Gluten Free Travel: Caribbean and Mexican Resorts, Plus "Gluten-Free Friendly" Cruises
October 01, 2013
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 point you in the direction of the best cruise lines to meet your needs -- and the needs of any group you're traveling with. This is clearly an example of some cruise lines being better than others. Obviously, dietary needs -- and the degree to which a cruise line "wows" its gluten free guests -- will be a major deciding factor. But Lesley can also assess your general travel preferences to help pair you with the right cruise line and ship. Give her a call at 800-487-6110 to hear about all the great travel possibilities.
Some people tend to shy away from using travel agents, thinking they can save money by "doing it themselves." But if you're like most people, you're strapped for time and could use some help with the legwork. Lesley gives you a personal level of service at no additional cost. Lesley does not charge a fee for her services, and in the majority of cases, she will save you money. I can speak from experience, having worked with her to book many trips for our own family. And let me tell you, in this "do it yourself" era, I'm thrilled to delegate travel planning to someone as competent and easy to work with as Lesley!
And keep this in mind: Searching for travel options online is not necessarily the least expensive way to book a trip. Because of her contacts and many, many years in the business, Lesley can match or beat most prices found on websites and guarantees the lowest prices for her clients. She has access to discounts not offered to the general public, and she will always work with the chef or director of food and beverage to ensure your gluten free dietary needs are given the utmost attention. These are resorts that truly want to "wow" you.
There are both adults-only and family-friendly resorts that welcome gluten free guests, as well as cruise lines that are better for one group or another. So whether you'd like to visit Cancun, Cozumel. Puerta Vallarta, Los Cabos, Jamaica, Turks and Caicos, St. Lucia, Antigua, the Bahamas -- or take a cruise to multiple Caribbean islands -- give Lesley a call at 800-487-6110 to discuss the possibilities. You can also email her at [email protected]. Her clients love her, as this particular one will attest:
"Lesley immediately made me feel comfortable by asking me if I was gluten free by choice, gluten intolerant, or had Celiac Disease. Once I identified myself with Celiac Disease, she discussed some possibilities with me.
"Upon deciding on a destination, Lesley called the resort and discussed my needs with the Head Chef. After she confirmed that they could accommodate my dietary needs, she then contacted me for my approval to book a reservation. Lesley then arranged our vacation and a meeting with the head chef upon our arrival. She even called the resort again one week before I was to arrive to confirm my gluten free requirements and my meeting with the Head Chef.
"Throughout my stay, my concerns and anxiety regarding my gluten free requirements became more and more alleviated. The meals that we were served were delicious, and we were not restricted to a limited menu. Upon my return home Lesley contacted me to make sure that everything went as planned.
"Since then Lesley has been my travel agent and has arranged all of my vacations. On one occasion when I wanted to go to particular destination, she called all the resorts and discussed my gluten free requirements. She then called me and said that none of the resorts made her feel comfortable regarding the gluten free diet and she recommended alternatives.”
- R. Connolly, Jr., Eatontown, NJ