• Take a look at my tagline. The seven green words in my blog header, in quotes, after the three dots. It’s so easy to be gluten free! I’m not exaggerating. I’m not making it up. I’m not telling tales out of school. I wholeheartedly believe that it is easy, so easy, to be gluten free! Some of it is a head game, no doubt. But isn’t that true with everything, that attitude makes a huge difference in how you approach anything in life. And attitude can help you approach and deal optimistically with challenges that might otherwise be overwhelming and seemingly impossible to overcome. And so it is with following a gluten free lifestyle. First, I believe that you have to decide you’re going to do it with panache and a determination to make it work. Then, once you make up your mind to do so, it’s just a question of finding resources and a support system to help you create strategies for success. They say it takes 21 days (I read that somewhere a long time ago) to establish a new habit. So, if going gluten free is new for you, give yourself the better part of a month. I’ll bet you my bottom dollar you’ll be a pro at it before too long. Diane Eblin is a blogging buddy of mine and good friend. She is hosting an event over at her blog (The W.H.O.L.E. Gang) during the month of May called 30 Days to Easy Gluten-Free Living. A bunch of us gf bloggers decided that we’d heard the questions and comments one too many times: How do you do it? It must be SO hard!. Well, you know what? It’s not hard. In fact, it’s easy, as I mentioned above. And to the GI doc who told me, when I was first exploring the possibility of my having Celiac Disease, that I didn’t want to be diagnosed with it. Phooey. I’m so much happier. No more bloating, no more stomachaches, and my hair has grown back. Um, I’ll take it, thank you very much! And to Diane, for giving us bloggers an opportunity to help you learn how easy it is to adopt a gluten free lifestyle and diet, I say thank you! For this series, my focus is on something I’ve learned to do very well concerning travel gluten free. I hope that my gluten free travel tips will help you as you head out the door for the open road, whether you’re going on a short, local trip or a vacation away from home. You know what the Boy Scouts say? Be prepared. That’s become my motto. Whether leaving the house for a few hours, a few days, or a longer period of time, I plan my snacks and meals with great attention. No sense being hungry and having no options. Here are a few ideas to inspire you and aid in your gluten free travel: 1. Before you read this list, come up with a list of travel snacks and post it in a prominent place in your kitchen. This is a list of go-to snacks that you can rely on when you’re out and about doing errands. You can throw these snacks in your purse or briefcase. Some ideas include Lara Bars, homemade granola bars (make sure the rolled oats are GF), Elana’s Pantry Power Bars with Chocolate Topping, an apple and some almond butter, or a small container of hummus and baby carrots. 2. When you’re invited to eat at someone else’s house, call your hosts in advance to ask what’s on the menu and how the meal will be prepared. Sometimes, a little tweak to their menu will allow you to eat what they’re serving. On the contrary, don’t hesitate to bring your own food if it becomes a necessity. 3. If you will be eating catered meals (family functions, conferences, etc.), prior to leaving home, get in touch with the person in charge of preparing the food. If possible, email a document that explains what you can and cannot eat, in order to give them time to prepare for your meal. 4. Google is your friend. Part of planning your road trip can include searching online for restaurants near your destination. Many restaurants that have GF menus often post them on their website. Call ahead and speak with either the host/hostess or the kitchen manager. You can also use the Gluten Free Registry to find restaurants. 5. If you’re flying to your destination, prior to leaving home, use Google to find out about the supermarkets near your destination. Upon arrival, make a trip to the market to stock up on some foods. For example, GF chips and salsa, GF breakfast cereal and/or granola, milk, juice, corn thins and peanut butter, fruit. I know what you’re thinking: PEANUT BUTTER??!!! I’ll never finish it before we leave to go back home. It’s true, I’ll admit it. There have been numerous times when I left the peanut butter behind in the hotel frig. But at least I had it while I was there. You can also buy individual nut butter packets (Justin’s) that are great for traveling. 6. Think outside the sandwich box. For example, you can buy romaine lettuce and/or kale leaves, hummus (Cedar’s hummus is GF), tomatoes and cucumber. Spread the hummus on the lettuce or kale leaves, add tomatoes and sliced cucumber. Voila! Instant sandwich without the bread! 7. Don’t be afraid to turn your hotel room in a mini-kitchen. Where there’s a will, there’s a way! 8. Go to www.celiactravel.com and print out free Gluten Free Restaurant cards to carry with you and give to restaurant waitstaff. The card will explain what you can and cannot eat. Carry extras just in case they forget to give it back to you! 9. When making your hotel reservation, ask for a mini-fridge and/or microwave. There might be a nominal charge for these two appliances, but having them might allow you to prepare simple meals as needed. 10. Pack a few essentials in your luggage. If you’re flying, make sure to pack these items in your checked luggage unless you want to risk them being confiscated when you go through security. Items include a thin, plastic cutting board, a can opener, a large chef’s knife, a small paring knife, a kitchen towel, a sponge, to name a few. 11. If you have room in your luggage, pack a Magic Bullet blender. Throw in some protein powder. Once you arrive at your destination, you can either use fruit and juice from the hotel complimentary breakfast or purchase these items at a local market, and you can make a great smoothie. Don’t be shy – throw in some greens from your market trip for extra fiber and calcium! With some advance planning, your travel experience can include safe gluten free options! And you’ll be well on your way to realizing that it’s so easy to be gluten free! Don’t forget to check back throughout the month for other great tips for Easy Gluten-Free Living! Here is the schedule: Monday May 2nd  Diane from The W.H.O.L.E. Gang sharing Easy Gluten Free Grocery Shopping Tips Tuesday May 3rd Iris from The Daily Dietribe sharing on How to Start a Gluten Free Diet. Wednesday May 4th  Heather from Gluten-Free Cat sharing Smoothing the GF Transition with Smoothies Thursday May 5th Alta from Tasty Eats At Home sharing Making Your Own Gluten Free Convenience Foods Friday, May 6  Elana’s Pantry is sharing Quick and Easy Gluten-Free Power Bars Saturday May 7th Cheryl from Gluten Free Goodness sharing Easy Meals Sunday May 8th Megan from Food Sensitivity Journal sharing Gluten Free Baking Undone:  Easy Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie Monday May 9th Amy from Simply Sugar and Gluten Free sharing Magic Cookie Power Bars Tuesday May 10th Ricki from Diet, Dessert and Dogs sharing Gluten Free Baking Tips Wednesday May 11th Me! Thursday May 12th Kim from Cook It Allergy Free sharing Friday May 13th Melissa from Gluten Free For Good sharing Gluten-Free Food Rules Saturday May 14th Brittany from Real Sustenance sharing Healthy Allergy-Free Quick Bread with easy flavor variations. Sunday May 15th Nicola from g-free Mom sharing Kids Lunch Boxes Monday May 16th Wendy from Celiacs in the House sharing Fast Food for Teens Tuesday May 17th Shirley from gluten free easily sharing Your Pantry is the Key to Being GFE Wednesday May 18th Nancy from The Sensitive Pantry sharing BBQ and Picnic tips and Recipe Thursday May 19th Heidi from Adventures of a Gluten-Free Mom sharing tips for getting kids to eat healthy, real-food snacks! Friday May 20th Silvana from Silvana’s Kitchen sharing Saturday May 21st Maggie from She Let Them Eat Cake sharing Sunday May 22nd Sea from Book of Yum sharing Gluten Free Vegetarian Burritos Monday May 23rd Tia from Glugle Gluten-Free sharing Tuesday May 24th Alisa from Alisa Cooks andGo Dairy Free sharing Wrap it Up-Thinking Outside the Bun Wednesday May 25th Hallie from Daily Bites sharing Thursday May 26th Carol from Simply Gluten-Free sharing Friday May 27th AndreaAnna from Life as a Plate sharing Tips on Traveling on Day Trips with Kids Saturday May 28th Zoe from Z’s Cup of Tea sharing Sunday May 29th Kelly from The Spunky Coconut sharing Monday May 30th Jess from ATX Gluten-Free sharing 1 Meal 3 Ways, Jazzing up Leftovers Tuesday May 31st Naomi from Straight into Bed, Cakefree and Dried
    • Valerie (m.)

