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  1. #1
    Lady Grok's Avatar
    Lady Grok is offline Senior Member
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    The Primal Traveler

    My husband and I leave for Rome on Monday to spend two weeks in Italy (Rome, Tuscany, and Venice.) We're going to be staying with family one week, and the other week involves hotels.

    I am getting packed now, and am beginning to panic. Even though I know enough Italian to decipher a menu and am aware that actual Italian food isn't as carb-heavy as the U.S. equivalent, so many things have changed lifestyle-wise since my last big trip!

    I am anticipating that my hardest decent food-finding mission is going to be in the airport. I am prepared to eat a big meal before we leave the house, and IF for as long as I can manage after that if I need to. I ordered a gluten-free meal the last time we flew, and it turned out to be mostly undercooked rice, and was totally inedible and disgusting.

    I am trying to prepare in advance, and am planning on stashing a bonanza in my carry-on: macadamia nuts, fruit and veggies, mini-cheeses, dark chocolate. I may go all out and make some beef jerky and kale chips before we leave as well.

    Another thing: I am going to have to give my carry-on bag a big face lift. My old Secret mini-deodorant, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, conventional shampoo and conditioner, toothpaste, you name it, have all been eliminated or replaced by more natural items. In some ways it is easier, although I am wondering how well coconut oil travels...and if it's hot in the airport, will it count as a liquid? What if they confiscate it? It might be the only item in my "liquid bag" if that's the case. I doubt Coconut oil is easy to find in Italy. Also, are they going to look at me funny when the sensor reveals a crystal deodorant rock and a big bag of white powder(baking soda!) in a Ziploc bag?

    Then again, I have ditched my hair dryer, so that saves me some weight on my luggage. I need about half the amount of products I normally would, so ditto. My clothing is also much lighter, since it is a smaller size than before, and I don't feel the need to cover myself from neck to ankles like a nun.

    Any other suggestions? (In other words, am I forgetting anything?)
    With Mark's help, I've conquered depression, acne, rosacea, scale obsession, migraines, and lethargy. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

    http://www.theladygrok.blogspot.com/

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  2. #2
    Greensprout's Avatar
    Greensprout is offline Senior Member
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    Sounds like you're pretty well prepared, particularly on the airplane snacks thing. We went to Paris for a week in May, I managed the whole thing with a carry on only, as we had access to laundry in the apartment we rented, and I would imagine that would be the case for you with family. Can't comment on the coconut oil or baking soda for travel...hopefully it won't cause any issues. Probably you'll be fine. Though I'd expect the coconut oil might fall into the liquids/gel categories for carry on stuff. If you run out, perhaps olive oil would make an ok substitute? Food should be divine, I was in Venice/Verona and cruised around Italy 2 years ago and LOVED it. On the list to return one day, particularly to Tuscany. I'm jealous!! Have a great holiday.

  3. #3
    Diana Renata's Avatar
    Diana Renata is offline Senior Member
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    OMG, I'm so jealous. I haven't been to Italy in YEARS and have been dying to go back. I'm looking forward to hearing about your trip, and how a Primal does travelling abroad.

  4. #4
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    You're going to Italy for two weeks with only a carry-on bag? Wow -- impressive.

    Though, if I misinterpretted that.... is it possible to take just enough of the cosmetic type stuff in your carry-on to tide you over for a few days should your checked luggage go missing (which it won't)? My coconut oil did turn to liquid last time I travelled, but I only took a small jar on-board that fit within all the restrictions, with a larger jar in my checked bags.

    Re: the food. It sounds like you've thought that one out well, though I know that some food items are prohibited from crossing the border. But, if you eat it on the plane, that won't be an issue! When I travel to the US I can't take very much with me, but I don't know what the rules are for other countries

    I once heard that learning the phrase "no gluten, celiac disease" in different languages can come in handy. Not sure how good your Italian is, but here's a link that may help for this and future exotic vacations http://www.celiactravel.com/restaurant-cards.html

    The most important thing to remember is to relax and have fun!

  5. #5
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    I carry boiled eggs and celery sticks on the plane. And then nuts and dark chocolate for throughout the stay. Italy is not bad for celiacs since a large percent of the population is celiac. Be sure to point that out to restaurants and store owners. I think the food is also labeled properly. I find the best way to cut down on luggage is to limit the shoes and plan to do laundry when you're there if that's possible. It's amazing how much can fit into a carryon.

  6. #6
    jendoe's Avatar
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    Oooh I'm jealous too, it sounds like an awesome trip!

    re: the baking soda, I'm wondering if you can bring one of those small boxes of baking soda. Since it will be in the original packaging, and labeled, perhaps it would be less likely to raise eyebrows and cause concern? Just a thought...

