By Rachel Begun, MS, RD
With the holidays behind us and long winter months ahead, many of us are looking forward to a winter vacation getaway. These days, hotels, resorts and high tourist areas are taking steps to provide greater gluten-free options than even just a few years ago, making vacations easier to plan and certainly more enjoyable.
Here are just a few of the resources you can rely on when planning your trip:
Disney Parks and Resorts – Disney offers so much more than amusement parks. They have a wide array of beach resorts, cruises, adventure trips and a vacation club. I mention this because Disney, known for its impeccable customer service, has one of the best food allergy/gluten-free foodservice protocols around.
Gluten Free Travel Site – This website shares user-submitted reviews for gluten-free dining and travel. The reviews provide fabulous insight about gluten-free-friendly vacation spots, as well as hospitality providers that take gluten-free foodservice seriously.
Gluten-Free Living Magazine – This magazine offers a wealth of information about the gluten-free lifestyle. My favorite stories include their reviews of gluten-free-friendly travel destinations. These stories always include recommendations for where to stay and eat. The Winter 2012 issue raves about Park City, Utah as an excellent “gluten-free holiday playground,” and the Fall 2012 issue reviewed traveling and eating gluten-free on the Pan-American highway.
Ten Easiest Places to Travel Gluten-Free – Karen Broussard of Gluten Free Travel Site wrote this article for my personal blog, The Gluten Free RD. It is based on the culmination of reviews submitted to the site. This is a wonderful list for those looking to visit metropolitan cities, both foreign and domestic.
Now that you’ve chosen your destination, here are some other tips for planning a fantastic trip:
- Consider booking a hotel room that has a kitchenette and/or refrigerator. This allows you to have control over some of your meals and snacks.
- Ship a package of non-perishable gluten-free foods to your hotel or resort so it is there when you arrive.
- Review and make reservations for all dinners out prior to leaving for your trip. This allows you to free up your vacation days for fun stuff, rather than spending hours of your time researching restaurants and making phone calls. NFCA’s list of GREAT Kitchens is a good place to start.
- Carry a portable cooler so you have gluten-free options while en route to your destination. Winter weather can result in delays. Plus, you’ll have a cooler on hand to carry snacks for day trips.
- Download gluten-free restaurant apps to your smart phone or bring a portable restaurant guide with you.
Bon voyage sans gluten!
Rachel Begun, MS, RD is a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She provides education, communications and consulting services to health organizations and the food industry. She also educates the public via speaking opportunities, online activities and writing for publications, including her own blog, The Gluten Free RD. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest via her website at www.rachelbegun.com.
The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness offers Vitacost.com website visitors weekly recipes and blogs about living the gluten-free lifestyle. For more information about celiac disease and gluten-free living, visit http://www.celiaccentral.org/.