      My travel tip is that I love to stay at "vacation rental by owner" type of places instead of hotels. They cost about the same, but instead of having a single hotel room where you're lucky if you can get a little fridge in the room, you get a whole apartment or condo to stay in, including a fully equipped kitchen. To me it is *so* much more comfortable to stay in one of these places, rather than a hotel. I've found some really interesting places that way. If you google "vacation rental by owner" and the name of the place you are visiting, you can find websites that offer these rentals. Many have reviews of the dwellings from people who have already stayed there. Sometimes I think the owners screen or edit or invent the reviews, so they're not always the most reliable reviews, but often they help to get a general idea of what a place is like.

      Another GF travel tip: I once ran across someone online who said that she had made an art out of cooking in hotel room coffeepots. I read this at about the time when I discovered vacation-rental-by-owner places, so I have not personally ever tried cooking in a hotel coffeepot. But she had figured out how to make this work really well for her. I am intrigued by the idea.

    • http://www.thesensitivepantry.com Nancy @TSP

      Great tips, Ellen. I do many of the same things–especially carrying snacks with me wherever I go. Sometimes I eat a little something before I go to a friend's house for dinner just in case the selections are limited. Love the idea of asking for a mini fridge and microwave in the hotel room and the magic bullet! Never would have thought of that.

