This is another installment of the gluten-free living series! Rest assured, there will be a recipe coming later this week, but for now, a quick recap of my trip to Las Vegas and some travel tips - gluten-free style! Traveling while being gluten-free can be incredibly frustration and tiring. Finding gluten-free food in the airport and in a new city is difficult enough, let alone trying to find something that 1.) keeps you full 2.) is healthy and 3.) doesn't require you to sell your pup to pay for an airport snack. This weekend was my bachelorette getaway to Las Vegas and honestly, I was slightly anxious about traveling and enjoying Vegas gluten-free. Luckily, I planned ahead and was able to have an amazing weekend that made being gluten-free easy. Having an amazing group of friends who understand gluten-free and having another person who is gluten-free also helped.
First and foremost, my bachelorette weekend was such a blast - there were sashes, blow up dolls, veils, drinks, food, and dancing until our feet were dead. I couldn't have asked for a better party or better group of bridesmaids. Thank you to all my bridesmaids and my ah-mazing MOH for the amazing trip. I love you all dearly and can't wait to see you in a month! I knew this trip was going to be unforgettable no matter what, but utilizing some tips made it easier and allowed me to fully enjoy my vacation without worrying about getting sick. So without further ado, here are some gluten-free travel tips within my Las Vegas recap.
We got up mega early, 4AM early, to catch our flight to Vegas. Unfortunately, our initial flight was delayed and we missed our connecting flight. We made the best of it by drinking giant mimosas at 9:30AM in the airport and marveling at the fact that the Chicago airport has the cleanest, most awesome bathrooms ever. When we finally arrived in Vegas we quickly got to our hotel. We had a LivingSocial deal for the Palms Place hotel and scored an awesome suite complete with a kitchen, enough room to sleep four people, and a bathroom so huge that all four of us could get ready at the same time. After putting our things done, we hung out by the pool, hit happy hour, and got ready for dinner.
Highlight of the night was definitely the champagne, catching up with everyone, and the complimentary giant bowl of pink cotton candy that the restaurant brought us. Cotton candy heaven! Most of us crashed pretty hard since we had been up for 24 hours and I went to bed fairly early since I had only slept 2 hours the night before and I knew I needed to be well rested for the next day.
We got up, grabbed coffee, and I went back to the room to make breakfast which brings me to my first tip. Tip #1: Pack your own food! Before I left, I packed some single serving oatmeal for the mornings by combining gluten-free oats and my favorite Sunwarrior protein powder in individual bags. All I had to do in the room was add water, microwave, and fuel up! Breakfast is usually a really difficult meal to eat gluten-free and healthy so packing my own made things a hundred times easier. I also brought some nuts to munch on during the flights to keep me full.
After getting ready we explored the Strip and went to Caesar's Palace and the Venetian. Both were so pretty although I have to say, the Venetian was amazing! We thoroughly enjoyed walking around and seeing the sights.
We made a quick pit stop (read: booze stop) and went back to get ready for our dinner reservation which brings me to the second tip. Tip #2: Do your research! Prior to going to Vegas, I did some research about restaurants that were gluten-free friendly, delicious, and reasonably priced. We ended up making reservations at a restaurant in the Paris called Mon Ami Gabi because 1.) it has my name it!, 2.) they had a dedicated gluten-free menu and 3.) they were pretty well priced. They brought out gluten-free bread and olives for the gluten-free folks and I had some gluten-free steak frites. Knowing that there was a gluten-free menu was great and allowed me to spend my time at dinner drinking frangria (french sangria which I am now obsessed with), getting serenaded in Russian by a restaurant manager, and laughing with my friends who were singing Lady Gaga at the top of their lungs.
After dinner, we walked around and made a quick pit stop to buy some shoe inserts. None of us wear heels on a super regular basis so our feet were d-y-i-n-g on the hard casino floors. We then scooted over to TAO and danced our feet off and then went back to the Palms casino for some gambling lessons from my MOH. Going to all the different casinos and the club made me so glad that one of my bridesmaids brought along hand sanitizer which brings me to tip three. Tip #3: Clean your hands often! This may seem like a strange tip but it is an important one for everyone, gluten-free and gluten-full. Traveling means you come into contact with lots of people and everything they have touched - that includes all the bread they have eaten and all the beer they had spilled. This means that when you touch that surface and then reapply your lip gloss or touch your mouth, you could potential get a few bits of gluten in your system. I'm pretty sensitive so touching gluten and then touching my mouth affect me, but this isn't the case for everyone. It never hurts to be too cautious though! Plus, god knows what things are lurking on Vegas stairwells and escalators (P.S. I definitely just type sexaltors).
We went to bed pretty late and woke up early to catch our flight back to the East Coast. I ended up eating my oatmeal packet with a grande soy milk from Starbucks to make some oatmeal protein cereal. I'm so glad I did this since it only cost me about $5 to get the grande soy milk and a grande coffee and I had a filling, healthy breakfast! On the flights, I munched on some pecans to keep my hunger at bay (see Tip #1!). I had a grilled chicken salad for lunch on our flight back and quickly realized that somehow, I had been glutened. Tip #4: Always, always ask! This is especially true if you're traveling to a new place. I think that my grilled chicken may have been marinaded in something with gluten which caused me to look like I was 6 months pregnant and have an awful headache on a long flight. I made a mistake by not asking since I assumed it was safe. Lesson learned.
I'm so glad I planned ahead and was able to enjoy my bachelorette getaway to the fullest extent possible. My bridesmaids and MOH were such a big help and an amazing support system in helping me figure out ways to be gluten-free in Vegas. Tip #5: Educate your travel buddies! My friends and family have a pretty good sense of what I can and cannot safely eat and it makes all the difference. It helps avoid confusion about restaurant choices and puts everyone at ease. If you're traveling with people who may need some more information, feel free to send them some blog links and type up a little list of what is and isn't safe. I did this for my future in-laws that I was meeting for the first time over Thanksgiving and it really made all the difference.
The best tip? Have fun and don't stress! If you do some planning and research, you can avoid a lot of frustration and have more time to do fun things, like walk around in a sash and veil.