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5 Top Tips For Gluten and Dairy-Free Travel


Ok, now that we have got that out of the way, let's show you how it is possible!

If you follow me on Instagram, then you'll know that I recently took on the adventure of interrailing across Europe, spanning 14 cities and 10 countries in about a month. It sure was a whirlwind experience, but it was undoubtedly one of the biggest highlights of my life so far!

As a very spontaneous person, I decided just a week before departure to take on this adventure! For someone who loves planning, this didn't leave much time for preparation, but with a few evenings spent creating spreadsheets detailing eateries along the way, and a list of must-see attractions, I dove in headfirst.

I have to say that one of my greatest concerns was the food. As someone who follows a gluten and dairy-free diet, speaks primarily English, and was travelling solo, I would be lying if I said I wasn't a little anxious. However, looking back now, I now know that I had absolutely nothing to worry about, anything is possible and there is always a way around it! So, drawing from my experience, I'm going to share my top 5 tips with you to ensure that you don't encounter a single glutening or dairy mishap!

So without further ado, here are my 5 top tips:

Plan Ahead: Research is Key!

Utilise every tool at your disposal to research the areas you will be visiting and all of the restaurants nearby which can cater for allergies - Google, social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok, guides from gluten-free bloggers, and apps such as Find Me Gluten Free are all very useful! As I was doing my research before departure, I tagged each eatery on a map of my own which made for easy reference along my travels. There is a great toggle for this on Google Maps!

Pack Snacks!!

Always have those emergency snack bags on hand, for those times when you are really in need and there is nothing nearby. Additionally, take a stroll to the local supermarkets when you get there as they tend to have impressive free-from sections! (This is defo one of my guilty pleasures!!)

Learn The Lingo

Familiarise yourself with essential words and phrases in the language of the country you are visiting. Phrases and words that I found to be useful included, Gluten, Wheat, Oats, Barley, Rye, Milk, Dairy, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, I Am Gluten Free and Dairy Free. Language cards (I love GFTogether's cards which can be founds here!) and photographic converters can be invaluable aids especially when going out to eat at restaurants, or when deciphering ingredient lists in supermarkets.

Opt For Simple Whole Foods

Stick to naturally gluten and dairy-free options whenever possible to simplify dining choices and reduce the risk of accidental exposure,

Research Your Accommodation

Whether you are staying in hostels or hotels, ensure that they can accommodate your dietary needs. Hostels with self-catering facilities are ideal as you can then prepare and cook your own meals. (Just be careful when using shared appliances and equipment to ensure that cross-contamination is avoided.) I found that buying stuff that was easy to prepare and could be cooked in its own packaging like microwaveable rice was perfect! If you are staying in hotels, then just advise them of your allergies beforehand so that they can cater to your requirements.

While some days may call for quick supermarket grabs such as rice cakes and ham, more often than not, you'll be able to find some incredible dining options wherever you go. Remember, with a little planning, gluten and dairy-free travel is not only achievable but also immensely rewarding. If I was able to plan my whole trip in just one week, then anyone can! So, use this guide, prepare diligently, and get ready for an amazing trip! Oh, and don't forget travel insurance - it's a small investment that can provide invaluable peace of mind!

Bon voyage!!

Pickles x

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