Traveling on AIP

Does the thought of traveling on the Autoimmune Protocol strike fear into your heart?  If so, you’re not alone!

A couple of weeks into my Autoimmune Protocol journey, I had a big realization:  I had the opportunity to travel away from home during the strict elimination phase.  Not just once or twice, but at least three times.  Normally I would be pretty excited about the prospect, but at this time in my life I practically had a panic attack and visions of myself chopping up veggies with a plastic knife on a hotel bed ran through my head.

Seriously, though, traveling during the strict elimination phase of AIP is a really big challenge and can cause a lot of anxiety.  I even considered saying no to these trips and putting off travel until I had at least started some reintroductions.  But then I realized, I don’t want a stupid disease to take away my freedom.  I have chosen to live an AIP lifestyle in order to take control of my health, but I don’t have to let it take control of me.  So I made the decision to be resourceful and figure it out.

My first two trips were by car, which definitely put me more in control of the situation—I packed a cooler and a couple of extra bags of ingredients and snacks and I was good to go!  My second trip also included a full kitchen, which isn’t too much harder than cooking at home.  My third trip, however, required a flight down to Atlanta for a business conference in a downtown hotel.  I quickly discovered that flying on AIP requires a bit more creativity, but it can be accomplished with some advance planning and flexibility once you arrive.

My first step was to call the hotel.  I explained that I had a medical condition that required a special diet, and that I would be sending frozen food to the hotel via FedEx.   I then asked how the hotel would be able to accommodate my dietary needs.  I was told that my food would be stored in a freezer until I arrived, each room had a mini-fridge, and a microwave could be delivered to the room upon advance request.  I was blown away—I didn’t even know that requesting a microwave was even a thing!  I was also told that if for some reason one wasn’t available, there is a microwave available in the lobby that I could use to reheat my meals (apparently many hotels have this, so make sure to ask).

My next step was to plan out all of my meals while I was gone.  I counted up each breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, plus added extra just in case my flight was delayed.  Good thing that I did, because it was!  Once I figured out what I needed, I placed my online orders several days in advance.  Grocery delivery via Amazon or a local service is definitely an option if you have space to prepare meals.  Since I was staying in a small hotel room, I used Paleo on the Go, a frozen meal delivery service that features a separate AIP-only menu (I highly recommend the Moo Shu Pork Tacos).  The prices are more expensive than I usually pay for food, but the food was delicious, and compared to eating out at restaurants like I usually do on a trip it was very reasonable.

I ordered my AIP snacks a few days in advance and filled the online cart with much more than I thought that I would actually eat.  I didn’t want to feel deprived or that I had to carefully ration every single bite.  I packed a large tote bag of full of my favorite snacks (Artisan Tropic Cassava Strips, Paleo Angel Power Balls, and Dang! Coconut Chips to name a few) and carried them onto the plane—there was no way I was letting the airline lose that precious cargo!  It ended up being a great idea, since my return flight home was delayed by several hours and my extra snacks turned into dinner the last evening.

Before I left for the airport, I made a large salad with chicken in a disposable container and poured the olive oil and balsamic vinegar right on top so it didn’t count as one of my liquids.  I prefer glass storage containers at home, but the disposable one allowed me to toss it at the airport and free up luggage space.

The thing that I dread about travel the most is the packing, and dealing with an autoimmune disease meant that I had a lot more to think about than food.  To keep everything organized, I made a packing list for all of the non-edible provisions I was going to need.  I kept in mind that there is more to AIP besides nutrition, including quality sleep, gentle movement, stress management, and social connections.  Here is an example of my checklist:

  • Medication
  • Supplements/Vitamins
  • Ankle brace
  • Comfy Shoes & Slippers (a must for my joint pain!)
  • Gym Clothes & Tennis Shoes
  • Self-Care Items

(Face Mask, Epsom Salt, Bath Bombs, Great Book)

  • Fork

(This seems like such a simple thing, until you’re on the 10th floor in your pajamas ready to dig into some AIP Shephard’s Pie and you’ve only got your fingers.)

While I wanted everything to be perfect, it never is, is it?  When I arrived at the hotel, my room didn’t have a microwave despite calling twice to reserve one, and more importantly, my frozen meals had not been delivered due to winter weather.  I will admit that I had a total freak out, but then I took a deep breath and figured it out.  After insisting that I had a medical condition that necessitated the microwave, I was upgraded to a suite that included one. Because of my advance research I knew that the hotel restaurant had food that would work, and between that and my giant tote bag of snacks I was able to survive until my pre-ordered food arrived.

I realized that because I prepared in advance but was also willing to pivot in the moment, everything turned out just fine.  I was a bit sore and worn out after my trip, but it was proud of myself for conquering my fear of AIP travel.  In the end, living a life of freedom that is full of meaningful human connection is what brings me joy, and the extra effort was worth it.

What AIP travel tips have been a lifesaver for you?  Comment below, or post your travel tips directly to our Simply AIP Facebook group here (

laura-2 (2)

Hi I'm Laura!

Through my own battle with autoimmune disease, I’ve created a program to help you reverse your symptoms of fatigue, brain fog, and joint pain through diet and lifestyle.

If you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired, I'm here to help you take control of your health so that you have the energy to love the life you’re living!

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