We love to travel but things can quickly become complicated when you’re on a special diet. The last thing you want is to be stressed while on vacation! Here are some of the ways in which we’ve navigated traveling.
Flying/Driving: The whole flying situation can be stressful alone, so early on we try to make a conscience decision to be patient with each other despite the stress. If driving, be prepared ahead of time with possible places to stop along the way.
- Number one tip: pack plenty of food in both checked luggage and carry-ons. In the event you’re delayed or your flight is canceled, you don’t want to be stuck without food. Some of our favorite foods to pack are fresh fruit, sliced raw vegetables, clean muffins, granola bars, rice cakes, and small packets of nut or seed butters. If you happen to get stuck in an airport, you can almost always find a resource for a piece of fresh fruit that can be combined with packed nut/seed butter for a small meal.
- Do a little research ahead of time with possible places to eat or stop along the way. A simple search of gluten free restaurants within your area may help refine the search for restaurants that may be willing to prepare food separately. When ordering be sure to specify gluten, dairy, soy free and no spices.
- If traveling for several hours on a plane, be sure to check the airlines menu. Many offer gluten free options, however not glutamate free. Look for cleaner options and be prepared to pack your own meals for the flight(s)
- If traveling within the US with a person with special needs, call TSA Cares at 855-787-2227 at least three days prior to your departure. They can help arrange and facilitate a smoother transition through security check points to the gate.
- We much prefer to stay in locations where we have our own kitchen or easy access to a kitchen.
- If a full kitchen is unavailable, make the most of a mini fridge and/or cooler by storing fresh meat, produce and eggs in it. An Instapot can also be beneficial when stuck without a stovetop. It simply plugs into the wall and the Instapot sauté and pressure cook options will allow you the option of having scrambled eggs, sautéed fresh veggies, meat and a variety of fresh meals.
What to Pack:
- Again, number one tip: pack plenty of food in both, checked luggage and carry-on. In the event you’re delayed or your flight is canceled, you don’t want to be stuck without food. Some of our favorite foods to pack are fresh fruit, sliced raw vegetables, clean muffins, granola bars, rice cakes, and small packets of nut or seed butters. If you happen to get stuck in an airport, you can almost always find a resource for a piece of fresh fruit that can be combined with nut/seed butter for a small meal.
- If traveling to a place where you feel extremely uncomfortable with the food, you can easily pack a cooler of food as a checked bag. We have not personally had to do this but if you do, be sure to tape it such and check TSA regulations or arrival city requirements for foods that are allowed to be imported. Most often when arriving in a different country they will not allow for animal or agricultural (fruit & veggies) products to be brought in.
- While not necessary, we prefer to travel with our Vitamix! Sounds crazy but we love having it available for fresh smoothies, soups, milks, baking, “nice cream”, etc. If traveling by air, we pack the Vitamix in our checked bag, making sure to wrap around our clothes or protective wrap. Our Vitamix has made quite a few trips across the country and we try not to leave home without it.
- Instapot if traveling within the country and no kitchen is available.
- Spices!! Clean spices can be expensive and hard to find in new locations. We’ve found it best to bring this simple container and travel with ours. It is small enough to toss in your purse or carry-on for meals on the run. This container can also be used to easily travel with a few herbal blends.
- A letter from your physician or health professional indicating the necessity of your special diet. While this isn’t necessary, it is nice to have if in a bind.
- If leaving the country, be sure to pack a pocket translator or download an app to your phone to help translate ingredient lists and menus.