Special diet tips for travelers with special dietary requirements are to help you get the most out of your trip without being a slave to your food. For most travelers, part of the whole foreign travel experience and the adventure, is the chance to experience new foods and cuisines. However, for those with specific dietary needs, the journey may not be that exciting and they will need all the special diet tips they can get. Fussy eaters are one thing, but those with allergies or intolerances are going to have a hard time working out what they are eating especially if there is a language barrier. It is difficult enough to get that information when you can understand each other in the first place. Here are 7 Tips for Travelers with Special Diet Needs:
1. Airline Food
Let’s face it, airline food does not have the greatest reputation for being the best cuisine on the planet. In fact, airline food has the well earned reputation for having some of the worst food, and that is for those without special nutritional requirements. If the airline caterers are going to mess up a simple cheese sandwich, imagine what they will do for the wheat allergy people or the vegans. With this in mind one of the most practical special diet tips is to plan ahead. Pack some snacks to keep you going for the flight and long waits in between at the airport. Just double check that whatever food you take doesn’t contravene cross border legalities.
2. Do Your Homework
The beauty of the Internet means that you are able to cross over to your foreign destination virtually, take a tour through some of the restaurants, pick up a menu, know how much they charge and find out what exactly they are serving. Some restaurants will have allergens listed on their menus, and first prize would be a health restaurant that caters for vegans and food intolerances, but don’t hold your breath. It’s good advice for travelers with special diet needs to research their destination before going.
3. Know Your Limits
If you know for a fact that you are going to need life support if you so much as come across nuts for example, you may need to take extra precautions. Ensure that you carry around any allergy medication and a letter from a health care practitioner if necessary. If you are traveling to a country where you will not know the language, have a translation of your allergies put onto a flash card for you. When you go into a restaurant hand it to the chef, not the waiter, and ask them if they can prepare you something without the specific ingredients. Everybody will understand each other and you can leave after enjoying a lovely meal.
4. Traveling Companions
Special diet tips aren’t always food specific – like this one. Travel buddies that just don’t’ get it and whom may start to become irritable with your constant questions and examinations of menus and products on the shelves, will inevitably ruin your trip. Go with somebody who understands your needs and who will help you find a place to eat without minding about you asking waiters and chefs the questions you need to. If your traveling companion is going to fill their face with handfuls of peanuts while moaning and asking if you are sure you will really be allergic and couldn’t you just try one peanut, you need to leave them at home.
5. Ask First
Don’t be embarrassed and sit down at a restaurant, take a few sips of wine and then quiz the waiter about the kind of food they have and if they will be able to serve you. You could be categorized as a fussy difficult client and get a little uptight. If you explain very nicely before you are sitting at the table glugging your merlot that you are allergic to shellfish, they might be more willing to assist you. Dealing with special diet needs and food allergies is becoming part and parcel of the restaurant scene, wherever you go.
6. Enjoy the People
It is a pain to travel with food allergies and intolerances and if it has not irritated your travel companion, it will irritate you eventually. But along the way you do come across the most charming people and you will have to interact with the locals in a way you may not have had to, if you could just pick and choose off the menu. Chances are, if there is something gluten free on the menu, the Chef has firsthand experience with gluten allergies and after chatting to him you will find that you are not alone and they could actually direct you to another place they know of that will serve food you can eat. Who better to pass on special diet tips than an experienced chef?
7. Freshly Prepared Food
Look out for restaurants that serve made to order meals from the freshest ingredients. Normally it is a hassle for buffet type menu restaurants to prepare made to order meals, as they have to prepare everything from scratch. But if they are already doing it, chances are they will be able to leave an ingredient out for you or substitute it with something else. Even though you may have to wait a bit longer, it will be worth it in the end.
Even though these are just 7 Tips for Travelers with Special Diet Needs, you may find that you have a few unique dietary ideas for people yourself. Only once you have traveled with or are a traveler with specific requirements, will you understand the need to share all the special meal tips with other people. What would be some of the specific diet tips you would share with other travelers?