Gluten-Free Tourism: Destinations Catering to Dietary Restrictions

The Celiac Disease Foundation estimates one out of every 100 Americans deal with celiac disease, with untold millions more having gluten sensitivity.

2024 is set to become a blockbuster year for the travel industry. But what do you do when dietary restrictions complicate travel? For gluten-free people, the world of travel may not be as complicated as they think.

With the constant rise in gluten intolerance, more people are demanding gluten-free options when they travel abroad, creating an entirely new sector of business for countries that may not have even considered it in decades past.

According to Global Market Insights, the gluten-free market brought in 12.3 billion dollars in 2023 and is projected to increase an average of 10.1% per year through 2032. Europe has a 6.9 billion dollar gluten-free industry, also growing each year. But gluten-free foods aren’t mainstream enough for people to eat with confidence anywhere they go. At least not yet.

Navigating the Airport

TSA allows flyers to bring dry food and snacks through the airport in their carry-on. Rather than risk the possible difficulty of finding gluten-free foods in an airport, consider bringing homemade gluten-free snacks. Grab some gluten-free crackers, fresh fruit, or gluten-free granola bars and toss them in your bag.

While people should still research gluten-free restaurants in each airport, having something on hand will save a bad situation in a pinch.

Eating out With Celiac or Gluten Sensitivity

When dining out, question servers about ingredients used to ensure they are gluten-free. Some surprising foods contain gluten, so asking the waitstaff before ordering is critical. In some cases, it can be appropriate to ask to speak to the chef.

Emese Maczko of Eco Lodges Anywhere says, “I think it is easier to eat gluten-free than it was 10-20 years ago. But you still need to plan ahead. You cannot just wing it. I never go to a place without having a list of places I can eat with locations saved on my phone. Cities are easier since there are more choices.

“ Road trips and the countryside are harder. Despite Italy being famous for its pizza and pasta, I was surprised by the number and quality of gluten-free foods I found in restaurants. But I searched them online in advance. I would not have found them by just walking around.”

When possible, book a room or place to stay with a kitchen. Even a small kitchen can help when gluten-free foods are hard to find. A quick trip to a local market offers an abundance of gluten-free, fresh foods you can cook where you are staying.

Gluten-Free Friendly Destinations

Organizations have popped up worldwide to offer help to those traveling with celiac disease. Explorers can reach out to them directly for assistance in navigating their country with Celiac disease or gluten sensitivities.

Italy for the Win

Rome, Italy, was named the number one choice for gluten-free eating by Your Celiac Guide.

Italy, as a whole, is making strides in providing gluten-free options thanks to its Associazione Italiana Celiachia APS organization, known in English as the Italian Celiac Association. An organization that trains restaurants countrywide to cater safely to celiac needs. They provide training and workshops to chefs on cooking techniques, cross-contamination, and more.

More Gluten-Free Friendly Destinations

London, England, with its fifteen dedicated gluten-free restaurants and bakeries, is another excellent choice for those with gluten issues. Their celiac organization, called Coeliac UK, does the same as its Italian counterpart, though without being government-backed.

Dublin, Ireland, and Edinburgh, Scotland, in addition to Hungary and Australia, deserve recognition.

Bella Bucchiotti, a travel writer at xoxoBella, says, “As an avid traveler and someone with celiac disease, I found that Greece, French Polynesia, and Germany were great for finding gluten-free options. When you’re traveling abroad, it’s smart to do some research on the local food and traditional gluten-free dishes beforehand.

“While I’ve usually been able to find gluten-free food in most countries, I did face some difficulties in rural parts of Thailand and Peru due primarily to language barriers. To deal with those situations, I always bring gluten-free snacks and cards explaining my dietary needs in the local language, which helps me communicate in restaurants.”

Don’t Stay Home

Gluten issues should never prevent people from enjoying global travel. Though gluten intolerance can add an extra step to excursions, those with food sensitivities shouldn’t stay at home. With some forethought, planning, and research, travelers with dietary restrictions can find safe, gluten-free meals anywhere their heart might take them.

Jessica Clark | Wealth of Geeks

This article was produced by Media Decision and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.


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