7 Travel Tips & Advice for Traveling with Celiac Disease

7 Travel Tips & Advice for Traveling with Celiac Disease

1. Do your homework. If you'll be eating meals at a hotel or a resort, you need to find out if the chefs/servers will practice due diligence to ensure your food safety.  How? Email the hotel manager and ask. If not, you need to choose another hotel.

2. When eating out, use the words Celiac-friendly meals instead of asking for gluten-free meals. 

3. If you're traveling to a foreign country where you're very concerned about your gluten free food choices, consider purchasing an allergy card like this one available on Amazon.

4. If you're flying, always carry a fairly decent amount of gluten free snacks with you in your carry-on bag and in your suitcase. 

  • Buy a few bigger boxes of things that you can easily divide up. 
  • One of my lifesavers every morning was gluten-free instant oatmeal. In India, I used bottled water to mix it and ate it cold every morning. Then I'd grab a banana from a market. 
  • And if you have GF left overs that you brought with you, you can simply leave them behind in your hotel room before you return home.

5. Depending on the length of the flight, many airlines still provide gluten-free meals at no cost, if requested in advance. This was a gluten-free meal selection on board a  train in India.

6. Gluten-free associations in your destination city or country can be a great reference. Ask for a list of GF restaurants/bakeries. 

7. There's gotta be an app for that: I've see many out there that list GF restaurants, but I haven't tried one yet, have you?

Check out this great resource: Is This Gluten Free??

9 Reasons to See Van Gogh & Monet in France

While I planned on writing an in-depth article about my visit to Giverny and Auvers-sur-Oise in France, once home to Claude Monet and Vincent Van Gogh respectively, I haven't had the time to follow through with this pursuit...so I'm going to list my favorite things about my visit instead as I still haven't sorted through my Google Photos ;) Here are 9 Reasons to See Van Gogh & Monet in France.

And check out this Rick Steves video I just watched: 
Giverny, France: Monet's Gardens -

1. Because you can see the actual water lilies from Monet's paintings. The. Actual. Water Lilies.
Foundation Claude Monet

2. Because you can see the actual sunflowers from Monet's paintings. The. Actual. Sunflowers.
Metropolitan Museum of Art

3. If you're in Paris, it's only 49 minutes by train to Vernon-Giverny. 

4. Monet's vast gardens are stunning. Simply stunning. And after all, Monet lived did live here from 1883 to 1926.

Foundation Claude Monet

5. Because you can visit Ravoux Inn and see the empty room where Van Gogh spent the last 70 days of his life before committing suicide in 1890: Nothing to see, but everything to feel...

Maison de Van Gogh

6. Because Auvers-sur-Oise is even more beautiful than Van Gogh painted.
Auvers-sur-Oise Office de Tourisme

7. Because you can pay your respects to both Vincent and his beloved brother, Theo, at their quaint graveside in the Auvers-sur-Oise cemetery.
Institut Van Gogh

8. Because Auvers-sur-Oise is just over an hour from Paris.

9. Because art is inspiring. Have you tried the Google Arts & Culture app? What do you think, does this artwork look like me? Try with your own #selfie at g.co/art/selfie #GoogleArts Portrait of Harriet Clark Ferrell

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art

An here's one last video I came across: Loving Vincent - the world's first oil-painted feature film. What?? Check it:


Happy Chinese New Year: Ocean Park Hong Kong

Have you ever heard of Ocean Park Hong Kong? Me neither, but it's the largest theme park in Asia! In this Year of the Dog, Ocean Park will be celebrating Chinese New Year from February 16 to the 25th during their Lunar Lucky Fiesta extravaganza. Let's take a look at what they're up to!

  • Ocean Park has put together a carnival-themed float for the Cathay Pacific International Chinese New Year Night Parade on February 16th
    • What's the big news here? This parade will mark the first time ever that the parks' mascots, Whiskers & Friends, will appear in Chinese New Year costumes!
  • Lunar Lucky Fiesta will offer attractions and performances by the Chio-Tian Folk Drums & Arts Troupe from Taiwan, entitled Divine Drums Celebration. Sample one of their vibrant, rhythmic performances here:

  • A Nostalgic New Year Bazaar will include handmade items and a selection of street food
  • Presented by Mine Train, the popular Samsung Gear VR, VR Challenges Zone and VR Arcade will also be present during the fiesta. Check it out here:

Quick facts about Ocean Park Hong Kong:
  • opened in 1977 and underwent a huge redevelopment in 2009
  • in 1993, the Ocean Park Conservation Foundation was established
  • Ocean Park Hong Kong is more than 915,000 square meters in size, or about 226 acres, where as Disneyland comes in at roughly 84 acres, wow!
  • there are thrill rides and animal attractions including a red panda exhibit, plus a cable car system to help you get around, and one of the tallest Southeast Asia observation towers at 72 meters in height, about 236 feet

For more information, check out the Lunar Lucky Fiesta or Hong Kong Ocean Park.


Journalling While You Travel

As a writer, I've always had a notebook with me when I've traveled, whether it be just an hour away or to explore a foreign country. My notebook of choice is anything Moleskine, as I love the durability, portability and variety of formats available. And seriously, don't be fooled by imitation Molsekine-like notebooks as they end up being crap in the end - the spines break or pages just fall right out of the book :(

You can't go wrong with a Moleskine Classic Large Rule Notebook

I've also heard great things about Midori notebooks. I can see how these leather bound notebooks would age with use making them part of the memories you're creating as you travel. When you're checking these out, be sure to note that many times you're just buying the outside cover, not the paper inside. But, they're completely refillable, which is great! You can remove your notes and catalogue them upon returning home, insert a new refill and you're ready to go again. You can also customize them with pen holders and brass plates for the elastic closure.

Midori Traveler's Notebook Brown Leather

If you're traveling with small children, I highly recommend getting them their very own journal so they can record their vacation according to their eyes! I found this great kids' travel journal with puzzles, blank pages for drawing and prompts to help them write down what they've seen and done. This travel journal is especially perfect if your child has a summer class project about their vacation, bonus! You can also add photos when you're done to complete the process. <3

Kids' Travel Journal

The one thing I wish I could do personally when traveling is draw or paint in my journal. I love watercolors! I've attempted a few sketches here and there but wow, just not worth my disappointment when I'm done and the feeling that I've screwed up my entire journal with my lame drawing, ughhhh, lol. Here's a great option if watercolor on the go interests you, while the second book encourages everyone to try drawing. And even you. Yes, YOU! :)

And speaking of writing, check out the Ernest Hemingway Home in Key West, Florida!!