Friday, March 19, 2010

Gluten Free Travel Site Stops by for a Visit~

Well, it's the last day of winter and tomorrow we get to welcome spring; what a relief! There's renewed hope and feelings of joy that come from feeling the sun on your skin and enjoying the longer days. It also happens to be Guest Blogger Friday, once again, so with spring starting tomorrow and the hope of what new adventures might lie ahead, all these thoughts have let me to conjure up of visions of travel and exploring new well as new restaurants in distant lands.

For all these reasons, I invited my virtual friend and founder of Gluten Free Travel Site, Karen Broussard, to tell us all about her wonderful site and what's new in the gluten-free travel world.

Thanks Karen, and please visit her site. Everyone is also encouraged and invited to post their travel and restaurant reviews for both domestic and international favorite hot-spots.

By Karen Broussard ~

Whether you’re a newly diagnosed Celiac – or have been following a gluten-free diet for years – one of the biggest challenges has always been finding places to get a safe meal outside of your home. Well, I’m happy to say that I believe the gluten-free community has finally reached the point where we have a number of great choices for safe and delicious gluten-free fare in almost any area around the country, as well as in popular domestic and international travel destinations.

When I launched GlutenFreeTravelSite two years ago, things were really starting to take off, in terms of increased availability of gluten-free foods in stores and increased awareness at restaurants. No matter what your view of chain restaurants (love ‘em, hate ‘em, or have learned to love ‘em!), there are now dozens that offer printed gluten-free menus upon request. We have definitely “come a long way, baby!” How wonderful it is to be able to find at least a few restaurants, in virtually any metropolitan area, that understand and respect your special diet. Search our own list of dozens of national and regional restaurant chains with gluten-free menus. I guarantee you’ll spot a restaurant chain you may not have heard of!

When you click on any restaurant on our list, you’re taken to a “landing page” for that restaurant, with links to their gluten-free menu, locations, and sometimes even coupons they offer. It’s great to check this list before any trip you take…I view travel as a great opportunity to try “gluten-free friendly” chains that we don’t have in our own area. We’ve “discovered” some of our favorite restaurant chains with gluten-free menus, like Biaggi’s, while traveling!

And of course, for those who prefer finding “hidden gems,” those independent neighborhood restaurants that bend over backwards to serve safe and wonderful gluten-free meals. I’m pleased to report that their numbers are increasing as well. When I read the restaurant reviews that get submitted to our website each day, it makes me want to travel with my family to try many of these great-sounding places first-hand!

No doubt, restaurants are responding to market forces: U.S. News and World Report recently reported that up to 15-25% of consumers are looking for gluten-free options due to Celiac Disease, or for other health reasons. So these restaurants are smart…gluten-free options translate into a HUGE growth market…and in this economy, there aren’t many similar “growth” opportunities!

At GlutenFreeTravelSite, our goal is to give people on gluten-free diets a true “vacation from worry” when dining out and traveling. Our database of 800+ gluten-free dining reviews (of restaurants, hotels/resorts, cruise ships, and grocery stores) can give you ideas and feedback, whether you’re looking to try someplace new in your area or traveling halfway around the world. Search our Reviews and learn more.

We’ve also recently added enhanced search capabilities within our database to allow visitors to the site to narrow their search of our gluten-free dining and travel reviews down to the town/city or zip code level – and then map the results.

We welcome YOUR reviews, as well. It’s one of the best ways you can help other Celiacs…and thank those establishments that have gone out of their way to accommodate people on gluten-free diets. It’s nice to be able to “spread the word” and help give them some free publicity in this difficult economic environment. When you submit a review, you’ll be automatically entered into our monthly contest where we choose one particularly helpful review from the prior month’s submissions and showcase it on our Featured Review page. The winning reviewer gets a FREE set of Triumph Dining restaurant cards (for American, Italian, Mexican, and Chinese cuisine).

We look forward to hearing from you!

Don't forget to check out our "Buns" while visiting the site ~

Karen Broussard


mina said...

this is interesting. i was just discussing how difficult it must be for someone with a gluten allergy to travel. i guess it can be done!

sbo said...

Wonderful blog! I found it while searching on Yahoo News. Do you have any tips on how to get listed in Yahoo News? I’ve been trying for a while but I never sbo
seem to get there! Many thanks.