Since I went gluten-free five years ago, my gluten-free journey has led me all over the world. Planning for a safe, healthy gluten-free trip can be tough enough when I’m visiting the next town over, but it’s a whole new challenge when traveling to new countries. Over time, though, I’ve streamlined the process and planned dozens of trips to cities like London, Paris, Tokyo, and Dubai. Try these five tips for international travel the next time you take a gluten-free trip overseas.
Do Your Research Before You Go
Whether you’re a traveler who likes to have a plan or you just prefer to wing it, it’s best to do at least basic research before you hop on the plane to an international destination. This is especially true if you may not have consistent Wi-Fi service at your destination. Eating gluten-free in another country may require becoming familiar with foreign terms, different labeling laws, and even a new set of gluten-free symbols. Know what to expect before you go so you can avoid the stress of trial and error as you navigate restaurants and markets abroad.
Don’t Leave Home Without Translation Cards
If you’re not fluent in your destination’s language, be sure to take a set of restaurant translation cards with you. These cards explain that you need to eat gluten-free, along with a list of the ingredients that you cannot consume. Some even provide examples of prohibited foods and meals, such as flour, bread, and pasta. When you dine out at a restaurant, give one of these cards to your server so there’s no confusion about your gluten-free needs. You can print out a disposable card or buy a set of reusable cards from a variety of retailers.
Connect With International Gluten-Free Groups
Depending on your destination, there may be a wealth of gluten-free resources. Try searching for national celiac organizations or even local support groups. National celiac organizations often offer lists of recommended restaurants or even detailed lists of certified gluten-free products, making dining out and shopping easier. Similarly, support groups can often recommend local restaurants that serve safe and healthy gluten-free meals.
Take a Gluten-Free Food Tour
Yes, these exist, and they can make eating gluten-free fun in places as far away as Rome or Croatia. Tours may involve anything from a personal walking tour to a group day trip, so you can seek out individual attention or get to know new gluten-free friends while enjoying good food. When you consider a gluten-free tour, though, be sure to do your homework and understand whether the food options are safe for celiacs. An email or Skype conversation with the tour guide can answer your questions, and testimonials from past customers may also put you at ease.
Locate a Reliable Supermarket
Most supermarkets in the U.S. feature a gluten-free section, and you can typically find a similar selection in markets overseas as well. Be sure to know where to look, though. In Italy, you’ll find gluten-free foods in the pharmacy. In France, you’re likely to find them in natural foods stores. In Chile, you’ll find them in the diet section of the supermarket. Though you’ll get to know plenty of international gluten-free brands while you travel, it’s always fun to see a familiar face. I love finding Udi’s Gluten Free products in UK supermarkets, especially when it’s an Udi’s version of a uniquely British product.
International gluten-free travel may require a little extra research, but you’ll find that advance preparation goes a long way. I’d love to hear about your international successes and challenges. Where are some of the best and toughest cities you’ve eaten gluten-free?
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Udi’s Gluten Free. The opinions and text are all mine.