When traveling with a big group of friends, food is something that can bring everyone together. At the same time, it can also be what divides people if everyone has vastly different dietary needs. But it’s important to remember that dietary restrictions aren’t necessarily a bad thing, and eating together will make your trip more enjoyable.
Take the pressure off your friendships and scroll through our simple tips on how to make sure everyone you love is fed, happy, and allergy-free while traveling.
1 Get organized.
Once tickets are booked, keep a record of who’s allergic to what and who doesn’t eat certain foods. Knowing these things ahead of time is safer, because it allows everyone to look out for one another and it also makes it easier to plan meals.
2 Make reservations.
If someone in your crew is vegetarian, vegan, celiac, or anything else, do some advance prep to find spots where everyone can eat — and then make reservations. Chances are that those with specific diets are used to compromising, so it may not be as difficult as you think. It may take some time and effort, but it will all be worth it when everybody is having the best time. Plus, you’ll be seated right away with a reservation, so picking out where to eat in advance is beneficial for all.
3 It’s OK to eat separately.
However, don’t feel the need to reserve tables for every meal. On top of opposing diets, people may be on different schedules and may not always want to eat at the same time. Let the gang fend for themselves sometimes and just ask when they all want to reconvene again.
4 Let your servers know what’s up, and bring translated explanations.
Your server is your golden ticket to the kitchen. As soon as you sit down, make your dietary restrictions clear — otherwise, you may be served something you can’t eat. If you’re visiting a foreign country and can’t speak the local language, have someone in the group translate for you or write out a translation of your requirements to avoid any mistakes with your meal.
5Take a group trip to the grocery store.
To eliminate any hangry arguments, you and your friends should go pick up snacks to have on hand. If there’s a kitchen available, consider grabbing ingredients for a home-cooked group meal, because cooking for yourselves is an easy way to ensure everyone’s needs are taken care of.
6Look for diet-friendly destinations.
Berlin is one of the most vegan-friendly cities in the world, while Indian and Thai cuisines offer a variety of vegetarian options. Whatever your group’s diets require, there will be places where your needs will best be met — you just have to be open to going there.
7 Be flexible.
Isn’t that what group traveling is all about? You’re likely not going to have everything go your way when traveling with lots of people, but going with the flow could leave you with new experiences and foods you never thought you’d try. Have fun and best of luck!