As I have mentioned, I traveled to Nashville last week to attend the blogging conference, Blissdom ‘10. I had a great time, and I’m glad I went, but the whole eating thing wasn’t easy. As far as travel is concerned, it was a new situation for me. In the nine years that I have been gluten free I have traveled in various ways including:
- driving across the country and camping in our pop-up camper, cooking all my meals
- flying to destinations in the US and abroad, then staying with family or friends (this meant I had transportation and a kitchen once I arrived)
- driving to other cities where I stayed in a hotel or condo (driving allowed me to take along plenty of food, go to local grocery stores, and find restaurants where I was comfortable eating )
As Blissdom approached I realized I had not flown somewhere and stayed in a hotel. My options were going to be very limited. I couldn’t count of finding gluten free food, and I wasn’t willing to take risks that might result in my having to miss half the conference. I put on my thinking cap and came up with some possibilities.
- I packed two suitcases. At first I thought one would be for clothes and one for food, but that’s not what I ended up doing. I packed a small carryon suitcase with a day’s worth of essential clothes and toiletries, my laptop, and anything else I had room for in order to free up space in my other suitcase for food. I put a few snacks in my purse for the trip.
- In my large suitcase I packed an insulated lunch bag with an ice pack, sliced cheese, baby carrots, celery sticks, zucchini slices, a small container of almond butter, and a small container of jelly. I also included plastic bags for ice once I got to the hotel.
- I packed other food items in plastic bags if there was a chance they could leak or in plastic boxes if they could get crushed. Those items included crackers, bread, homemade granola bars, Lara bars, nuts, dried mango, and fruit cups.
I pretty much lived off those items for four days, but I did have a nice dinner Friday night which was part of an event at another hotel. Erin of $5 Dinners, who is very familiar with food allergies spoke to them ahead of time and made sure I would have a gluten-free plate of food. The others ate from a buffet. The plate contained a piece of chicken breast, a piece of beef, potatoes, and green beans. They were all seasoned well, so it was not a bland meal like gluten-free eaters sometimes receive. It was wonderful to have a real meal, and I felt fine afterwards.
I was supposed to return home on Sunday, but was unable to because of the snow storm that hit Maryland on Saturday. I stayed in Nashville an extra day with Toni of The Happy Housewife. Sunday evening we decided to take a taxi to Outback Steakhouse, and I was able to enjoy another real meal that was gluten free.
The food I traveled with lasted just the right amount of time, even with the extra day. I did get tired of the food, especially the granola bars, but it was gluten-free food I could count on, and that was better than taking risks.
What are your travel tips?