Planning a city break or a long weekend somewhere new? Gluten free travelling to a location you haven’t yet explored can be stressful if you’re aren’t ready for it. Where will I eat? What will I eat? What if I get sick? What if I don’t speak the language?
I’ve been on many gluten free city breaks and long weekends throughout Europe, the States and South America. I always have a great time and I’m always pleasantly surprised at the gluten free goodies I find. You will be too, but just incase you don’t believe me, have a read at my Gluten Free Tips For A Successful Gluten Free City Break!
Do Your Research.
Start your gluten free research before you go. What information is out there on the city you’re headed to? There is a lot of information to be found and utilised on the web and it’s likely that someone else will have been there before you. If you’re really lucky someone may even have a whole gluten free blog dedicated to the city you plan to visit.
What’s for Breakfast?
Once you book your accommodation whether that be a hotel, hostel or B&B, find out what they offer in terms of breakfast. Finding safe food when you’re out exploring can be difficult enough so you probably want your first meal of the day to be simple. If wherever you’re staying provides gluten free breakfast, fantastic and lucky you! If not, come prepared with a box of your favourite gluten free cereal, gluten free muffins or bread or a couple of fruit and nut bars. More often than not you will be able to use something from the breakfast they offer such as milk for your cereal, egg for your toast or jam for your muffin. The trick is to stay flexible and bring anything you can’t do without.
Yo Soy Celiaca.
Take gluten free dining cards with you if you’re headed somewhere that you don’t speak the lingo. It can be challenging enough explaining to people what it means to be celiac and how many things can contain hidden gluten without having to do it in a foreign language. These will help you to communicate your serious dietary requirements to the wait staff or chef in the restaurants everywhere. You can find gluten free travel cards at Celiac Travel and Triumph Dining.
Search for local restaurants in the area where you’ll be staying. You might be lucky and come across somewhere which mentions gluten free options or even a gluten free menu on their website. If you can’t find anywhere that advertises their gluten free labelling then why not give one or two a call that look interesting to you. Ask to speak to a manager or chef and that way you will get an idea of what kind of place you are headed. I normally get a vibe straight away about whether or not a place is knowledgeable about celiac disease and gluten free dining. If the chef clearly understands what you’re asking for and tells you that he can make a number of his dishes gluten free then great! If you’re told to repeat yourselves a number of times before they tell you that yes, all their food is delicious, then you may want to try somewhere else.
Think Naturally Gluten Free.
If you arrive at your destination without a plan for where to eat, start by looking for a restaurant that does naturally gluten free dishes such as fish, steak, rice and vegetable dishes. Once there you can always check with the chef what else is in the dish you are interested in but the odds are you will have a better chance of finding something safe at a fish restaurant rather than a pizza place. If something takes your fancy it will be obvious after a question or two whether the restaurant knows anything about contamination and preparing gluten free meals.
Restaurants which focus on other special dietary requirements such as vegan or vegetarian restaurants may also be good places to try. Restaurants which already focus on special diets tend to know exactly what’s in the food they are serving and may more likely to cater for other dietary requirements too.
Sometimes One Will Do.
Finding safe places to eat when we are away from home can certainly be stressful and I know how easy it is to become discouraged if you can’t find much. Just remember that you are on a weekend break so you only need to find a couple of restaurants to eat at. It may take some time but you will find somewhere safe. Even if you only find one, as long as it’s tasty, there’s nothing wrong with eating there two nights in a row. Don’t think of it as eating at the same place but rather eating a different meal. I’m sure they have other things on the menu to try and make sure you sit at a different table on your return visit!
Ask People Who Know.
If you do find one good place with gluten free options make sure to take advantage of it by asking staff if they know of anywhere else that does gluten free options. Similarly, if you come across a store or supermarket that sells gluten free food, ask if they know of any good restaurants to try.
Again, as with any other trip you are taking, be sure to take some food with you. I’m almost certain you will be able to find safe and delicious things to eat but it’s always best to have some back-up snacks just in case. That way you will enjoy your weekend break no matter what the gluten free food situation.
You’re Going to Be Fine
Your gluten free long weekend or city break is going to be fantastic. You will find safe things to eat, you will find delicious things to eat and you will find more gluten free goodies than you expect. There are plenty of gluten free options awaiting at your travel destination! Get out there and enjoy yourself.
If the gluten free city break or long weekend you’re considering is in the USA, UK, Ireland, France, Portugal, Malta, Iceland, The Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Australia, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay or South Korea then I may be able to help you out right here.