Traveling with Special Diets

Special Diets

Traveling is an adventure in and of itself. Trying to find the right food to eat when you’re on a special diet only adds to the fun. Not! About a year and a half ago I decided on a gluten free way of life, and had to figure out how to eat around the world while sticking as close to that way of life as possible. I’m also not a big meat eater. My assumption was that foreign travel would be the trickiest. But my experience has been a little different. I’ve found it much harder to find what I need in remote areas, regardless of what country I’m in. Believe it or not,  my biggest challenge to date was when I was hiking in Texas and New Mexico and didn’t have much of a choice of places to dine in. And that was after gluten-freeing my way through places like Jordan, the Azores, Portugal, Hong Kong, and Italy. Here’s what I’ve found from my own experiences.

Airplane food isn’t too fantastic in coach no matter what you can or can’t eat. Ask for a special meal and you’re taking an even bigger chance of starving on a fourteen hour flight. I’ve asked for gluten free, vegetarian, both. I’ll say cautiously that requesting both was my best result. But what usually saves me is bringing my own food. Nuts, crackers, granola-type bars. Bring things that you know will fill you up, if only temporarily until you have more choices.

Get a room with a microwave and refrigerator. Better yet, a small kitchen. Buy and make your own food. I bring a cooler bag with me most times, and stock up when I arrive and/or before I head out into the great wide open.

Hope for the best! In general, the world is becoming a friendlier place for people with dietary restrictions. In order to stay ahead of the competition a lot of restaurants will offer options for people who can’t or don’t want to eat what everyone else is eating. Always ask before even taking a table.

My best advice is to know your diet well, and what you can and can’t eat. Worst case scenario is that you can eat around things that don’t fit the bill.

I’m off to Romania and Bulgaria tomorrow. Wonder what food adventures they’ll bring?

Author: barblee

Barb Lee is a native of Western Massachusetts who loves to write, travel and hike the world, and hang out with her beautiful Jersey Wooly bunny Muffin. Her whole life changed when she was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer in October of 2019. By January of 2020, she was bouncing back in a major way. Now, in addition to all her favorite activities, she wants to help others make the most of life following a devastating diagnosis, while she continues to beat the odds.

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