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    • http://www.glutenfreecat.com [email protected] Cat

      Wonderful tips, Ellen! I always feel like I prep more food than clothing when I travel. Thankfully it's getting easier and easier with the availability of products. Love the idea of traveling with a magic bullet! I have a Vitamix, so it's way too big for the suitcase, but I could invest in a travel bullet!

      Thank you! It was great to meet you at the Expo. Wish we'd had more time!!!

    • http://www.glutenfreeforgood.com/blog/ glutenfreeforgood


      You're right! The "head game" thing factors into everything we do in life. How you perceive something, what your attitude is, how willing you are to embrace change — all those things factor into how successful you're going to be. And you're right again with your "panache" comment. Good word choice! Especially for a gluten-free diva.

      I always ask for a fridge in my room when I travel and I bring a small (well, not so small) duffel bag full of my favorite foods (granola, a couple cartons of rice milk, almond butter, apples, homemade granola bars, my organic coffee and a can of coconut milk, etc.). It's best to be prepared. I travel with more food than I do clothes. =)

      Great post! This event of Diane's is really turning out to be a good one!

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    • http://celiacsinthehouse.com Wendy

      I love your attitude! You have some excellent advice and great tips for gluten-free traveling. When we were at the Expo last month, Hallie from Daily Bites confessed to bringing her blender and having to wait until a decent hour in the morning to fire it up and not wake the guests in nearby rooms. That is so funny and so typical of traveling gluten free, but that smart girl saved the $15 for the gluten-free breakfast buffet each morning!

    • tastyeatsathome

      Ellen, this is a very good post. I don't travel often, so I do have to admit that it takes some re-reading of posts like this from the "experts" like you to remind me of all of the options available. I tend to get stuck on Lara Bars and nuts and can't think of much else. :)

    • http://madamegluten-freevegetarian.blogspot.com/ Tina @ mgfv

      Hi Ellen,

      What a helpful post!. I'd never thought of bringing a Magic Bullet along . . . that's a great idea. Some peanut butter companies sell individual packets of their nut butters, (Justin's and Peanut Butter Co.) so you wouldn't have to waste any. I'm planning on bringing some with me on vacation this year. A gluten-free vegetarian/vegan can always use a reliable protein source! :) Tina.

    • Barb

      Triumph Free Dining has disposable restaurant cards that come in a pad of 50. I always offer to let the kitchen keep them for future reference. Mostly they are happy to have them. The Gluten Free Travel Site also lists reviews of restaurants. They are also starting to add a feature listing churches that have gluten free communion wafers and one for college dining rooms. The hardest part is taking that first vacation. After that, it gets easier every time you do it. I no longer carry a whole grocery store with me!

    • Ricki

      Great tips, Ellen! I think you've described all of my recent travels. 😉 I've also left almost-full jars of stuff behind, but considering that PB is so much less expensive than a dinner out, it's worth the cost.

    • http://www.alisacooks.com Alisa Fleming

      Awesome tips Ellen! We are pricing around a Magic Bullet (or similar) now. I definitely want one for home and travel!

    • http://www.simplygluten-free.com Carol, SGF

      Such a great post! Thanks for sharing this info.

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    • http://glutenfreeeasily.com Shirley @ gfe

      Ellen, you've compiled some great tips here! I see this as a buffet of travel ideas that folks can choose from. 😉 I do some of these, but not all as I like to keep things as simple as possible. But for folks with multiple food intolerances, I could see all of these tips as being essential. I almost always do the one about calling ahead regarding special functions (unless I am not bothered about eating at the event, which is rare LOL). I know that people are shy to do that, but if done properly, it can be totally fine and makes a world of difference. I usually don't call or email days in advance though or if do I follow up a few hours before the event. I find that things get forgotten, personnel can change, etc., but a few hours ahead of the event, the staff is actually gathering the ingredients and preparing the food that will be served. I never put the full burden on them as to figuring out what I can eat. I ask what they are serving and then we talk through how we can ensure that I can have a safe version or if that fails, we come up with a Plan B. Loving our series that Diane created! Thanks so much for your travel tips, Ellen! xo,

    • Kay Guest

      The only thing that I would add to this post is to remind your readers that not only do the gluten free bloggers have great recipes but they all are such a wonderful souce of information and encourgement presented in a very lively and many times, humorous way! Thanks for such a great post with all the links to the other terrific bloggers!

    • http://cookitallergyfree.com/blog Kim-Cook It AF

      Ellen, all of these ideas are so perfect! I do most of them already and it really takes the stress out of traveling gluten-free. And I so whole-heartedly agree with your tagline! It IS so easy to be gluten-free….Really!
      Huge hugs!