    Have fun!

  7. #7
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    Venice! I love it so much I'd be prepared to live on pizza for the week I was there, and just go back to primal on my return to an English speaking country!

  8. #8
    Lady Grok's Avatar
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    Thanks guys: we are really excited! We weren't planning on doing a big trip this year, but my parents ended up doing a home exchange with a couple who have a villa in Tuscany. There was just no way we could pass it up!

    I didn't even think of getting a box of baking soda in the original packaging! Lame, I know, but we have the big bag from Costco. Thanks for the tip on the liquefying coconut oil- I will probably do the same thing (shameless copycat) with a breakaway travel container in my carry on and then pack a larger (well wrapped)jar. I use it for a ton of things, not just cooking, so if they confiscate it, it would be like losing my lotion, moisturizer, sunscreen, cuticle oil, frizz control, and deep conditioner in one fell swoop.

    I THINK the only potential issues in my snack arsenal would be fresh fruit and/or veggies, which I anticipate will be long gone by the time I get off the plane. Granted, the last time we flew into FCO , I don't even think they stamped our passports! Flying back into California will be another story, the doggies will be patrolling.

    We were in Rome for a day(!) last year, and couldn't even begin to do it justice. I think we saw the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, and a bunch of monuments before we had to catch our boat. We also took day trips to Naples and Capri, but it was a cruise ship thing, so we were pretty much herded around in a big crowd like sheep. This promises to be much more of an adventure: I tend to like to do a trip diary on my facebook, but since being Primal is going to be a large part of this, maybe I will cross-post to my journal here as well? I am shooting for 80/20, but obviously, there are just some things that can't be missed. (I think the saying is "When in Rome" for a reason.) Unfortunately, one of the things I will have to miss is the pizza, unless I want my face to look like one. Freaking gluten.

    The carry-on packing paranoia: The last big trip we went on, different airline but same destination, some of the checked luggage of others in our party got lost for nearly A WEEK when one of their flights got held up. I would estimate that both ladies wore a size 22 or 24, and even with the clothing allowance, there was nothing they could find in Rome to fit them. As a woman who is still technically "plus sized" and having a husband who is 6'5"...if our luggage got lost without a backup, finding any clothing replacement options would probably be a disaster! I wish I could travel with just a carry-on, but I love clothes (and shoes, and souvenirs) waaay too much!
    Last edited by Lady Grok; 07-03-2010 at 03:29 AM.
    With Mark's help, I've conquered depression, acne, rosacea, scale obsession, migraines, and lethargy. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

    http://www.theladygrok.blogspot.com/

    My Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread8215.html

  9. #9
    gfprof's Avatar
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    Hi Diva! How funny, I'm going to Italy in a little over a week and I'm also gluten-free. I'm going for work in Siena, and I'm more frightened than you are since my Italian stinks. I did get those little Triumph cards. Please do post to your journal so I can steal ideas!

    I do have a few tips: The last time I went to Europe, they forgot my GF meal and my boyfriend raised hell because I was about to pass out; they brought me a huge pile of fresh fruit and cheeses from first class. Just so you know, the food is probably there if you're desperate and willing to ask for it. Also, I can't encourage you enough to make a massive batch of jerky. You can survive anything with that, and it keeps well so you can eat it on the way back as well. Finally, I don't know if they have this in Italy, but in France they had these lovely crackers made entirely of chestnut flour. If they're there, they'll probably be at the 'pharmacia' where they sell GF foods.

    I don't want to be a bad cavewoman and tempt you too much by telling you about the gluten-free pizza places I've been hearing about, but I'll refer you to a couple of websites with GF restaurant reviews, etc. Unfortunately, they're mostly Tuscany because that's where I'm headed:
    http://www.examiner.com/x-14155-Hous...eally-happened
    http://aglutenfreeguide.com/a-gluten...ena-italy.html
    http://aglutenfreeguide.com/ms-gf-gu...n-tuscany.html
    http://www.dspizzapoint.com/en/ (not just pizza!)

    Good luck and have fun! Oh, and ps, Greensprout is right. Olive oil is great for cuticles & conditioner. Also, I think you'll find plenty of health food/natural beauty stores over there, especially in Rome. Europe is usually ahead of the curve on these things!

  10. #10
    zibsca's Avatar
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    Most all of the imported food shops here carry coconut oil, if you can not pack it, I don't think it would be difficult to find it up north. There is a heatwave going on at the moment, temps around 32-34C, dressing light is a must! Enjoy

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