Passport and Plates: How to Travel with Dietary Needs

What’s the next best thing after traveling around the world? Easy–eating food from around the world! But what can be one foodie’s dream can be another one’s nightmare. Whether your dietary restriction is or isn’t by choice, you shouldn’t let it get in the way of visiting the places on your bucket list. Thanks to other fellow hungry travelers, there are plenty of tips and tricks to use that will make eating abroad a piece of cake.

Do your research ahead of time

While you’re doing your research about all the “must-eats” to try during your trip, you might also want to look at other restaurants to get an idea of a typical dish that’s served in the area. Ask yourself the question; Will my request be understood by locals? DineSafe is an app that helps you search restaurants nearby according to any dietary restrictions like allergies, vegetarianism or intolerances both in your local neighborhood and while traveling abroad.  

Order dietary translation cards

We know it can be hard enough to learn how to say “Where’s the washroom?” in a foreign language, let alone trying to explain a dietary restriction! That’s why ordering a translation card is a great travel accessory to have in your back pocket, making it easy to bring with you when going out for meals. Pro tip: use the phrase “I’m allergic to” instead of “I can’t eat” that way the restaurant understands the severity of the situation.

Find accommodations where you can cook for yourself

If you can’t find a chef who can accommodate your request, why not become the chef yourself? Build your own creation so you can be sure of exactly where and how your plate is prepped and safe to eat. When searching for a place to stay, keep an eye out for Airbnbs with kitchens or hotel rooms that include a microwave or fridge. You can also try CookApp, which gives you the best of both worlds by connecting you with other travelers to cook a local dish led by a pro chef! But don’t worry, you can tell the host about your dietary restrictions ahead of time that way you can make any necessary changes to your dish.

Bring snacks for the ride

Between getting off a flight to catching a shuttle to your hotel, you might not even have time to stop for a bite. That’s why sometimes it’s simplest to bring your own snacks for the trip so you know it’s a safe bet to keep you energized throughout your travels. The good news is the TSA allows most food items to board the plane with you, besides liquids of course. Double check their list before your flight to be 100% sure your go-to snack is allowed in your carry-on.


What are your strategies when you’re traveling with dietary restrictions? Share with us in the comments below!