Dairy-Free Travel Tips
Updated: Mar 15, 2021
Travelling can be an exciting opportunity to see the world and experience something new and different from our everyday life. As exciting and fun as it can be to travel, not being familiar with safe restaurant options can often cause stress, anxiety and uncertainty about where to dine. When in a foreign speaking country, language barriers are another concern when trying to communicate your dietary restrictions confidently or clearly. Worrying about whether or not the restaurant will have any dairy-free options or wondering if they will be able to accommodate your dietary restrictions is stressful and takes away from the joy of the adventure in that moment.
Below are some food-focused travel tips to help you spend more time enjoying your trip, instead of worrying about where you will safely eat your next meal.
1. Airplane Meals and Snacks
Depending on how long your flight is, you may have the opportunity to contact the airline and request a special meal that meets your dietary restrictions. Even then, things get missed and you could be without a meal and have a long, hungry unforeseen number of hours ahead of you. If you are on a shorter flight, meals and snack options may by limited and may not include any dairy-free options, especially by the time they get to the back of the plane. Eating a large meal right before leaving the house can help prolong hunger for worst case scenarios. When packing my carry-on, I pack a book, empty water bottle and SNACKS! When packing snacks, please keep in mind that nut allergies can be extremely serious, so stay away from nut-based snacks. Be sure to pack enough so that you have some remaining for the return flight home. Protein bars are a small sized snack that travels well and can get beat up in your suitcase, no problem. Simply Protein Bars travel very well because they aren't coated in chocolate so you don't need to worry about a melted mess when you open it.
Airplane Snack Ideas:
1. Protein Bars
2. A sandwich made with frozen bread so it stays cool until ready to be eaten
3. Granola Bars (nut free)
5. Hummus and Crackers
7. Trail Mix (with sunflower seeds)
8. Roasted Chickpeas
11. Chia Pudding
Of course, depending on if you are travelling domestically or internationally, you may not be able to bring all of these food items through security. Be sure to check rules and regulations prior to packing your airplane snacks.
2. Do Your Research:
Depending on what kind of traveller you are, you may or may not know where you will be on any given day, but you most likely will know what city you will be in on specific days. Doing your research on restaurant options that suit your needs in a variety of neighbourhoods can prevent your travel partner from experiencing indecisive frustration and hangriness. Although you might want meat, looking for vegan restaurants is your safest bet, especially when dealing with menus in another language. Obviously, stay away from certain kinds of cuisine such as Italian, French, a pizzeria, bakery, etc. If you are unsure or not confident with the waiter’s answers to your menu questions, go with something you know will contain no dairy, such as a steak or burger. Planning ahead can make the entire day more relaxing and enjoyable. If you find yourself in a place you hadn’t anticipated you might visit and did no research, there are a few apps to help you out!
a. Happy Cow
b. Allergy Eats
3. Important Dairy-Free Phrases:
“No dairy, please” – “no lácteos por favor”
“No cheese, please” – “sin queso por favor”
“Is this dairy-free?” – “Este diario es gratis?”
“No milk, please” – “sin leche por favor”
“Is there cream or butter in this?” – “Hay crema o mantequilla en esto?”
“What menu items have no dairy?” – “Qué elementos del menú no tienen lácteos?”
“No butter, please” – “Sin mantequilla, por favor”
"I'm allergic to dairy" - "Soy alérgico a los productos lácteos"
“No dairy, please” – “pas de produits laitiers, s'il vous plaît"
“No cheese, please” – “pas de fromage, s'il vous plaît"
“Is this dairy-free?” – “est-ce que ce produit est sans produits laitiers?"
“No milk, please” – “pas de lait s'il vous plait"
“Is there cream or butter in this?” - "y a-t-il de la crème ou du beurre dedans?"
“What menu items have no dairy?” – “quels éléments du menu n'ont pas de produits laitiers?"
“No butter, please” – “Pas de beurre, s'il vous plaît"
"I'm allergic to dairy" - "Je suis allergique aux produits laitiers"
When planning on where you are going to stay there are a few things to keep in mind. If you are staying in a hotel, choosing a room with a small fridge and kitchenette can be a helpful tool so you can cook at least one meal yourself with items picked up from a local grocery store. With that being said, you may want to choose a hotel that has a small grocery store nearby if you don’t have a rental car. If you are staying at an all-inclusive, it is recommended that prior to booking, you contact the hotel or a hotel representative to find out if your dairy-free accommodation can be met, besides eating lettuce for an entire week.
I hope some of these suggestions will be useful in making your dairy-free travel easier, smoother and more enjoyable. Many of these suggestions can also be applied to any dietary restriction! Although travelling can feel like a place to let loose and live a little, don’t forget about taking care of your body to fuel it right. Never shy away from self-advocating for your own well-being.
Do you have any food related go-to travel tips? Share them in the comments below!