How To Prevent Cross Contamination When Travelling

Flying over Luxembourg

Any time I’m glutened it’s down to cross contamination. Unfortunately gluten hides everywhere and as celiacs we have to be ever vigilant  in order to stay safe and healthy. Cross contamination when travelling is more likely than when you’re at home. Without your normal routine and without a gluten free kitchen, of course it’s going to be more challenging but by taking just a few simple precautions and by staying flexible, travelling too can be a cross contamination free.

Here are some of the things I do to avoid cross contamination when travelling. Please share your tips and ideas too. Since the topic of cross contamination is such a large and important one I decided to divide it into three sections. You can read my tips here (and please add anything I’ve missed!) on preventing cross contamination when cooking at home and when eating out.

How to prevent cross contamination when travelling

  • Take lots of gluten free food with you. Foods such as dried fruit, nuts, seeds, crackers, breakfast cereals, gluten free bars and peanut butter are long lasting and easy to carry.
  • Research before you go. If you know what restaurants and grocery stores await you at your destination you’ll be in abetter position to know what and how much to take with you to stay safe.
  • Take your own cutting board, utensils and bowl for preparing food in a non gluten free space.
  • Don’t share sponges with gluten eating folks. You don’t want to take the time to prepare safe, gluten free food just to be contaminated by using a sponge which was just used to clean a pasta pot or a sandwich plate.
  • Pack hand sanitizer, but make sure it’s gluten free!
  • Take your own toothpaste/mouthwash or any other skin/hair/body care products which you know to be safe. You don’t want to use the toothpaste at a hotel or at a friend’s house and find out that it contains hidden gluten!
  • Stick to products you know are safe. One of the most exciting things about travelling is the chance to try new things but this can be hard when you’re celiac. If you’re travelling domestically look for brands you trust. If you’re headed somewhere international do your research before you go.
  • Eat naturally gluten free. If you find yourself in a situation where you’re starving and you don’t know what is safe for you to eat, choose a naturally gluten free option.
  • Stay somewhere where you have access to a kitchen. If you can be in charge of your own cooking (at least some of the time) you are less likely to get sick. Hostels, guest houses and self catering apartments are great. I’m also a big fan of AirB&B.
  • Pack Dining Cards to help you to explain your dietary requirements when eating out, particularly when travelling internationally.
  • If you’re eating out, ask the right questions to keep yourself safe
  • If you’re cooking in a shared kitchen, take precautions to stay safe

What do you do to prevent cross contamination when travelling?


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  • Love these tips! If I can, I research the area beforehand to see if there are any gluten free restaurants. I also look for nearby grocery stores where I can find gluten free foods (saves some space in my luggage!).

  • What an awesome set of tips. I’ve been leery to travel but you make it seem very doable.

  • Great tips! I just started being more adventurous and traveling with my GF kiddos … packing snacks is a must for us! It gives me more time to sort out safe places to eat if their tummies are full instead of crying from starvation. 🙂

  • Thanks, ladies!

  • When I travel, I bring a large supply of LaraBars – at least 2 for every day I’ll be away. I divide the supply up between my suitcase, my carry on bag, and those of my husband, just in case my bags go missing. And I travel with a whole pharmacy – pills for every ailment that might happen – vomiting, diarhhea, constipation, cold, allergies, pain, nausea/motion sickness. I always look at the pile of stuff I’m packing and think I”m being ridiculous, and sometimes I don’t end up needing it all, but the peace of mind knowing that I have the supplies if I need them helps me focus on enjoying the trip and not obsessing about food. I rarely eat at restaurants when travelling, and stick to grocery stores as much as possible. But I also have to be fair to my husband – I don’t want to deny him the opportunity to be able to enjoy the local cuisine (though he always says he doesn’t need to – he just wants me to be safe). If we can’t find a safe restaurant, often he’ll get something from a restaurant and I”ll eat from the grocery store. I have come to the conclusion now that I must always ensure I have a fridge in my hotel room – it helps to be able to buy a few days worth of food at once, rather than having to go shopping everyday. Especially when you’re in a place where stores aren’t open everyday or have weird hours.