Cruise Ships

Today, we share another guest post from an experienced world traveler...this time it's Celiac blogger Gail from 50 Beds and Counting, a blog in which she discusses transitioning to retirement, travel adventures, learning how to build an active retirement life, and living with Celiac as well as heart disease. She shares her latest adventure, a 5-week trip beginning in Hong Kong and traveling to Sydney, Australia aboard the Celebrity Millennium cruise ship. When I was diagnosed with Celiac more than eight years ago, I was concerned how this illness would impact traveling. I worried my travel dreams would be curtailed by my fear of finding healthy, safe food away from home. As it turned out, mostly I didn't need to worry. When I retired in 2014 (PhD clinical social worker, psychotherapist, and educator), my initial plan was to ramp up my travel schedule -- and I did. My husband and I have enjoyed international and domestic cycling trips, hiking tours, regular old walking around and sightseeing vacations, and cruises to far flung locales like Norway, Iceland, New Zealand, South America and more. Many of these experiences I've chronicled in my blog 50 Beds and Counting. One of the many advantages... Read more →

As you may know, my husband and I love to travel as much as our busy schedule allows, and we almost always include our kids. Writing this Blog and managing GlutenFreeTravelSite and the Dine Gluten Free mobile app have given me the opportunity to share two of my greatest passions...traveling and finding safe and wonderful places to dine gluten free wherever we go. Our son's diagnosis with Celiac 11 years ago has made things a little more challenging when traveling, to be sure, but this post I'm sharing today, written by gluten free travel agent Ellen Morse and the 2016 Family Friendly Cruise Travel Planner, reminded me that including our kids on all our journeys is worth every bit of extra effort. Not only does it create memories and quality family time, but it teaches our kids valuable life lessons. I loved reading this wonderful post, and I wanted to share it with you. Seven Valuable Life Lessons and Skills Taught by Travel: 1. Travel helps children develop decision-making, and builds confidence – As you travel, a wide variety of choices present themselves. Gone are the routines of home; instead, children have the opportunity to make choices about which new... Read more →

These days, with so many travel portals offering thousands of reviews (including ours for the GF community -- GlutenFreeTravelSite), many people don't see the need to use a travel agent. Our culture has become very do-it-yourself, with people going online to read reviews and then booking their own travel arrangements, thinking they're saving time or money. But I'm here to advocate the opposite. While there's certainly a great need for sites like ours (and the more "mainstream" -- not GF focused -- sites like TripAdvisor), they are still just part of planning a great trip. I always recommend people go online to read reviews and get a feel for the most GF-friendly destinations, properties, and restaurants as a first step as they begin to consider different travel options. But speaking from much personal experience, travel agents can also be an enormous help. I have used them to help plan many trips for our own family, I wouldn't have it any other way. Here are my TOP 10 REASONS TO CONSIDER USING A TRAVEL AGENT: 1.) They have YEARS of expertise, something none of us can match even after spending hours or days trolling travel websites like GlutenFreeTravelSite, TripAdvisor, or Airbnb.... Read more →

We're always adding helpful content, updating resources, and improving the functionality of GlutenFreeTravelSite and our free companion mobile app, Dine Gluten Free. But for those of you who haven't visited for a while -- or may not be aware of all the ways these valuable resources can help you DINE & TRAVEL gluten free more easily, we thought it might be time for a reminder... First Stop (if you need it): An Overview Under the RESOURCES tab within the navigation bar on our website, there's a section of the site called About Celiac & Gluten Sensitivity that contains 12 "chapters" of information that are helpful to both new and veteran gluten free folks. And if you have friends or family members that need to understand your diet better, send them a link to this page for answers to the questions they may have (sometimes it's easier when it comes from an impartial source!). Also, if you have a friend that suspects gluten may be adversely affecting their health, by all means, pass along this information to them. It could provide the spark that leads them to get tested. We've tried to make the explanations about Celiac, gluten sensitivity, and a... Read more →

Almost every day, we hear about another great place for gluten-free travelers…and I get so excited to share these discoveries with you. That's our mission here at Gluten Free Travel Blog -- and also on our website GlutenFreeTravelSite…to help you take a true vacation from worry. We want to help you find places where you won't have to educate chefs or ask a zillion questions before each meal…places that give you confidence and let you forget about your dietary restrictions. That's why today, I'd like to recap some recent discoveries -- and also remind you of where to go to get more travel ideas on our website. Just a couple weeks ago, we announced a new itinerary for gluten free travel to Croatia, but are you aware of the other special itineraries for places outside the U.S. detailed on the Gluten Free Getaways page of our site? Keep in mind, these aren't "group" trips…you can follow the suggested itinerary developed by Celiac travel agent Ellen Morse OR customize it according to your own budget and interests -- AND pick your own dates of travel. Like cruising? If so, you're in luck…cruises are one of the most "gluten-free friendly" ways to... Read more →

You may have heard me discuss how cruises have become one of the best options for gluten free travel. Providing you enjoy the idea of cruising, it can be a wonderful experience that typically allows you to have ample choices for gluten free meals -- while limiting the amount of time you'll have to take to explain your diet each day of your trip! Most major cruise lines now have policies for gluten free travelers whereby they request that you note your dietary needs at the time of booking. You can do this yourself or through a travel agent. Some of the cruise lines will even have you fill out a questionnaire with your dietary needs and/or preferences prior to your trip. This should all be done as far in advance as possible, so that the cruise ship has time to order any special items you may require. Most cruise lines stock various gluten free staples (in addition to being able to prepare many meals that are naturally gluten free), and you may even be able to request specific items or brands (again, your chances of getting them to stock something special depend on which cruise line you're traveling on,... Read more →

