Girl traveling with food sensitivities.

Traveling with Dietary Restrictions: Essential Tips and Tricks

You love exploring new destinations, immersing yourself in different cultures, and creating unforgettable memories during your travels.You’ve been looking forward to this vacation for a long time, but just found out that your chronic bloating and fatigue were caused by a food sensitivity. Now, you’re facing the  hurdle of managing food sensitivities while on the go. 

It’s no secret that traveling with dietary restrictions can be a real challenge. But fear not! This blog is here to lend a helping hand and make your travel experiences more enjoyable and worry-free.

In this blog, we’ll be sharing essential tips and tricks for navigating the world of travel with food sensitivities. From researching your destination’s cuisine to communicating your dietary needs effectively, we’ve got you covered. So, get ready to pack your bags and discover how to travel with ease.

Cabo is calling!

Understanding your food sensitivities.

Imagine this: You’re strolling through a vibrant food market in a faraway land, seduced by the enticing aromas and mouthwatering flavors. The street vendor catches your eye with a tempting local sandwich. It looks delicious, and the best part? It seems pretty healthy too.

Fast forward a few hours, and you find yourself huddled on your hotel bed, clutching your stomach in discomfort. The chronic bloating you’ve been trying to escape has suddenly made a grand entrance. You rack your brain, wondering what could have triggered this episode. After all, you’ve been diligently avoiding dairy since you arrived.

This unfortunate scenario highlights the importance of fully understanding your food sensitivities before embarking on your travel adventures. Sometimes, the culprit hides in the most unexpected places. In this case, the seemingly innocent naan bread used for that sandwich was actually made with yogurt, sneaking in a potential trigger. 

By uncovering these hidden ingredients and trigger foods in the local cuisine, you can make more informed choices and ensure your journey is filled with magical sunsets on the beach rather than restless nights and oversized pajamas.

This brings us to our next point…

Research Your Destination.

Gone are the days when traveling meant jet-setting off to a faraway land, indulging in anything and everything without a second thought. Now, we know better. We’ve experienced the consequences of that painful digestive issue or the migraine that could rival a century’s worth of headaches. 

This is why, when it comes to travel, planning ahead is the name of the game.

Where does that planning start? With researching the local cuisine, of course! Start by considering all the different meal options you’re likely to encounter during your trip. Think beyond just the main courses and explore the possibilities of breakfast delights, satisfying snacks, belt buster lunches, and mouthwatering desserts.

Now, open up your notes app and create a dedicated list of all these foods and search for authentic ingredient lists online. Thank goodness for Google, right? 

By arming yourself with this knowledge, you’ll have a sneak peek into what’s in the food you’re about to taste. No more hidden triggers catching you off guard. You’ll be able to navigate menus with confidence, making informed decisions and avoiding potential pitfalls along the way.

Communicate your needs.

It’s hard enough communicating your dietary restrictions where people speak the same language as you do, let alone having to explain them in a broken version of a local language.

As tough as this might be, it is actually extremely important. If you’ve done your research, and followed our advice in the last section, then you would already have a safe idea of what is going to be safe for you and what isn’t. But what if you are visiting a local restaurant that infuses multiple cultures into their food, or what if you end up going to a restaurant without checking the menu ahead of time?

In this case, you absolutely have to either call ahead or find a way to communicate your dietary restrictions with the staff of the restaurant (but do not demand that they accommodate you.). 

This is where the translation apps will come in handy. Apple’s Translate app comes with a ton of built in features, one of which allows you to speak into the microphone and translate your needs. 

Bring reinforcements.

Okay, we admit this next one might sound a little bit odd to some of you, but we promise that of all the tips on this list, this is one of the most important and useful.

Pack your own food.

There, we said. We don’t mean to bring a whole suitcase of elaborate meals that you meal prepped, we’re talking about enough portable and nourishing snacks to get you through the rough times. Like when your dinner option just eliminated the one thing on the menu that you could safely eat and they refuse to accommodate you.

According to the Transportation Community Administration (TSA), you are actually allowed to bring your own food in both your carry-on and checked bags. We recommend reading their guidelines before packing that awesome lunch for the plane ride. 

Here is more information about specifically what types of foods are usually allowed to clear customs in international airports.

Don’t lose sleep over it.

The big mistake that people make when they find out that they have a food sensitivity resulting in a dietary restriction is to either freak out until their departure date or cancel their vacation altogether (yes, seriously). 

Please don’t do this. Your dietary restriction is not the end of the world, and it doesn’t have to mean the end of a perfectly enjoyable vacation. If you follow the tips outlined above, you can still have the time of your life exploring the cenotes of Mexico or zip lining through the rainforest in Costa Rica. So, make a plan, download a really good translation app, and pack some emergency food because you’re going on vacation!

Do you think that you might have a food sensitivity? Check out our Bloodprint panels for peace of mind. The power of knowing is better than the anxiety of guessing.