No need to stress and worry about where to stay for your vacation when living gluten-free. There are so many options.
Whether you choose to stay in a hotel, a rental property, with family or friends, you’ll still have pre-planning, pre-cooking and pre-packing of essential items to withhold the safety of your gluten-free life.
Check out these tips on surviving gluten-free while staying at different
options at your vacation destination:
Staying in a Hotel
At times this may be your only option, do your research and you can make it work.
*Request to have a small fridge in your room to be able to keep food in the room accessible for meals / snacks
*Call ahead and ask what food options the hotel offers: Do they have a restaurant? Do they serve breakfast? What are safe options for you to enjoy?
*Research restaurants around the hotel and ask about safe options
*Research coffee bars or specialty shops near the hotel that can accommodate your gluten-free needs
*Alternately, find a Bed & Breakfast that caters to gluten-free and will accommodate you in a safe manner
Staying at a Rental property
Renting a house when on vacation can work out fabulously.
The kitchen is usually stocked with items to use, yet, beware of cross-contamination. Run items in the dishwasher prior to using to be on the safe side. Also, think about kitchen essentials you use every day that may carry cross-contamination risks – cutting board, whisk, spatula, colander. These are typical items to bring from home. We pack those along for our beach weeks along with a medium pot, a bowl for mixing, a frying pan to cook eggs, pancakes or a stir-fry and possibly a blender for smoothies.
It may feel like everything but the kitchen sink, but it’s well worth it in the end to keep us safe from cross-contamination and keep our health in-check while away.
Remember NOT to use their toaster! This causes a true risk of cross-contamination.
Prior to the trip, I create an easy meal plan for the week. Then I prepare and freeze many of the meals, premix pancake batter and trail mix, bake muffins, cookies, energy bites, some of which I also freeze. We tend to pack more snacks as we all like to pick on things at the beach, and have our snacks with us as we stroll around town or on the boardwalk.
Pre-plan and this options works out quite well.
Preparing a lot ahead of time allows you to relax on your vacation. Then, the cooking is minimal each evening with a quick grill or sauté, with already prepared sides of broccoli slaw, sweet potato salad or fruit. All good, all healthy, all delicious, and most importantly, gluten-free safe.
If traveling from a distance, you can pick up food needs at your destination to make meals at the house, or find safe places to eat at gluten-free restaurants in the area.
Research the restaurants, shops and specialty stores at your destination. You may be surprised at what’s available. And, don’t forget the local Farmer’s Markets, we find lots of gems there while on vacation.
Prepare ahead of time and you will be set for your stay.
Staying with Family or Friends
Unfortunately, our family is spread out across the states. When visiting, we typically take a lot of food with us. Over the years more has developed around my parents, having more gluten-free options.
It seems each year we head home, we can find a new gluten-free bakery or restaurant to try, as well as the local stores carrying more items that are safe options. It’s interesting to find new food items in different locations as companies sell different products in different parts of the country.
As we visit often, and stay awhile, my family keeps certain items for us at their home. We store a toaster, a small coffee pot and certain small kitchen gadgets, designated as our own gluten-free safe items. This allows us to worry less about bringing so much to their house on each trip. They just store it away until we visit again, which is quite helpful.
Staying with family or at a friend’s home, away from your gluten-free kitchen, opens doors for cross-contamination. Be careful to cover yourself by washing kitchen items you’re using and cleaning counter tops often. Also, think about where you are placing the items in the fridge and pantry – watching that other foods do not spill into yours, especially crumbs.
Again, we prepare a lot ahead and bring along important items that we definitely want with us. After arriving we shop the grocery stores to pick up what we need. Target is a great help as they carry a lot of gluten-free items, and are located in many areas. Of course, we hit the Farmer’s Markets as much as we can. Throwing together quick salads, wraps or a stir-fry is easy to do with lots of fresh ingredients.
Prepare what you can, then buy what you need when you get there.
Research the area to find grocery stores, a Target, specialty stores, bakeries, restaurants and the Farmer’s Markets – all that can serve you well to live safely gluten-free while on vacation.