Following a gluten-free lifestyle can be challenging enough at home, let alone when you’re on the road. But don’t worry—I’ve got a secret for you. The key to staying gluten-free on vacation? It’s all about the habits that we are building.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss how to maintain a gluten-free diet while traveling, complete with some lessons I’ve learned over the years. Whether you’re heading out for a weekend getaway or a month-long adventure, these tips will help you stay on track and enjoy your trip without any accidental gluten.

Eating Gluten-Free on Vacation

Vacation often means trying new foods and experiencing local cuisine. But for those of us with gluten sensitivities, it’s a different story. Here’s how you can enjoy your vacation without accidentally eating gluten.

Plan Ahead

Before you even leave home, do a bit of research on the area you are traveling to. Look for gluten-free friendly restaurants and grocery stores where you are traveling.

  • Find local gems: Apps like Find Me Gluten Free can be a lifesaver. They list gluten-free friendly restaurants in a lot of major cities. Google is also a great place to look; simply typing “gluten-free restaurants in [location]” can give you a good list in the surrounding area.
  • Hotel kitchen: If possible, stay in a place with a kitchen. Preparing your own meals and snacks can not only save you money but also ensure that you are safe from gluten.

Pack Your Essentials

Traveling with some of your favorite gluten-free snacks can be a game-changer. Those of us who are gluten-free often are seen with a second bag filled with our favorites…and there’s no shame in it. Not only are you guaranteeing that you have something to eat, you are also making sure you actually like it.

  • Portable blender: One of my best travel purchases has been a portable blender. Smoothies are one of my go-to’s for a quick snack that is filling. If you have access to a freezer, don’t skip out on this trick.
  • Snack stash: I always pack a variety of gluten-free snacks, including nuts, dried fruit, and whatever comes in my monthly Thrive Market order. It is so helpful when you need something quick and safe.

Dining Out

Eating out doesn’t have to be stressful. In my course, Going Gluten-Free, we have a whole section on eating out while gluten-free. This includes what questions to ask, how to know it’s safe, and what happens if it’s not. Here are some quick tips to navigate restaurant menus:

  • Communicate clearly: Don’t hesitate to inform your server of your dietary needs. Most places are very accommodating if you explain your situation. If they are unsure of what to do, ask for someone who can help you. It’s not rude, it’s a safety issue.
  • Research: Before you head out, look up menus online. Many restaurants now list gluten-free options. If you do not see any, don’t hesitate to call and ask if a dish can be made gluten-free.
  • Simple is best: Stick to whole foods and simple dishes. Grilled meats, salads, and steamed veggies are usually safe bets as long as there isn’t a risk of cross-contamination.

Learning Through Experience With Gluten-Free Travel

The first year we set out to travel gluten-free, I panicked that there wouldn’t be options, so I went grocery shopping the night before and filled an entire box of food with gluten-free options. We were traveling to a small town, and I knew the grocery store wasn’t all that big.

It turns out I did the right thing. The grocery store did not offer many options at all, and the local restaurants did not have gluten-free menus.

This won’t always be your experience, but it quickly taught me to prepare for not having options just in case. Now, when we travel, I try to do as much research as possible but always pack that extra gluten-free bag to go with me.

Traveling gluten-free might seem daunting initially, but with a little preparation and the right mindset, it can be just as fun as gluten-filled travel. Remember, it’s all about maintaining your habits and staying mindful of your needs. Whether exploring a new city, relaxing on a beach, or hiking through the mountains, you can enjoy every vacation moment without compromising your gluten-free lifestyle. Safe travels!

Going Gluten-Free - Course

This post contains product affiliate links. I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links.


Kristin Longacre

Hey There, I’m Kristin, a gluten-free nutrition coach helping gluten-free families adjust to their new lifestyle.

Diet vs. Lifestyle