The only means to satisfaction and safety during international travel is through plenty of training and practice on the home front, with weeks of research and planning before leaving home. Realize that being weary and unfamiliar with the culture and language at the same time may add additional stress to an already challenging situation. Expect to take everything you have learned at home up by several notches and allow yourself as much research and planning time for your trip as you can before leaving for the airport.
Some key things to remember or consider include:
• Before you board the international flight you’ll be asked to discard any unpackaged foods you have because of International Customs food laws. Confirm what you can bring with the airline in advance.
• Consult with gluten-free people who have earlier traveled to your destination and gather tips borne of experience.
• If you’re traveling to a non-English speaking country, bring easily accessible premade reference tools that will make reading menus, communicating with service staff, and deciphering food product labels easier and more efficient. Create a list of ingredients and hidden gluten culprits you must avoid and translate them into the foreign language you need. For example, the German words for wheat, barley, and rye are Weizen, Gerste, and Roggen. Also, create a list of key questions in the foreign language. Consult with a professor or student for accuracy, or read Let’s Eat Out by the founders of Gluten-free Passport for guidelines and information. They’ve done much of the work for you. And don’t forget the dictionary!
• Consider shipping a box filled with your favorite gluten-free products to your destination days in advance.