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Travelling with Coeliac Disease


Winter in New Zealand is often the time when people are thinking of travelling.  We get bombarded with ads for cheaper flights to sunny places.  Fiji, Bali and all the Islands in between conjure up images of white sand, clear waters, and days spent lounging on a beach with a book and a beverage.

As well as the sun, food is another joy of travelling, sampling the local delicacies, and trying new and exotic flavours, should all be an enjoyable part of the trip for every traveller.  But what about when you have coeliac disease?  Where do you start? 


Before you embark on your journey, do your research.  Being prepared and knowing what you can expect will make your holiday journey more relaxing.  A great starting point is your mode of transport – are you flying, driving, sailing or other.  Research the availability of food options on your mode of transport, and ensure you contact them to talk through your requirements.   Find out what foods and drinks you can take with you on your journey and to your destination country.

With your destination in mind, look up your accommodation provider and find out what food options they have, both in-house and the surrounding area.  Contact them and specify your requirements.  Research the area and surrounds and see what is available – markets, supermarkets, cafes, and restaurants.  What information can you gather online? Contact them directly and ask about their knowledge and options for meals.

Another tip for travellers is to contact the local coeliac society (if they have one) and enquire about the area, what resources they have, what suggestions they may be able to offer, and what is the legislation around food in the area.  Find local groups online and ask lots of questions – their experiences, their recommendations and those to avoid (remember this is subjective feedback).   Ask within our Coeliac community – who has been to this place, what recommendations they have, and what tips can they offer.   The wealth of information usually comes from experience, so ensure you find those who have been there and done that.

Don’t forget about the other considerations when travelling.  Ensure you have any necessary medications, check your insurance before you go, and find out about the local health system and how to access this if needed.

Preparation is the key to a safe and enjoyable holiday.   Have fun and soak up the experiences that travelling has to offer with the knowledge that your preparation and research paid off.

Article provided by Coeliac NZ's Dietary Education Manager Suzanne Aitken.

For top tips for travelling with coeliac disease watch this video from Coeliac NZ Ambassador Morgan MacKenzie.

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