Planning the perfect gluten-free vacation doesn’t end with booking your reservation—you still have to get there, which often involves a full day spent in airports! While the gluten-free options available at airports are increasing, it is still not something you should count on (especially in foreign countries). We’ve rounded up our top tips for gluten-free travel snacks that should not only help during your day of travel, but throughout your whole trip!
Tips for Packing Gluten-Free Travel Snacks
If you’ve been gluten-free for any significant length of time, you’ve probably realized by now that fresh = safe. Unfortunately, spending a day traveling from airport to airport doesn’t exactly provide the food storage required for such food. You may be able to pack some fresh food items for the first leg of your travels, but after that, things can get a bit tricky. We’ve mapped out a few gluten-free travel snack scenarios below so you can take away the tips that apply to your next vacation!
Gluten-Free Traveling: Fresh, Airport-Friendly Food
Take advantage of the ability to pack fresh food for the first leg of your trip. Below are some gluten-free travel snacks that are easy to pack in your carry-on, while also providing the sustenance you need for a long day in the sky.
- Gluten-Free Oatmeal: Make a batch of overnight oats the night before your trip so you can grab it from the fridge in the morning and transfer it to an insulated lunchbox. Use a plastic container for your oats (not the popular glass jar seen on Pinterest), so you don’t have to worry about your bag being thrown around throughout the day or getting stopped by security.
- Homemade Energy Bites: Homemade energy bites are a favorite among the gluten-free community. Since these bites require refrigeration to stay fresh, you’ll only be able to eat them during the departure day of travel, and not your return (unless your carry-on is a cooler!). A simple search on Pinterest will return a plethora of gluten-free recipes if you don’t already have a favorite. We recommend packing homemade energy bites or bars in an insulated lunchbox so you have a healthy, energizing snack that’s not only delicious, but easy to munch on—even when the captain has the seatbelt light turned on!
- Fruit & Veggies: So simple, yet you may forget to think of packing such simple, healthy options when traveling. We recommend packing fruit and veggies that can be munched on as you’re on the go—and won’t get squished in your bag! Pack an apple and side of peanut butter for the perfect layover snack, or cut up raw veggies for the perfect “finger food” option. While you can purchase fresh produce at the airport, it oftentimes isn’t as fresh as what you can get at the organic section in your local grocer (not to mention it’s much more expensive at the airport).
Gluten-Free Traveling: Shelf-Friendly Travel Options
Fresh gluten-free food only lasts up to a certain point, and if you’re traveling a far distance, it may only hold you over for a fourth of your travel day. The good news is that there are numerous healthy, shelf-stable options that you can pack in your carry on to get you through your travels—and beyond. Below are some of our favorite shelf-stable, gluten-free travels snack options:
- Gluten-Free Snack Bars: There are several gluten-free brands out there offering snack bars, but we’ve listed our favorite options to help make the process a bit easier: Larabar, The GFB, KIND Snacks, LUNA Bars, and thinkThin bars and protein bites. Pack more bars than you think you’ll need for your travel days because these serve as great snacks during your actual vacation, and come in handy during your return flight home!
- GoPicnic On-the-Go Meals & Snacks: GoPicnic offers gluten-free meal and snack options that are perfect for long days of travel. Some airports even sell this gluten-free option, but since you can never count on spotting it near your gate, we recommend packing your own. Visit the GoPicnic website to see the full list of gluten-free breakfast, lunch and snack options they have before departing on your next trip.
- Nuts and Trail Mix: A handful of almonds can go a long way when you’re traveling, and are about the easiest thing to throw in your carry on. Pack your favorite raw nuts or trail mix to serve as the perfect gluten-free travel snack when your stomach starts to growl. And don’t be afraid to pack more than you think you’ll need as this is a snack you can eat throughout your entire vacation!
Gluten-Free Traveling: Suitcase Snacks
While you should definitely pack food in your carry on for your travel days, we also recommend including some essential gluten-free items into your checked baggage. You may find that you need a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack during your stay, and depending on the hotel’s dining options, it may be easiest to have food on standby in your hotel room. Below are some gluten-free essentials that can go a long way when hunger strikes:
- Gluten-Free Bread & Peanut/Almond Butter: A slice of gluten-free bread with a spread of peanut butter or almond butter can go a long way between lunch and dinner (especially if you eat a late dinner after a day of adventures or excursions!). Pack a loaf of gluten-free bread in your suitcase and a jar of your favorite nut butter. Be sure to pack a thawed loaf of bread. When it comes to travel-friendly gluten-free bread, we like Udi’s, Canyon Bakehouse, Schar and Aldi’s liveGfree brand. *Tip: pack plastic knives in your checked baggage to make it easier to spread the nut butter!
- Gluten-Free Crackers: There are a ton of different gluten-free cracker options available today. Whether it’s a plain cracker to dip in peanut butter, or a seasoned nut-based cracker, these make the perfect gluten-free travel snack options. When packing these in your checked baggage, be sure to put in a plastic tupperware container to help prevent them from becoming completely smooshed! Some of our favorite brands include Glutino original crackers, Crunchmaster Multi-Seed crackers, and Blue Diamond Nut Thins.
At Arenas del Mar, we restock our guest’s hotel rooms with gluten-free snacks every day. Offering locally-sourced gluten-free snacks to our guests allows them to learn more about the culture of Costa Rica, while having another worry-free gluten-free experience! Plus, with all of the activities offered at the hotel, including bird watching and nature hikes, we know you’ll be hungry!
Gluten-Free Traveling: Options for a Worry Free Stay
Planning ahead and packing gluten-free travel snacks can make a world of difference when it comes to your next trip—whether hunger strikes while you’re at the airport or at your destination. To truly plan a worry-free gluten-free vacation, the key is to make sure that your destination not only offers gluten-free options (so you don’t have to dip into your stash of gluten-free suitcase food or run to the vending machine), but also is trained in gluten-free food preparation.
For help choosing a hotel that offers the gluten-free options you need, read our guide for planning a gluten-free vacation. You will also learn how Arenas del Mar ensures gluten-free guests have the relaxing vacation they deserve, complete with endless food options. Once guests arrive on the grounds of Arenas del Mar, they don’t go hungry. In other words, if you plan to visit Arenas del Mar for your next vacation, you can leave the pre-packaged gluten-free travel snacks you packed in your suitcase for your trip home, because you certainly won’t need it after seeing our dining options!
If you have questions about the gluten-free options at Arenas del Mar, or are interested in learning more about the hotel and accommodations, email our guest services team at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call toll free at 1.800.394.5970.
Learn More About our Commitment to Serving our Gluten-Free Guests:
- Our Family Connection to Gluten-Free Living
- 3 Tips to Planning the Ultimate Gluten-Free Vacation
- Training Through Beyond Celiac GREAT Kitchens Program