Ok, I know we can’t really ‘travel’ to tropical places right now …. but my family was dreaming about where we would like to travel when restrictions lift. It is fun to dream!
Then we started dreaming about where we will travel, in our beautiful country, this summer. We decided to make Plan A, Plan B and maybe Plan C!!!! We are fairly confident that we will be able to do one of our plans! There are a lot of places we can explore in our own backyard and the destination is not as important as creating memories together!
As I started thinking about traveling, it made me think about how stressful traveling was when I was first diagnosed with celiac. Do you know what is amazing? I don’t find it stressful any longer. So, for any of you that would like to dream about traveling, with my family! Yet, you feel like the thought of traveling safely with a celiac seems impossible or very stressful … let me tell you a couple of things I do that make it stress-free.
I hope it helps you as you have time to think. With all the different restrictions in life right now, you have time to think, plan and get organized to travel! After all, I think dreaming of traveling is half the fun!
First of all, I spend a LOT of time on my computer researching. I contact the celiac association in the country/city we are going to and ask about restaurants and hotels with breakfast that they would recommend. THIS is a fabulous resource and worth sending an email. Then, I open my ‘Find Me Gluten Free’ APP and look for places. I read the reviews not just the ratings. I also open up ‘TripAdvisor’ and search for the area we are going to be in and add ‘celiac’ and ‘gluten free’ to the search. Again, I read lots of reviews and recommendations. I also try to find a social media support page and ask some questions about places to eat. On a sheet of paper I write my top safe restaurants (with address and phone number) and places to find groceries. I keep this sheet of paper in my purse and I have it whenever I may need it throughout the holidays. It helps make the vacation fun, as we aren’t wasting time trying to find safe places on the vacation … we have a list and we can quickly make a choice while we are having fun.
Would you like to know a couple of things that I throw in to my suitcase to decrease stress of being cross contaminated, as you don’t know what the kitchen will be like when you are staying in a hotel, air b&b or even traveling to a family or friends house!
- Cutting Board. I have a very thin and lightweight cutting board that I save for travelling. It takes no extra weight in your suitcase. The nice thing is that you can put it over a questionably safe surface and your food stays safe!
- Toaster Bags. These toaster bags are awesome. You can use any toaster safely. My teenage celiac son has even made grilled cheese in his when he went to his Pop’s house.
- Colander. Everyone uses colanders for pasta when they are in a hotel/air b&b. That scares me! So, I found this collapsable colander that is very easy to travel with. I also use it in our trailer, when camping.
Here a a couple of other things you could pack ….
- Parchment Paper. I throw in a parchment paper roll, as this can cover any baking surface and make your food safe.
- Gluten Free Essentials. I put in a few boxes of gluten free crackers, a loaf of bread, granola bars and a jar of peanut butter. Depending where we are going and the trip, I may also bring a pancake mix and a box of cookies. This saves me time finding stuff at our destination. When we get to our destination, we can always find produce and such. If we don’t need these items, we can bring them back home. The reason I may throw in a box of cookies, is that I have a non-celiac child as well. If my non-celiac can get treats and my celiac can not find anything that is safe to eat … it makes the celiac child feel like they have ‘something’.
When you are going to be travelling, make sure to plan LOTS! Be prepared with lists. Pack granola bars and extra food (so you don’t starve IF something goes wrong!). Inevitably, WHEN something goes wrong you can always eat that granola bar that you brought along. Yet, there will be times that you forget the extra food in your hotel room and you have nothing to eat but a glass of water and a pickle …. choose to smile and enjoy those people around your table! The next meal WILL be better!
Attitude is everything. If you have a celiac child, remember they are watching you. Choose to smile, to love and to have hope! It’s not positive thinking at all, I truly believe there is always hope. I tell my son, ‘we can eat all of the 1000’s of things God made, so let’s enjoy those! It’s only 4 that we can’t!.’ AND He says, ‘Ok Mom! But remember that those 4 things are in a whole lot of things!’ … and we laugh! It is true. There are times it is frustrating and hard. When you are traveling, remember that you can always eat whole foods and that will keep you safe as well.
My boy actually has a great attitude. We’ve laughed lots, over the years, When we were traveling, we truly only ate pickles for lunch. We have decided that it’s these funny experiences that add a bit of fun to life …. at least we have stories, memories and something to laugh about!
Hope you have fun dreaming about traveling and getting prepared with some cutting boards, toaster bags and some great lists of where you want to explore!