continuing on with the travel theme (as summer is fast approaching), there are several ways to learn about celiac-friendly restaurants before traveling.
the first thing I do when I plan a trip, is go online and look up any local celiac groups at my destination. hopefully they’ll have a website, because celiac groups’ websites virtually always include links to various restaurants that have gluten-free options. oftentimes they always write a little tidbit of what exactly each restaurant offers for us, which can be very helpful. (local blogs such as this can be useful to search for as well.)
if there is no website, there’s usually a local CDF (Celiac Disease Foundation) or GIG (Gluten Intolerance Group) chapter, with an email address for a contact person listed. in such cases, I email the person and let them know my situation and ask if they have any suggestions for celiac-friendly restaurants.
there are also websites that contain info, state-by-state, on gluten-free restaurants. one of my favorites is the Gluten Free Registry. besides listing each restaurant by state, you can also choose one particular city if you prefer to focus on just one area. also, they list not only gluten-free restaurants, but also grocers, bakeries, vacation destinations, etc that offer either a special gluten-free menu or specialty GF items. they also offer GPS programs that you can download, again by state. this can be very helpful on road trips!
another travel website for restaurants is the Gluten Free Travel Site. they’re worldwide, and have more extensive reviews of the restaurants, rather than just a website and address. I find this site to be a little less useful, as it can be difficult to look for a particular city. also, multiple reviews of the same place aren’t consolidated into one listing. that being said, I still check it before trips in case of any hot tips. and it’s definitely geared more towards travelers, so the detailed information in the reviews can be very useful. and because their scope is worldwide, it’s possible to find restaurants when traveling abroad.
Gluten-Free On the Go is a UK-based website that lists various celiac-friendly restaurants. again, the organization of this doesn’t seem to make much sense to me. but it lists a ton of restaurants in the UK, Europe, Australia and elsewhere worldwide. so it’s a great source for travel abroad. they also have a tab that lists celiac contacts in many countries, for additional information before traveling.
an update from a comment below, is that there is one main site in Camada that is well-monitored, called The Celiac Scene. so if you are in Canada or plan to travel there, be sure to check out this website.
Allergy Eats website is one that I haven’t used much, but I know that they account for other allergens as well when making restaurant recommendations. it’s worth checking out if you have multiple allergies.
then there are several types of books that can be helpful. some books list restaurants with gluten-free options available~ Triumph Dining is a prime example of this. they list the restaurants by state, and they sort it further by metro area for big cities.
Let’s Eat Out travel books are very useful. for international travel, they have a list of basic terminology for each of the main allergens, translated into 5 languages. they also list 7 different ethnic cuisines (whether you’re eating them in the USA or abroad), and what ingredients are generally safe (gluten- or allergen-free) or potentially dangerous (gluten- or other allergen-containing).
something else that can be useful for travel, as you may not always be able to find a restaurant that’ll be knowledgeable about gluten-free meals, are dining cards. gluten-free dining cards can be found online for free, and area also available for purchase from many companies. some of the better ones are available from Triumph Dining. their dining cards are available in ten languages (english on one side, the other language’s translation on the other), and are tailored to each cuisine.
in order to make these sources more useful, if you find that a website or restaurant guide is missing a restaurant that you know to be celiac-friendly or have a gluten-free menu, it’s great to be proactive and let them know. their websites have areas to suggest new businesses or write new reviews. and just because they’re travel websites doesn’t mean that you can’t update your hometown area. it benefits everyone if you share your discoveries.
traveling gluten-free can be a little more challenging. but with all of these resources available (and many of them for free), it makes the whole process easier. less time worrying means more time relaxing, so do your research ahead of time so that you can enjoy yourself during your trip! happy travels!