I’m sure everyone that is coeliac or travelling with dietary requirements packs some sort of food and snacks when they are travelling to avoid the hanger that generally comes hand in hand with dietary requirements during long days and being in new locations. However what are the best things to actually pack? Here’s my guide to what I take with me on different trips…
Aeroplane snack – Schar pretzels
Not something I eat normally very much, but a pack of Schar pretzels are handy when flying. This is especially the case on short haul flights where a drink and snack are served. I personally choose to avoid packets of nuts for this as if someone has a nut allergy you won’t be able to eat them.
Bread Product – Genius Pitta Breads (Vegan)
These are my personal favourite – they have a long shelf life, are flat and not bulky to keep in your bag and don’t crumble. I can eat them untoasted which is pretty essential for a good bread product to travel with and they can be used in a variety of ways. A pot of hummus is enough to make a hearty snack, or they can be made into sandwiches or used in meals where you want something to dip. I definitely recommend these, and to take a few packs depending on the length of your trip and likely availability of gluten free bread at your destination.
Sandwich Fillings – Individual Portions
Sandwich fillings are easy to buy from a local supermarket in the way of meats and cheese and I have often done this. Sometimes things like ham are labelled gluten free, and other times I’ve used the google translate app to help me. Other times I’ve just gone with naturally gluten free options. However, I often find I end up having to buy too much for just me or they don’t keep well in the heat so for Cape Town I have bought the following:
- Mani life peanut butter sachets (Waitrose/Vegan)
- Mini Nutella jars (Ordered off Amazon)
- Cherry preserve (Morrison’s – it’s so good!)
- Mini jars of jam (Home Bargains)
- Tuna sachets (Home Bargains)
- Tube of primula (Home Bargains – I didn’t know it didn’t need refrigerating until after opening!)
- Almond Butter (Holland and Barrett/Vegan) and I still have some Justin’s sachets from when I last visited the US.
Basically I’ve been purchasing individual portions of everything I’ve seen whilst out and about shopping that doesn’t need refrigerating and has a long shelf life! These will all turn some gluten free bread or crackers easily into a snack or something more substantial for lunch hopefully! I also pack Nairns crackers and oat cakes to mix up the pitta bread, and can be used with cheese to make up a dessert or snack.
Cereal – Nature’s Path Granola
I’ve just arrived home to a box of gifted Nature’s Path cereal which is perfect as I will definitely be taking the granola to Cape Town with me; it’s a product I always travel with. It can be used to top yoghurts from supermarkets or taken with me to the breakfast buffet. I absolutely love it and the bags can be squeezed easily in the suitcase without the product turning to dust or being really bulky!
Hot Breakfast – Moma Almond Butter Porridge Sachets (Vegan)
I love porridge sachets and I use these so often when I’m travelling around the U.K. for work. They are great for any travels as you tend to always get a mug and kettle in your room, and they are more substantial than a lot of options. In San Pedro de Atacama – Atacama desert – in Chile, there were a lack of gluten free options available and I was so grateful for these sachets as some of the only carbs I could eat there.
Sweet Product for Breakfast Buffet – Mrs Crimbles Madeleines
How many times have you managed to scrape something together from the breakfast buffet but had to watch as others tuck into the pastries and cakes?! Whilst the pastry selection in the U.K. has got a lot better it still isn’t something that I use for travelling. However, I find Mrs Crimbles madeleines a useful product – they are individually wrapped and a product that can provide something sweet for breakfast but aren’t too sickly. You do have to be a bit careful as they crumble more than some of the other products I choose to travel with, but the effort is worth it!
Breakfast Bars – Genius chunky bars or Nairn’s breakfast bars
I personally like both of these bars in case I need an emergency breakfast or snack. They don’t crumble too much, especially the Genius ones and Paul is prone to stealing them which is always a good sign of a product! Not so good for me when I need them for emergency supplies!
Cereal Bars – Kind Bars
I like these cereal bars when I’m hungry or need a snack/sweet treat during the day. I particularly like the maple glazed pecan and sea salt and the caramel almond flavours, and are much better for travelling with than any kind of chocolate bar in heat!
Biscuits – Schar custard creams or bourbons
These are my personal choices, but I will pretty much travel with a pack of any biscuits that are individually wrapped. This means I can pop one in my bag for any cafe stops, and that they don’t all go stale as soon as I want one. Morrison’s biscuits also tend to be individually wrapped and a lot of them are dairy free too.
Cakes – Mummzy Meagz rocky road bars (vegan)
These rocky road bars are amazing. Individually wrapped and quite substantial they travel pretty easily, and they’re good enough to be a cake type treat when others stop for afternoon tea and cake. I ordered them off of theVegan Kind website, which has a lot of gluten free snacks and products available!
