Traveling is tricky for people with celiac disease and those with gluten sensitivities. You find yourself asking so many questions: Where do you eat safely? What are the grocery stores that can accommodate your gluten free foods (and are they anywhere near me?) These are all things we investigate before leaving.
A few years ago after talking with a customer service person with the now extinct Northwest Airlines she gave me a great idea I have used ever since. She said we can bring an extra carry-on labeled “medical supplies” — and we won’t be charged for it.
I first did it three years ago, the last time we went to Charleston, SC and it worked marvelously (well except for the aerosol can of cooking spray I tossed in there at the last minute—turns out the security isn’t too fond of this on board a flight. I thought I was saving money on cooking supplies—oops!).
Ever since- I have more carefully- packed this box for family trips. Plus, I sent a box with Ida, our then-exchange student, when she went to Hawaii with other exchange students during her stay with us.
This trip I grabbed a cooler and loaded it with food I wanted Emma to have – and I labeled it with tape saying “Medical Supplies”.
Packing your Gluten Free Medical Supplies
Well first of all, don’t bring an aerosol can! Secondly don’t pack liquid.
Here’s what I packed for the current trip I am on: Snyders of Hanover Gluten Free Pretzels, MiDel Chocolate “oreo style” cookies, Schar crackers, Gluten Free Bisquick, and Tinkyada Brown Rice Noodles.
Some of the items were more for plane snacking. Some of the items (Bisquick and noodles) were packed in case I couldn’t find them in Charleston. We are staying at a beach home and will be doing most of our own cooking, (which ended up to be a good thing because at this point, I haven’t found much at the local Piggly Wiggly — except for a major score on the Gluten Free Rice Krispies!).
It paid off when Emma had some pretzels on the plane as a snack. Plus, had supplements in the afternoon because we were only able to get her a cheeseburger (no bun) at a Burger King for lunch.
So in the three times I’ve done this, two times security pulled us aside. So that might be something you want to be prepared for. The first was of course the aerosol can day. But I got pulled aside Saturday as well.
The good news is I was better prepared this time. None of the items were opened except the Schar crackers which actually were separately packaged inside the open package. So I wasn’t worried about security confiscating anything– and if they did, well that would add a whole other dimension to this blog post now wouldn’t it?
Just be prepared for that to possibly happen and know that you’re confident in what’s inside the box or cooler you are carrying on.
This technique has worked for us with Northwest, Delta and US Airways. But be sure to check with your airline if you have any concerns. While it was one more thing to carry, it brought with it peace of mind.