Have Food Restrictions? 5 Tips for Surviving Airplane Travel.

The holiday season is upon us and traveling somewhere is inevitable. Traveling with food restrictions always makes me a little anxious. The hardest part is when things don’t go 100% according to plan. Like when your plane is delayed 4 hours and you’re in an airport terminal with a McDonalds, Nathans or other fast food chains. You’re not getting gluten-free, dairy-free anything there. Maybe a lettuce leaf? Not exactly sustaining. There’s nothing worse than being hangry and having zero options to get you through. I’ve been there and I learned my lesson.

When I was in college, my public speaking professor drilled into our heads that, “failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” It’s a little cheesy but this saying always pops into my head when I’m traveling. The thing is you just never know when a flight is going to get canceled or delayed. The best way to reduce food restriction travel anxiety is to prepare!

Travel Tips

  1. Research airlines and familiarize yourself with in-flight food options. i.e JetBlue typically has gluten-free/dairy-free options
  2. Google airport terminals and find out what restaurants and food options are available before you get there. For example, “all JFK terminal 4 restaurants”.Map of all jfk terminal 4 restaurants
  3. NEVER rely solely on what you think will be there when you are flying somewhere. It’s possible a restaurant will be closed if you have a super early or late flight. I always have a backpack of things to get me through. This often includes a mixture of the below snacks:
    • Lara Bars
    • Dried fruits like mango and dates
    • Lundberg Rice Cakes
    • Travel nut butter
    • Organic Teas
    • Mary’s Gone Crackers
    • Long flights: Lettuce wraps with Applegate Farms Turkey and an apple slice in a Ziploc bag (TSA will allow you to bring a small icepack as long as it’s frozen solid)
  4. Eat a big meal before you go anywhere
  5. Locate a store at your destination to restock on stuff

Where do I store all this stuff?

Whenever I travel, I bring a carry-on and a backpack to store my travel snacks and purse. If you don’t want to check a bag, make sure your purse fits in your backpack with your snacks. You’re typically allowed one bag and one personal item. Airlines can get picky about that kinda thing so double check everything fits before you leave the house.

When you have food restrictions, preparing for travel is a little extra work but it’s way better than being stranded in an airport without food options. When it’s just you and The Golden Arches, you’ll be thanking yourself that you came prepared.

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