Vacationing and Food Allergies

Last week we went on vacation for the first time since being both gluten and nut/peanut free.

I was a little worried about how it would go, but in the end it went well and we had a great time.

Traveling with food allergies can be very challenging, but by planning ahead I saved us a lot of time and headache.

I planned the hotel we were staying out based on the fact that they offered a free breakfast. Now I know that hotel breakfasts are not known to be the best, but I knew that they would have milk, juice, and probably fruit that we could eat. So, I took a box of cold cereal that the girls and I could have. For breakfast my husband and son ate the regular food served and the girls and I ate some fruit and juice, along with our cereal with the milk they served. This worked out great and I will definitely do this again.

I also searched ahead of time online and found a few restaurants that I knew we could eat at. I took all the information with me so that when it was time to eat we knew exactly what our options were. Knowing our options ahead of time made it so much easier. We were a little tired of the same three restaurants by the end of the trip, but over all it worked out well.

The other thing I did was to take a lot of snacks. I took dried fruit, potato chips, some gluten free/nut free cookies and granola bars, and a few other things. This was convenient and made it so that we had food to snack on if we were not near a safe restaurant at meal time.

I would love to hear what tips you have for traveling and vacationing with food allergies.

Lynn's Kitchen Adventures


  1. We basically have a lot of picnics while on vacation. We bring a small cooler and use the local grocery stores to buy cheese, lunch meat, yogurt etc. Even if the stores don’t have “gluten free” sections, we can always find enough to eat. We only eat at restaurants as a last resort.

  2. Yea for a successful trip!!

    We do the continental breakfast thing, and I always tote around my granola for breakfast :)

    If we have a fridge, I bring a cold pasta salad along too and usually always items for sandwiches.

    I haven’t yet tried bringing the crockpot — but, for long road trips I hear folks love doing this, just as a money saver!

  3. Well I have run into some trouble with some of the restaurants gluten free menues. Once I ate at this Italian restaurant and had the GF pasta and within 20 minutes of leaving the restaurant I was horrible sick and it lasted all evening. I wonder if they accidently cooked the pasta in the wrong water? ie water that regular pasta had been cooked in? This was at Travinias (not sure how to spell it!). So I will not eat there. I have never had trouble at subway (I know some salads–lettuce are treated with things that have gluten , but I have never reacted to their salads and I get to choose what goes on it). We have found the food at Whole Foods stores to be good–they have a cooked area and they usually tell what is in it—where they do tell, I have eaten and have been fine. I have been fine at expensive restaurants where I can speak to the chef. I basically tell them what I want and how I want it done. If they have used some kind of packaged sauces I ask to read labels or do without. Olive Garden has a gluten free menu and I have had no problems there either.

    Hey–I have a great lowfat GF cobbler I tied today!

  4. I am always careful to make sure french fries and other such things are not fried in the same oil as the fried shrimp (since I am allergic to shellfish) and you would be shocked to find out how many restaurants fry these things in the very same vats of oil. It’s frustrating at times, for sure.

    • I never thought of that. I have been surprised at how many use peanut oil to fry in. We try to avoid fried foods because they do seem to be a high risk of contamination.

  5. Next time you’re planning a vacation, please check the new website I founded called AllergyEats ( It is a peer-reviewed online guide to allergy-friendly restaurants. Individuals with food allergies/intolerances rate dining experiences by answering 3 simple questions (takes under a minute), which, when combined with everyone else’s ratings, translates into an allergy-friendliness rating for each restaurant rated. Thus, when another individual with food allergies/intolerances is looking for a more comfortable dining experience, they can reference AllergyEats. AllergyEats is only 4-1/2 months old, so coverage is still a little spotty, but the response has been outstanding overall and in some particular markets like Boston. We already have more restaurant ratings by those with food allergies or gluten intolerance than any other site on the web. I also strongly encourage you to rate restaurants you’ve dined at. Again, it only takes a minute and each ratings further increases the value of AllergyEats for our entire community!

  6. I’m currently studying abroad and, so far, have traveled around Ireland and Italy. I brought a large supply of Larabar’s and individual size packets of Sun-Butter with me from home. I definitely recommend both of these for on-the-go occasions. Every mini-weekend trip we take, I always pack some of both — it works out great! I have always been able to stop into any convenient store or supermarket and find fruits/vegetables (banana’s have become my new best friend!) or other gluten-free items (crackers, tuna, etc).

    In Italy, Celiac’s is treated very seriously, so every Farmacia has a section of gluten-free food. Also, restaurants that say they can cook gluten free take it very seriously and know about cross-contamination issues. I’ve eaten out less in Ireland, but most coffee shops and cafe’s here have some gluten free treats up near the cash register.

    I usually do a search online before I travel to a new city to see if there are any recommendations of good restaurants. My friends never mind walking a little bit extra so that way I can enjoy some food too! Make sure to take a gluten-free travel card in the appropriate language that explains your needs, this is always helpful to have with you when traveling!

    I hope this helps in case anyone is looking into traveling overseas!

    • Thank you for the tips on traveling especially over seas. I appreciate you taking the time to talk about your experiences.

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