3 Things to Consider When Traveling with a Dietary Concern

One of the perks of travel is to taste new and different cuisines. This can be hard if you have dietary concerns. After all, you are special; your needs and wants are important and when it comes to food, these needs can make or break your trip.

  1. Know and stick to your dietary concern.

There are 7 types of vegetarian.  Do you know the differences? There are ovo vegetarian, lacto vegetarian, lacto-ovo vegetarian, pollotarian, pescatarian, vegan, and flexitarian. There are also allergies, food intolerances, and dislikes.  There are a lot of choices, it’s no wonder chefs and restaurants in foreign countries sometimes have a hard time understanding what your dietary need is.
Your travel agent or tour operator acts as the middle-man when it comes to your dietary concern.  Your requests are given to airlines, hotels and restaurants where food reservations were made on your behalf. When you check-in for flights or arrive at a restaurant please double check your dietary request has been received.
It is also prudent to stick to your dietary requests.  The staff has gone out of their way to accommodate your request; it is not the time to come off your diet because your neighbor’s dinner looks appetizing. You may laugh at this, but those that relay their dislikes or food intolerances have the luxury of changing their minds as their dietary concern is a preference not an allergy, I’ve seen it happen, it’s not polite. If you do change your mind, talk to your tour manager or host and they will see what they can do to change your upcoming meals, not the one that is currently being served.

  1. Don’t expect a substitute for everything.

You are not at home or in Kansas anymore. Food will be different, embrace it.  Chances are you will not find gluten free bread in Europe.  If your group dinner is having chocolate cake and you are a vegetarian, a chocolate cake made without eggs will not appear.   On the bright side, Europe has fantastic, fresh cuisine.  With all the in season vegetables,  fresh cheeses,  and meats, you will not go hungry.

  1. Bring Snacks.

Just like at home, you may not be able to eat when you are hungry.  Having a stash of non-perishable snack you can eat will be very helpful. They also help if you end up leaving a meal still hungry.