Gluten-free travel is a challenge but not difficult.

gluten-free travel

Who says you can’t have gluten-free mac n cheese?

Gluten-free travel is a necessary evil for those of us with celiac disease. If we want to leave our house, our city, our state we have to trust we can find gluten-free foods in the big wide world. If you haven’t noticed, I love to travel and try to do as much of it as I can. Before I had celiac disease, I had a dream to eat at every place featured on Food Networks Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. I was able to go to a few before my diagnosis but barely put a dent in the ever-growing list. That dream has changed but I still try to find fun and unique places to go when I travel.

For me, gluten-free travel requires more prep work ahead of time. There is no such thing as winging it when it comes to food. Before any vacation I do a google search, I check the find me gluten free app, and I will go through hashtags on Instagram and Twitter for ideas. I will even tweet out, with hashtags, that I am traveling to fill-in-the-blank city and would love some gf places to go! I usually get a few places that I hadn’t yet found.

I have kept track a few different ways. For Vegas, I made a google doc that I shared with my travel buddy. It was just a list of restaurants and each day we’d consult it and decide what we felt like for the next day. We like to try and plan a day ahead in case we need to make reservations. For Chicago, I bought an Erin Condren travel journal and listed all the places in there. We don’t always stick to the list because we may find different places on searches or that are recommended to us. That way it still feels a little spontaneous.

I love trying new places and new foods. If someone offers a gluten-free dish I can’t normally find, I will dig in!

If you are traveling to a National Park, you can usually find gluten-free foods at the park’s restaurant. I have found gluten-free at Volcanoes (Hawaii) and Bryce Canyon (Utah). Resorts, and often time hotels, will have gluten-free options. We often had a large breakfast at the resorts in Hawaii and then toured until dinner. Resorts and hotels are often accommodating because they want you to be happy and come back!

I always make sure to include that I am gluten-free when making reservations. Most places will then alert the waitstaff. I still tell everyone that I need gluten-free because of celiac disease but if they have the heads up I usually don’t have to ask as many questions. They are prepared and can go over the menu with me right away. I also try to review the menu online. I love when places have a specific gluten-free menu or mark a menu online so I can have an idea. If they don’t have anything marked and say the can accommodate I like to look to see what would *most likely be* gluten-free (sometimes I am wrong – how does gluten sneak into soooo many things! LOL). I also have to scope out the dessert menu. If all they have is creme brulee I usually skip it. Everyone offers creme brulee as a gluten-free dessert and it gets boring. Although, Hawaiian places tend to add fun twists to their creme brulee. I am more likely to try it if the Chef has put a different spin on it!

How do you handle gluten-free travel?

I previously shared a bit about gluten-free flying. Check it out here. Thank god Delta now has gluten-free snack mix and/or Kind bars on all flights!

Categories: Gluten Free


Jenna Volden has a degree in business and has spent the last 10 plus years working for others. She believes it is time to start her own photography and writing business. She enjoys running, coffee and helping others achieve their goals. Gluten-free foods are a lifestyle, not a choice, for her due to celiac disease. She is currently based in Phoenix, Arizona.