I've always been the type to panic over traveling, even before my Celiac Diagnosis. I also tend to be the 100% need to plan kind of person. I could probably be compared to Sheldon from Big Bang Theory with drawing up itineraries, planning places to eat, rest stops for road trips, and Road Side America stops along the way with random area facts. You can imagine how much crazier my planning got when we had to add in gluten free destinations. The 7 day Los Angeles vacation I planned out, you'd have thought we were moving there, which I realized was a bit overboard, but while we were in the car, and the question of "Are you hungry?" came up, I pointed to the 10 page itinerary and told my friend to pick out a place. So It had it's merits of simplifying finding a place to eat on a whim. I also include where to find the closest Whole Foods store and check out how much buzz there is about the local grocery store and if they have a GF section.
It was about 2 days after this trip I heard about a brand new App being released, Find Me Gluten Free. Find Me Gluten Free (FMGF) has become my emergency contingency plan while traveling. Like any site that takes user submissions and ranking, it's great for the reviews, but Always double check a place that's on there. They are user submissions. Our San Fransisco trip it gave us some bad info, and we spent close to an hour trying to find a place to eat that knew what I was talking about when I said "Gluten Free"
Packing: For me packing starts about 2 weeks before the trip, while my boyfriend will start packing about 3:00 am the day we are leaving. 3:00 am the day we are leaving I'm running worst case scenarios thru my head. Aside from what shoes and purse to take, and how many outfits I need, I have to start planning the travel snacks. I always pack gluten free snacks in my luggage and carry on. I'd much rather be prepared than scrambling when I get to my destination and can't find anything to eat that's safe. Have we ever been stranded, not really, we have been stuck in the airport for a flash storm until midnight, and the restaurants in our concourse closed somewhere around 9:00pm.
- Carry on snacks - Kind Bars, Pretzels, a box of cookies, fruit snacks, and some nuts. I have protein carb, and sweet, that way all bases are covered for cravings.
- All medications that aren't liquid - This seems like common sense but I carry all Tums, Pepto, Milk of Magnesia in pill form with me in case something still happens before we get to our destination.
- Luggage - More of every thing in my carry on, and maybe some crackers or chips in case we stop and I can get a side of guacamole or salsa, I can snack. I also keep San J Tamari packets in an old Q-tip case so they can safely travel. Again a back up if I need to season rice, or a plain steak.
- Dinning out cards - I've got multi lingual dinning cards which explain in several languages that I can't have gluten, and what gluten is found in. These are great for every day dinning, but traveling you never know who or what you'll encounter, so I'm always prepared!
I have started to see more gluten free options at the airport, but with a premium price tag attached to them as well. Go-Picnic meals for $10 each, Kind Bars for $5, which is just insane! Most flights don't have snacks these days, let alone gluten free snacks, so I'd rather be prepared. On our trip back from LA we had a lay over in St. Louis, for 3 hours. I was unaware that the previous summer St. Louis had a tornado strike and went right through one of the airport terminals, leaving it completely devastated. To keep up business as usual they moved all flight operations to a back up terminal, which reminded me of a scene out of a bad horror movie. It was so desolate, and empty, and food options were just as sparse. I was glad I had snack options with me. I had NOT expected that at all, so my reminder of always be prepared played out right there for me.
Off to make sure everything is packed and ready to go!! Florida, Here we come!!!!