It's time to start thinking about planning Winter escapes and Spring Break vacations! If you've put off planning due to concerns about whether you'll be able to find a vacation spot that can accommodate your gluten free diet, I'm here to say you have plenty of options. And frankly, "accommodating" is no longer an appropriate word to use in this case...there are now MANY resorts and cruise ships that go WAY beyond merely "accommodating" their guests. They deliver a truly incredible and memorable experience for the gluten free traveler. So how do you find the best places? I'd suggest contacting Lesley Hayden, a Gluten Free Travel Specialist with Travel Leaders travel agency. She loves her job, and she loves her gluten free clients even more! While not gluten free herself, Lesley has spent the past few years of her long and successful career as a travel agent building up quite a following among gluten free clients -- and working with chefs at numerous resorts to ensure these clients are well taken care of. Many of the resorts Lesley works with are top-rated, all-inclusive resorts located in the Caribbean and Mexico. And if cruising is more your thing, Lesley can also... Read more →

As many of your know, this Gluten Free Travel Blog is an offshoot of our popular website, GlutenFreeTravelSite, which was launched over five years ago. I created the website so people would have an easy way to search for "gluten free friendly" places to dine wherever they were planning to travel -- in the U.S. and in other countries. But rather than just providing a name and address of a restaurant (or market, hotel/inn/resort, or bakery), I felt it was essential to include REVIEWS from gluten free folks who'd been there. After all, you want to know as much as you can about a place before dining there, right? For example, do they have a gluten free menu, items marked as GF on the regular menu, or a chef who is able to tailor many items on the menu to make them gluten free? Do they have a dedicated fryer for french fries, chicken wings, or other fried items? (If they make claims that their fried items are gluten free without having a dedicated fryer, you know to be extremely cautious about dining there in the first place!) Are they careful about avoiding cross contamination in other ways? Do they... Read more →

So many things are do-it-yourself in today's world. Nowhere has that become more prevalent than planning a trip. Whether you're booking a flight, reserving a rental car, or making reservations at a hotel or resort, chances are you do it yourself. Wouldn't you love some help? Wouldn't you love to be able to delegate this one thing to someone else -- someone who actually has decades of experience planning trips...and can therefore do it more efficiently? I know it's one area of my life that I appreciate the extra assistance -- especially since the research into the gluten free aspect of wherever we're traveling can really add to the complexity of planning the trip. But fortunately I've had the priviledge of working with one particular travel agent, Lesley Hayden of Travel Leaders, to help plan and book many of our family's trips over the past 4 years. There's another added benefit beyond Lesley's expertise: She can save you money. She can leverage her contacts that she's developed over decades to help you find deals you wouldn't be able to find on your own. She just saved our family hundreds of dollars on last-minute lift tickets at Whistler Ski Resort in... Read more →

I'm always looking for travel opportunites that truly give gluten free travelers a "vacation from worry" opportunity for you to travel in which all the meal details have been taken care of. That way, you can truly relax and enjoy your vacation without hours and hours of advance planning -- or scrutinizing every every menu for the duration of your trip. I recently learned of Gluten Free Cruises, started by travel agent Lynda McHenry. She has organized a Gluten Free Food and Wine Cruise down the Danube River from May 22-29, 2013. You'll board the brand new AmaPrima river boat from Ama Waterways, a company that's been delivering quality cruises to her clients for 10 years. The boat is equipped to accommodate 164 passengers and make stops in Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna, Durnstein, Melk, Linz, Passau, and Vilshofen -- with an optional 2-day stay in Prague. Lynda has 35 years experience as a travel agent, 31 of which have been as the owner of her own agencies. She, her husband, and her daughter are all gluten intolerant. They started a gluten free grain business, as well as a dedicated gluten free cafe in Oregon. Lynda launched Gluten Free Cruises with two... Read more →

Whether you've been gluten free for a long time -- or are newly diagnosed with Celiac Disease or gluten sensitivity -- you'll likely agree that maintaining vigilance when dining out and traveling can be a real challenge. You never know what level of gluten free savviness you'll encounter at restaurants, stores, and travel destinations. But there is one thing you can do to virtually ensure success...plan ahead. After tackling these challenges first-hand as the parent of a Celiac child -- and reading the thousands of gluten free dining and travel reviews submitted to our website, GlutenFreeTravelSite, over the years -- I have a comprehensive "mental checklist" of sorts that I rely on when planning any trip. Recently I shared these 12 tips for gluten free travel success with The Daily Meal website. Some tips may be common sense and ones you yourself use, while others bear repeating. Check out the article and corresponding slideshow showcasing the 12 Ways to Eat Gluten-Free on the Road, and be sure to forward to your fellow GF friends or family members. For a more detailed explanation of these and other tips for successful gluten free dining and travel, you may want to refer to... Read more →

We've been hard at work making GlutenFreeTravelSite -- the website containing thousands of user-submitted Gluten Free Dining and Travel REVIEWS -- even better. Here are some of the new content and features you'll find on our redesigned site...I hope you'll take a few minutes to browse the new site and share it with all your Gluten Free friends and family members! Enhanced HOME page, with links and easy navigation to all areas of our site Expanded Gluten Free at College section, including reviews of college dining services, submitted by GF students A CRUISE page, showcasing the gluten free policies of all the major Cruise Lines, along with links to cruise REVIEWS submitted to our site An AIRLINES page, detailing which major airlines offer gluten free meals upon request A Listing of CAMPS all over the country that offer programs for Gluten Free Kids Social Sharing on each page of the site to allow you to share pages -- or specific reviews -- with your GF friends Expanded GLUTEN FREE RESOURCES page, organized by category (Celiac associations, Trip Planning, GF-Friendly Hotels/Resorts, Mobile resources...) Enhanced page listing Restaurant Chains offering Gluten Free Menus, with links to dedicated pages for each restaurant Ability... Read more →