Following a gluten-free diet doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your travel plans. The key to travelling gluten-free is planning.
- Buy an eating out card for the appropriate language. These can be ordered from the office. They are available in fifteen languages and can be given to a waiter or chef to explain the Coeliac condition in their language. The cards provide information on the diet and a suggested menu that can be helpful in trying to communicate what you need.
- Call ahead to find out what gluten-free food will be available on the journey. Reserve a meal if possible. Have a back-up plan in place as well.
- Find out if your accommodation can cater to the gluten-free diet. Ask to talk to the head chef.
- Think about whether finding a room with a kitchen might be a good idea.
- Find out about what food is available in the shops local to where you are staying. There are loads of tips on our Forum
- Find out about restaurants near where you are staying if you plan to eat out.
- If necessary plan to take some essential food with you - breads, crackers and cereal.
Airports and Airlines
- Check with the airline you are flying with if they provide meals on your intended flight, and whether they can provide a gluten-free meal. This is usually only an option on long-haul flights.
- You can usually request a gluten-free meal under the "Manage my booking" section of the airline's website, or you can ask your travel agent to arrange one for you. You should call the airline to confirm the meal request 24 hours before your flight.
- It is still advisable to bring some gluten-free snacks with you in case there's an error. A flight can be very long without food of some sort.
- It might be necessary to get a letter from your doctor to bring GF food through customs, however it is unlikely that you would need one to pack GF food in your luggage.
- Ensure that you bring shop-bought items, rather than homemade as should your baggage be checked, packaged GF goods will be easier to explain than tin-foil wrapped homemade items.
Other sources of information
The society keeps a Coeliac friendly Restaurant List which is available to members. It includes food outlets and accommodation recommended by members. The ads and letters to the editor in Coeliac Ireland newsletter also available to members, are also a good place to look.
If you’re travelling abroad have a look to see if there’s a Coeliac Society in the country you’re visiting that might be able to provide information. Other overseas resources are also available. Search the forum to see if any of the members have made suggestions in the past. If you can't find any matches that are relevant, post a question to the forum yourself!