Packing for a Gluten-Free Vacation

what to bring on a gluten free vacation

I’m. On. Vacation. That sound you hear is one huge exhale that I’m actually taking time off.

This is the sixth straight year we’re heading out with the same, crazy vacation crew. Each year, we rent a villa down in the islands. And while we’re doing the same villa as the past two years, we have a new chef this year. Naturally, that adds an initial level of angst but after multiple emails back and forth, he totally gets it and I depart worry-free.

So you’re probably wondering…“Dude, what the heck do you pack for yourself?” And if you’re not…simply amuse me and pretend you are. Let me tell you…I only bring the essentials and it’s a quick two-step process.

1. Purchase a 4-pack of Glutenberg, a nice bottle of Groundbreaker, few bottles of Casamigos tequila and some wine sleeves.

vacationing while celiac

2. Put said goodies in wine sleeves and put in your suitcase.

gluten free beer on vacation

That’s it. I assure you a happy and healthy vacation.

P.S. You may want to pack some underwear too.

Have a great week everyone. Wish you could all tag along.

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13 thoughts on “Packing for a Gluten-Free Vacation”

  1. I was just diagnosed with Celiac about a month ago & love reading your blog! We are surprising the kids with a trip to Disney at the beginning of January & I am a little nervous about the eating out part! I hear they are really accommodating & we do have a kitchen in the condo we are staying in so that helps.

    1. Goofy’s Kitchen was the best place to get a good, safe meal when I was here 4 years ago, plus my kids loved it. We had a manager come and ask us about the restrictions and we were guided through the buffet. Apparently, they have quite a few people with issues since they frequently sponsor meals for kids with medical issues. I had a lot of trouble eating safely in any other restaurant near DL. Do not assume the waiters even know what gluten is. I also bring GF pretzels, thin rice cakes and GF cookies whenever I travel so that I can be sure of some safe food. It is easy to buy cheese, meat, fruit and vegetables but I can’t always find good GF alternatives in vacation towns. Good luck!

    2. I have been diagnosed Celiac 4.5 years now. We are Disney Vacation Club Members and vacation in Disney World once or twice a year. Disney is, hands down, the BEST vacation for people with Celiac or just about any food allergy. Most restaurants and quick food places offer plenty of GF options and most places offer dedicated gluten free fryers! Not that you want to live off French Fries and Buffalo Wings, but it’s nice once in a while to have a cheeseburger and fries from a restaurant that are safely GF. Just let the host or server know you have Celiac (say food allergy as that is their code word) when you get to a restaurant and they will take good care of you. At sit down restaurants, the Chef will usually visit your table and talk to you about all of the options available to you. And there will be plenty. In all of the many meals I have eaten at Disney, I can’t remember one time that I got glutened. Simply put, Disney gets it and understands food allergies perfectly. And since you are staying in a condo with a kitchen, visit and you can order groceries delivered right to your condo the day you arrive. This way you can order some GF quick grab things to carry with you. We order groceries for our room and do breakfast in the room to save cost and time. All our other meals we eat at the parks or restaurants. You will have a great time. And Mickey Bars are gluten free! We are kinda Disney addicts and experts, so if you have any other questions about Disney World, just let me know, I would be happy to try and help.

    3. We went to Disney World this past March and had a great experience. In Animal Kingdom we went to Flame Tree BBQ and they were very accommodating. When I mentioned that I was Celiac a dedicated food allergy staff member came out with a binder and asked what I was planning to have. They have a list of each menu item with all of the ingredients that you can/can’t have. The lady we talked to was very kind and explained there was a separate kitchen area where special food allergy meals are prepared. Also, when the meal comes out it is on a special coloured tray to alert staff to it. I ended up eating safe BBQ ribs that were great! The only downside was it took quite a while to get it but for a safe meal, it was totally worth it.

      As a side note, there are blogs out there that have pictures of food allergy menus from Disney. You can also email them ahead of time and ask what the best options are. We went to Universal as well and their dining staff were happy to send a list of recommended restaurants.

      Wishing you a safe, happy, and fun trip!

  2. To the person who mentioned the Disney trip: You are in for a treat! Disney is over-accommodating (if that’s possible) for people with special dietary needs. Contact Disney and they’ll send you all kinds of info. including what pre-made gluten-free snacks might be available in the parks. I live in Orlando and Disney restaurants are THE only restaurants I trust enough to eat at. I won’t eat out anywhere else because I’ve had one too many destructive cross-contamination episodes. However, At Disney restaurants I just make sure I talk to the chef and I’m all good.
    You probably already know this, but you’re allowed to bring your food wherever you go. If you’re nervous about it, just bring a doctor’s note to give you that extra feeling of security. But you can fill a backpack full of gluten free snacks for your day at the park. A clear backpack is handier since every bag that goes into the park is checked at the entrance.
    Hope this helps.

    1. Not only can you bring in food, but you can also take advantage of the microwaves in the baby centers to heat up food. That way, you’re not stuck with sandwiches, salads, and other cold foods. I took in food in containers and went to the baby centers to heat it up. I would then meet back up with my family and eat wherever they were. It worked out great!

  3. My husband has Celiac disease. I’m purely gluten free to make it easier on him. I found you can get all your nutrients without eating gluten! I don’t miss it at all! I love your blog, it’s a great read! 😀

  4. Looks like a great time to me. Good taste in tequila, ever have Casa Noble Anejo? Good stuff. Is Groundbreaker a GF beer? I noticed it’s a dark ale and I love dark beers, but so far the only one I’ve found around here is Greens Endeavour Dubbel Ale and the almost dark Glutenburg Red Ale. One of the things I miss the most is all those wonderful craft dark beers.

    1. If you haven’t tried ciders I highly suggest it. In the gluten free world, it is VERY rare I ever find a beer that taste good. With a proper cider, they don’t add any sugar. It is naturally fermented from the sugar in the apples. Sometimes they add ginger, or other interesting things to the mixture. Just make sure you don’t buy any of the big name ciders, as many are made with added sugar, corn syrup and/or natural flavorings. Blegh!

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I AM someone who's been gluten-free since 2007 due to a diagnosis of severe celiac disease. I'm someone who can steer you in the right direction when it comes to going gluten-free. And I'm someone who will always give you the naked truth about going gluten free.

I AM NOT someone who embraces this gluten-free craziness. I didn’t find freedom, a better life or any of that other crap when I got diagnosed. With all due respect to Hunter S. Thompson, I found fear and loathing of an unknown world. But if I can share my wisdom, tell my stories and make the transition easier on you, I’ve done my job.

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