ask hotel staff for recommendations – remember some estimates now put us Celiacs at 1:100 so you never know who you might chat up or what recommendations they might have. Oh, and for my shellfish allergy sisters, a good tip is finding a Kosher restaurant. Yes, it is not always easy but it really helps put, at least one of my allergy woes, at ease.
Do I ever feel 100% fully confident? Nope. But a little knowledge goes a long way. So get out there and be fabulous while going gluten free on a global scale!