When you’re hungry and need something gluten free to eat safely, it isn’t always a sweet treat that you’re after! Some snacks that I have bought for Cape Town are:
- Snack packs of olives (Vegan Kind)
- Smoked almonds (Vegan Kind)
- Popcorn – I love popcorn, and stops me from eating a bag of crumbs which is what has happened too often when I have packed bags of crisps! Popcorn Shed truffle popcorn is an amazing savoury flavour available on Ocado!
- I have also previously travelled with Love Corn.
These saved me in Japan, particularly on long travel days. Just add hot water and you’ll have a hot meal/snack to help keep you going. In the past I’ve taken Illumi, Itsu, Tesco or Kabuto noodles, but for Cape Town I have bought Mr Lees ones off of Ocado to give them a try.
Pasta – Morrison’s Dinosaur Pasta
I know it’s a kids pasta but they are a perfect size to travel with! I’ve generally always found gluten free pasta when travelling but it can be really expensive so if I’m staying in an air b n b I often just pack a bag of this in my suitcase to save the hassle!
Schwartz Packets and fajita mix packets
I don’t often use shop bought mixes as it’s so easy to make spaghetti bolognaise, chilli and fajitas at home. However, these provide an excellent option when travelling as it means you don’t have to buy or carry lots of herbs and spices, you can just pack a sachet. This then leaves the need to buy just some naturally gluten free meat and vegetables to make up meals easily. I only pack these if I’m staying in an air b n b and cooking for myself!
Sauce Sachets and bottles
I ordered myself some ketchup and mayonnaise sachets from Amazon to be able to keep a couple in my bag. I also use a sriracha key ring for hot sauce. I find a lot of naturally gluten free meals on some travels plain and sauce less, a particular issue when I spent five weeks of eating like this whilst travelling through South America. Some sauces now make their way into my bag to be able to add some spice/flavour/moisture! It also means that even if sauces are available there is less of a need to use shared bottles.
An absolute must when travelling anywhere in Asia! Rather than having to travel with a bottle everywhere I prefer sachets if I can buy them (I bought loads from Abokado for my Japan trip!) but I’ve also recently bought some small travel bottles off Amazon for this! They came in a pack of three so I’ve also used them for things like gluten free vinegar to take a small amount when on holiday in the U.K. ( I know all vinegar is meant to be gluten free, but I’m sure it wasn’t considered safe when I was diagnosed. As a result I just personally don’t feel comfortable eating it).
Foil and dish cloth
I also always pack these items if I’m staying in a holiday home/air b n b and plan on using the kitchen. Most things often just need a good wash, but oven trays are easier to use by covering in tin foil. (If you’re driving and have space in a car a chopping board and frying pan are also recommended!)
I got a Chilly’s bottle for my birthday and I absolutely love it! I am a fan of squeezy squash so that I don’t have to just drink water.
Hot Chocolate Sachets
I’m not really one for hot drinks, but I do like a hot chocolate. I’ve learnt to take some options sachets in my bag, particularly on winter holidays in case the provided hot chocolate on excursions is not gluten free! I also pack some peppermint tea bags in case I need them!
I always consider what the local cuisine is of where I am going. What are other people likely to be eating that is glutenful? Croissants in France, stroopwafels in Holland – pretty much anything that I can buy in the U.K. gluten free that will stop me from feeling like I’m missing out I will take with me! We have a trip to Norway planned and one of the hotels provides afternoon waffles, so I’m already planning on taking some Schar toaster waffles and toaster bags. It really does help to travel prepared!
I know from many travel blogs and Facebook pages some travel with a doctors note but I personally don’t. I’ve never been stopped for gluten free food. If I’m unsure I just declare it – in Chile with strict food regulations, they had no issues with my food that I was travelling with when they checked what I had declared.
I don’t travel with liquids in my hand luggage (apart from sometimes I put the sauce sachets in my liquids bag as they are under 100ml) and I don’t travel with fresh food. Things like fruit are not allowed to be taken into the US, so I tend to stick to gluten free staples!
I also don’t ask for extra luggage allowance. I tend to travel with some of it in my suitcase if I’m going on a longer trip and then some snacks in my hand luggage. On the way home, I then use the space for souvenirs (or gluten free food from that country!) I find that my personal bag that I take as hand luggage is adequate for my actual hand luggage and then I take a second bag of food that I don’t want crushed in my suitcase and to cover me if my meal is not provided on the plane. It also helps to have all the food together as some airports check food in your hand luggage, so I find it much easier to have it in one bag! I use a lightweight bag that can easily pack down into my suitcase if I don’t need the space on the way home.
However, doctors notes and extra luggage allowance are things that you can request if you need them/makes you feel more comfortable.
What food and snacks do you travel with? Writing my list shows I pretty much pack anything that comes individually wrapped (I don’t know how to get around the extra plastic withoit creating food waste or making the item unpractical for travelling) with a long shelf life, that isn’t bulky and doesn’t need refrigerating! Give me some more ideas below! For more tips on gluten free travelling with coeliac disease see my blog post here for aaaalll the tips that I’ve gained from travelling for over ten years with coeliac disease!
The Sightseeing Coeliac x