I was diagnosed as a Celiac in 2010, and the thought of being gluten free was stressful. The thought of being a gluten free traveler was TRAUMATIZING. At the time, I worked in financial consulting and it was my job to travel. When I wasn’t traveling for work, I was traveling for fun. I was and still am a travel addict. I am determined to not let being a Celiac deter me from seeing the world!
With every trip I take, I get a little smarter, and a little closer to perfecting the art of being a gluten free traveler! I have had a lot of help and support along the way, from meeting Lindsey (the other half of The Gluten Free Travelers) in 2011, to the gluten free blogging community, and of course the rise in popularity of a gluten free diet. There are now airports I actually even look forward to traveling through because I know what gluten free treat is waiting for me just beyond those automatic opening doors!
Below is my list of TOP 5 Airports that every gluten free traveler should look forward to passing through!
1. BOSTON – My hometown airport.
Ok, I know I am a bit biased here, but seriously, how many airports in the world are there options like gluten free fish and chips (pictured below), gluten free calamari, and just about any other gluten free fried seafood your little heart desires? If you are passing through Boston, your airport experience is not complete without a visit to Legal Sea Foods in the JetBlue terminal.
2. VEGAS – because who doesn’t love Vegas?
If you are a gluten free traveler you have one more reason to love Vegas! Quietly mixed in with all the other fast food restaurants is Pei Wei. It’s a Chinese food chain restaurant owned by P.F. Chang’s and is mainly in the southwest of the United States. I had actually heard of it from Lindsey, before spotting it in the airport. It is one of her favorite places to go when she is visiting home in Arizona. The gluten free spicy chicken (pictured below) is delicious and exactly what you need after a weekend in Vegas! Pro Tip: Don’t forget to ask for the tamari gluten free soy sauce to go!
3. LOS ANGELES – When I am going going, back back, to Cali Cali.
When I did financial consulting my main client was in LA and I could not resist one last amazing gluten free Mexican meal before heading back to the Northeast. I still look forward to visits to CA or passing through the LAX airport to curb my Mexican food cravings. Although it is not the same as the local restaurants around the LA area, my LAX restaurant of choice is always On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina in Terminal 4. Don’t eat the chips there though, they are contaminated with gluten! Stick to the enchiladas or tacos if you are a Celiac.
4. LONDON (Heathrow) – the perfect layover location.
I don’t know about you, but just about every cost effective flight I have taken to Europe, the Middle East, or Africa has had a layover in Heathrow. Luckily, several years ago I discovered Wagamama in the main terminal (the one where you must wait in order to find out what gate you will be required to run to for your next flight). Wagamama has since opened up several locations all over the world, but it is still my London Heathrow go to! They have awesome gluten free noodles, soups, and rice dishes that always keep me full and satisfied for the next leg of my journey.
5. ISTANBUL – my newest gluten free airport find.
In Summer 2015, I visited Istanbul, Turkey for a quick three day trip on my way to Croatia. I was amazed by all of the incredible gluten free finds! My two best discoveries were the gluten free baklava (you read that right) from Karakoy Gulluoglu and Turkish delight (in Turkey it is referred to as Lokum), a staple found all over the country (see pictures of both below). After much research, I learned that Turkish delight is naturally gluten free AND vegan. It is thickened with cornstarch and such a tasty dessert! In the airport there is an “on the go” version of the Grand Bazaar and it is filled with samples of every type of Turkish delight you could ever imagine. Be careful though, they know how to sell you!
Although the airports above are all fantastic for being a gluten free traveler, admittedly not every airport is – when I find myself stuck, I usually look for a smoothie or froyo place, such as Jamba Juice or Freshens. Also, many of the convenient stores have gluten free snacks available and I have learned to never leave the house without a gluten free cereal bar on hand!
If you have a favorite airport for gluten free options we would love to hear your recommendations! Please feel free to comment below or contact us directly using the Contact page.
Happy gluten free traveling!!!