Saturday, September 10, 2011

Traveling Gluten Free: BYOF and What to Pack Travel List

This is what I brought for a 4 day trip to Florida---Taking the grub out of the boxes/packaging obviously reduces the bulk, and I pack some in my suitcase for during the visit and some in my carry-on bag for en route, especially if there are delays. (Remember I got sick at the airport once by eating yogurt I bought in a shop there.)
Traveling gluten free: BYOF (Bring Your Own Food)!

Toasterbags:  If you want to toast your own gluten free bread in a public toaster, you can re-use the toaster bags up to 50 times.  It's extra fun when you're at Best Western in the self-serve free continental breakfast area with other hotel guests pouring cereal and cooking waffles, and as soon as you put the bag in the toaster, some type-A do-gooder with a savior complex swoops over and shouts that you're going to start a fire by putting plastic in the toaster.  I always say, ask! Don't assume.  Assuming makes an ass out of u and me -->ass-u-me.
For BREAKFAST I often boil water in the hotel coffeepot (unwrap a sanitized cup they provide and use my own spoon) to make Instant Grits. Or I'll have fruit. Or I'll have a bar: Glutino breakfast bar, Glutino Granola Bar, LaraBar, or EnviroKids Chocolate Crispy Rice bar.
Out for breakfast: I'll quiz the server: What surface are the eggs cooked on? Can my eggs be cooked in a clean pan? Do you place the bacon on bread to soak up the grease? Be sure to tell them if they use the same spatula on my food as they do to flip pancakes, I'll get sick. Clean gloves, clean pans, clean utensils. So, I order eggs, fruit, sometimes bacon, and bring my own bread. If I have toaster bags available, I'll ask the server to use those on MY bread.

LUNCH: Udi Bread or Glutino Crackers, Justin's Peanut/Almond butter packets OR StarKist Tuna pouch, jelly packets, fruit, chips, etc.

DINNER: I bring uncooked brown rice pasta, in case I can talk some restaurant into using a clean pot, strainer, etc. to make it for me with a little olive oil and garlic on it. Or I search on my cell phone internet-finder-doohickies to find a place to eat. In Miami we ate at Texas de Brazil (used a coupon), pricey seafood at The Place on Ocean, and twice at Pizza Fusion.

ANYTIME: I bring my own hot cocoa packets, fruit, individual puddings, jell-o, and fruit cups, Glutino pretzels, Smoreables gluten free, Chips, Fruit snacks, Crunch N Munch, frozen baked goods that I made previously (or that my mother sends me home with), etc.

Other Gluten Free Travel Tips:
**Generally, I like to stay in cushy hotels, to avoid grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning like people do when they rent condos, timeshares, etc. Not only is it more of a "vacation feel" than it would be to cook and clean, but we are often pretty spontaneous on vacay and it would likely be wasteful to buy food because we wouldn't be sure we'd have time to go back to eat during or after an adventure. I also enjoy seafood and steak on vacay and don't want my place to stink like fish or whatnot during the trip.

**I try to stockpile the food I lug along- preferring to eat out when I happen upon "old reliable" food out-and-about, such as Wendy's chili and TGIFridays in the airports. On the way home, if I'm out of fruit- I'll ante up the big bucks to buy fruit at the airport.

**On boat trips/camping/all-day excursions I bring along my own insulated lunch bag with plasticware in the pocket and fill it with lunch stuff pictured above. If I'm staying a week or longer and my hotel room has a fridge, I might stop by a Trader Joe's or Costco and pick up some chilled cooked shrimp, tortilla chips, avocado, and salsa that I pack in baggies and bring on the trip. While everyone else is gnawing on the cheapo, dried out sandwiches provided on the trip, they eyeball and maddog my delectable entree. The tables are turned, for once.
**Research restaurants prior to the trip- especially if you are going out to eat with a group for an occasion. Try to be knowledgeable enough to offer up your own choices in where to eat.

**Ask restaurants to accommodate you- especially in nice hotels, they are accustomed to accommodating special requests from weary travel warriors every day.

**Bread- I carry Udi's green or Against the Grain baguette in my purse everywhere. It makes a small meal more satisfying. Plus, it lowers the mental anguish watching your comrades devour the warm bread basket offerings at restaurants.  Sometimes I run out after the first couple days, and that's ok.

In case you didn't get the planning gene, or if you're curious by nature--here is the list I've used for years to pack- I keep it in a clear page protector folded in my travel toiletry bag, which I keep stocked. It has helped me pack in record time for last-minute trips. I only pack pertinent items, but it helps to see the list no matter what type of trip it is. You can use a wipe-off marker to check it off through the plastic, or you could put it on your iphone:
Gifts for those I'm Visiting
Extra suitcase folded up to fill with stuff I acquire on the trip to bring back
Beach Bag/sunscreen/hat/coverup/swimsuit/flipflops/towels
beach toys
rash guard for in the ocean
carry-around bag for water/map/sweater/magazine, snacks,etc
games, leisure activ.
copy of passport/credit card cancel #, health card
money belt
stamps/addresses for postcards
camera with batteries/charger/uploader cord or card
cell phone/charger
zip loc bags
sports accessories: snorkel gear, camping gear, ski gear, etc.
romantic stuff
dental floss/toothbrush/paste
safety pins/sewing kit
emergency kit/band aids/etc
travel pillow
flashlight (or iphone app)
antibacterial gel
toilet paper (esp for camping)
water bottle w filter
important phone #s of people you stay with/pick you up, etc.
confirmation #s for hotel, itinerary
tickets for shows, travel, etc.
passport, dr.license
guide books, bus schedules
money/ATM/cc/change for tolls
GPS for car, if not using phone app
personal hygiene feminine products
day outfits/night outfits
maps/tourist info/travel coupons
book/reading material/travel book light
tea/hot choc and snacks for plane
purse: day and night
iron/hairdryer if there is none at destination
socks, nylons, tights, slips
Shoes: walking, going out, flips flops, matching to outfits
earrings, jewelry coordinated with outfits
hair ornaments, clips, bands
undergarments- bras: strapless? Sports?
nail polish, file
kleenex, deoderant (keep on carryon)
makeup, tweezer, powder
shower soap, face soap
shampoo, cond
Earplugs and Eye cover (for plane)
Medications: allergies, Lactaid, pepto, Tylenol, cold, eyedrops
Dramamine, airborne tablets
Hairbrush/comb/sprays/curling iron
pen, paper
snacks, gluten free foods (separate list)

On short trips, I only carry a small carryon with my purse (phone, money, allergy pills, etc), reading material, cell phone AND charger (they have free charging stations at airports and I've also plugged in inside the restrooms), snacks, eyeglasses, chapstick, sunglasses, sweater, ear plugs, antibacterial gel, airborne tablets, eyecover, and ear phones. Usually valuables: jewelry, camera
On longer trips/overseas, I carry on MORE in case my bags get lost: deoderant, toothbrush&paste, hair brush, concealer, powder, spare outfit, camera.
If I'm traveling with someone, I split the packable necessities with my companion. My mother once agreed to carry on the toothpaste and mini shampoo on a trip to France when her luggage was lost and we were on a tight tour schedule. The next morning, the found luggage still hadn't been dropped off, and I remember racing to find a store to buy toothpaste "dentifrice" and having a hard time even locating it WITHIN the store. I looked at my mother and said, I thought you agreed to carry it on? She said she changed her mind at the last minute and shoved it in her checked bag. Ugh.

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