    • http://www.glutenfreetravelsite.com Karen Broussard

      Hi Ellen, Glad to be introduced to your Blog. A fellow Northern Virginian — Diane at the W.H.O.L.E. Gang — introduced me…

      Having been thinking, eating, cooking, dining out, and traveling gluten-free for 6+ years now (after our very young son was diagnosed with Celiac Disease), I agree with all your great advice above! Gluten Free Travel is, indeed, manageable…although in some locations more than others. Some locations just require bringing more of your own gluten-free non-perishables in your suitcase (as we did recently on a family trip to France). Access to a kitchen (like in a suite, condo, or time-share) is also very helpful, if available, to reduce your dependence on dining out. I wanted to add a few other suggestions/recommendations. I like Triumph Dining restaurant cards, available online for a small fee. They are available for multiple global cuisines (Mexican, French, Japanese, Thai, etc) and are bilingual, which eliminates the language barrier, even when traveling in foreign countries. When traveling someplace where we'll have access to a kitchen, I also have shipped some read-to-prepare gluten-free meals ahead of time, from a service called GF Meals by "Your Dinner Secret." This simplifies grocery shopping and menu planning, as the meal is already assembled…just pop in the oven and cook. Finally, I wanted to mention a website I launched over three years ago for the purpose of helping people find "gluten-free friendly" places where they live or wherever they're traveling…GlutenFreeTravelSite ( http://www.glutenfreetravelsite.com ). Our site contains a large database of user-submitted gluten-free travel and dining REVIEWS, searchable by location. You can search by state or country — or even narrow your search to the city/town or zip code level and MAP the results ( http://www.glutenfreetravelsite.com/search.php ). These reviews go beyond other "listings" of GF-friendly places to give you detailed first-hand feedback. The site is free to use, and we also recently launched a free mobile version, which automatically loads when you pull up our site on any smart phone…perfect for when you're "on the go" without access to a computer. I hope you find the site helpful and consider sharing it with your followers. I'd love to get your feedback. I'm glad Diane put us in touch!

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    • Bean

      Thanks for the tips! I generally spend way too much time stressing out about food when I'm travelling, so these definitely help! I am a fan of bringing my own food and frequenting grocery stores while on vacation. Out of all the travelling I've done, the only place where I had more issues with my gluten allergy was when I was in Germany last year as many people aren't really aware of celiac/gluten & other intolerances. We were also in Sweden during that trip and it was fantastic as pretty much everyone knows about it, they have sections in their grocery stores devoted to GF stuff and they even have quite a few gluten free options on menus and in bakeries!

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    • http://glugleglutenfree.com Tia @ Glugle GF

      These are great ideas. I could have used this post back when I was working for the Man and flying every other week. But I did do a few of them anyway. It is hard to travel GF, so these suggestions will help a lot of people.

      xo – Tia

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    • LogicalMama

      New to gluten free. I am wondering how I will deal with not just the avoidance of gluten, but I have severe allergies to tree nuts as well as sesame and poppy! Any suggestions? I am guessing that I should just try to avoid many of the "replacement" products and just go with whole foods, still, will I lack any nutritional needs as I see many gluten free dishes rely on nuts like almonds and there is quite a bit of sesame used as well. For instance, I can't eat hummus.

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    • gfhomemaker

      Ellen, I never thought of packing the Magic Bullet. What a great idea! My gf son is on a 5 day trip and it is the first time he has traveled gf without me being along. I can't help but worry about him, but I'm sure he's getting along fine. I packed plenty for him to get by on. Thanks for your tips.

    • Diane Eblin

      This will have me traveling everywhere!

    • http://www.onelovemeg.com Meg

      This is great. I love you and your blog!! I am gluten free and vegan and I still think it's easy and yes the key to this is thinking outside of the box. But I must say your blog helps me do that. I will be traveling around the world next year and I am very nervous with my current eating lifestyle and being in foreign countries. It will be tough but worth sharing on my blog for all. Thanks again for always providing such great recipes and thoughts.

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    • http://bbc-cnn-worldnews.blogspot.com/ daily news

      Your site really has some cool things to read. I Like it very much.

    • http://www.exoticindiajourney.com/lp/manali-volvo-package.html Dharmendra Kr Rai

      Your post is really a great source of new and useful information.I learned a lot from reading it.

    • http://www.glutenfreesupper.com Lisa @ glutenfreesupper.com

      Just posted some new gluten free travel ideas, you can never have too many!

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    • http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/celiac-disease/features/gluten-intolerance-against-grain www.webmd.com

      In this case you want to first eliminate all gluten products from your home,
      along with any products that may have been contaminated such as a peanut butter jar that has been eaten out of with a knife that you had also used to cut a gluten product, such as a bagel or a cake.

      ll save money by buying in bulk, and the meat will contain no antibiotics or hormones.
      Fibromyalgia, also called FM, or FMS, is a chronic disease characterized by muscle,
      joint, or bone pain, combined with fatigue and other symptoms.

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