Dietary restrictions can pose a whole new set of issues to consider when planning a trip. Especially when the trip you are planning might be to a country where you don’t speak the native language. A language barrier can make an already tough spot a bit harder to navigate.
As with any part of the planning process, a little research goes a long way. Regardless of the type of restrictions you adhere to, looking up restaurants and hot spots that offer accommodations is a good place to start. The good news is that even with avoiding something so prevalent like gluten, it is possible to find bakeries that cater to the restriction in France!
It is relatively easy to navigate a menu for any obvious no-nos. The hidden ingredients can be a little bit harder to avoid when you don’t speak the language or know the local cuisine.
Learn how to communicate some of the necessary phrases in the local dialect. Even a floundering attempt to convey your needs can ease the tension and a server/cook will be more sensitive to your dietary needs. There are a number of places where you can find allergen cards in just about any language. Companies like Dietary Card and Select Wisely have cards not only for food allergies but for drugs/medications, animals/insects, skin contact and health emergencies/hospital stays.
Another trick I use, which also saves some money, is to pack some dehydrated foods from home. Dehydrated soup, instant rice dishes, breakfasts etc. are light weight and take up little space in your suitcase. By carrying a few of these, a little hot water is all you need for an easy meal on the go. You can find many gluten free, vegan and vegetarian options at outdoor stores like Cabela’s or REI. Making your own fruit leather and jerky are other great options for packing snacks on the go.
It may seem intimidating when traveling with dietary restrictions, but it doesn’t have to be. A little planning and creative packing is all it takes to ensure that you can enjoy the local cuisine without discomfort!
“Keep your heart open, a suitcase packed and wander often, for the world is wide and adventure awaits.” ~ Emylee