The challenges of travelling gluten free….

As part of my New Years resolution of “start living” is to go on a few holidays.  Now for a coeliac or gluten intolerant person this can also be quite a challenge especially when travelling abroad. 

Who needs the stress on holiday of not knowing if there is going to be anywhere ‘safe’ to eat.  Holidays for me are about spending time with the family, getting away from the day to day routine, relaxing and eating good food. 

January is normally the time of year when we look at planning holidays so I thought I would dedicate this post to how I personally deal with this challenge so that I can have an enjoyable time. 

My top tips are:

  • Before booking your trip (especially if you are doing a package holiday) check with the travel company about whether the hotel your staying in can cater for you. I had a terrible experience when I booked a holiday last year (although we never went due to being diagnosed!) where the travel agent was trying to sell me an all inclusive holiday. I explained that I was coeliac and the agent said that she couldn’t email the hotel to guarantee they could cater for me due to the number of people they cater for. I mean why would I pay for all inclusive when I can’t eat anything!!! Of course I didn’t book all inclusive and to be honest personally I never would – unless it was gluten free resort – well I would book that tomorrow!! 
  • Research your country – I’m going to Rome for a weekend break and I was really surprised to find out that Italy is a great place for coeliac’s. I love pizza and pasta so this made me very happy!  I managed to also find a book that provides detailed information about where to find gluten free food in Italy and how to ask for it – brilliant! (See pic below)  
  • Don’t forget travel insurance! I notified my travel insurance company when I got diagnosed with Coeliac disease and they were fine to cover me.  
  • If you are a coeliac and a member of coeliac UK, make sure you take your card with you. I also carry a letter in my travel documents from my consultant which confirms I’m a Coeliac. 
  • Pack gluten free essentials in your case, pasta, crackers and cereal are normally my staple items. You may need to check with your airline in advance and the country you are visiting (especially if it’s outside the EU). Make sure the food is sealed! 
  • Book your gluten free meal on the plane! I would really recommend this especially if you are travelling more than a couple of hours. Many airlines are really good at catering for gluten intolerance, I’ve booked my meal for Rome!! 
  • Coeliac UK have loads of travel sheets by county. These are great as they tell you what gluten free is in the country you are visiting language (so sin gluten is gluten free in Spanish). There’s also key phrases that you can show restaurant staff/chefs explaining you are gluten intolerant.
  • Book restaurants in advance (if you can). Last January I went to Dublin for the weekend, I researched restaurants and I was on a mission to find a gluten free fish and chip shop. I found one!  Beshoff – the fish and chips were fab! I also booked a table at a restaurant which was amazing and they were so knowledgable (which gave me great comfort). It was a perfect weekend and as I had booked restaurants and knew places I could eat it made it just perfect! 

 Pic below – gluten free burger at The Farm restaurant in Dublin – yummy right?  
 Pic below – Beshoff gluten free fish and chips, Dublin – yum 😋  

  So food sorted – now all that needs to happen is to book that holiday!

Deborah X 


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