Everyone can agree – traveling, especially planning travel, can be really stressful. Add on the stress of dealing with a food intolerance or two, and you could end up dreading travel. Fear not my fellow food intolerant friends! After traveling for the past two weeks, I’ve realized that it’s actually not that bad – and I wanted to share my tips for making the most of vacation without sacrificing your health.
1. Plan Ahead
This one is a no-brainer. If you have a food intolerance, you already plan ahead whenever you go out to eat at home. This is no different – once you’ve booked accommodation, google maps makes it super easy. Plug in the address, then search around that location for restaurants. You can also look at Yelp or TripAdvisor to find other local places, and many of those websites will indicate if a restaurant is vegetarian/vegan/gluten-intolerance friendly. If you aren’t always in charge of choosing the places to eat, you can call the restaurant and see how accommodating they can be. More and more places are becoming aware of these kinds of issues, and are able to accommodate.
2. Choose Flexible Accommodations
If you ask me, AirBnB is the greatest thing to happen to the travel industry. So many places offer breakfast too, and you can contact the host ahead of time – if you stay with AirBnB, contact your host ahead of time and see if they can accommodate your intolerances. Every time I’ve contacted a host about an issue, they’ve been flexible. With AirBnB hosts too, no one else knows the local food scene like them – ask them for tips about where to go to eat that they think/know can cater to intolerances.
If you are staying in a hotel, take advantage of the freebies there too. If breakfast is included, take extras of foods you can handle. Ask the concierge if they have foods to cater to intolerances – again, as food intolerances becomes more common, the likelihood of them saying they can help has gone up.
3. Go Shopping
If you have no options at the hotel breakfast or have limited choices when eating out, there’s always a grocery store! Often when I travel, I’ll go to the grocery store and get breakfasts I can eat. Hotels tend to be bread heavy at breakfast, so I’m usually stuck with sugary yogurt (no thanks) and a banana. I go to the store to get things I like and that I know I can eat, and bring it to the breakfast space and eat with my friends/family I’m traveling with.
4. Bring Snacks from Home
Can’t eat out and there’s no store in sight? Bring food from home! This is the best way to guarantee you will eat what you can handle. I am a snack fiend, so I need to have a snack with me almost all the time anyway. I’ll carry a bar (one without chocolate) or some almonds or something small like that in my purse/backpack. Of all tips, this one is key. I find with restaurants making gluten free dishes (usually ends up being a salad) vegetarian friendly, just taking the meat off, I’ll end up feeling hungry a little sooner than others, so the snack I’m already carrying makes a huge difference.
Traveling with food intolerances isn’t that much different than normal life with a food intolerance really. It just takes a little more preparation ahead of time, but it’s not something you’re not already used to 🙂
Any other friends out there who deal with intolerances? How do you prepare for travel?