Since I am still jet lagged from my trip traveling is on my mind. Of course a lot of people also use traveling as an excuse to eat things that they normally don't, and sometimes they regret it later—they might have gained weight, had GI distress, or had an exacerbation of some type of chronic condition that they have (out of control blood sugars, etc). There's no reason why you can't have a little treat while traveling, but you want to make sure you don't regret it later. Here are some tips for traveling and still, for the most part, staying on your eating plan (some of these tips were discovered the hard way, you can thank me for my sacrifice later).
1) When you arrange for your hotels, go ahead a do an internet search for restaurants in the surrounding area. That way you won't have to try to make your decisions on where to eat when you are tired, cranky, and so hungry you want to eat everything in sight.
2) When you arrange for your hotels, find out what kind of meal facilities they have on site. If they serve breakfast, find out what they have. If they have a restaurant, see if the menu is available on line or if the hotel can send you copy of that day's menu to see what kind of options they have.
3) Bring your own snacks, preferably non-perishable if you are not sure of your refrigeration situation at the hotel or you are going to be flying. Beef jerky (gluten free and grass fed for me) is one of the original portable foods; nuts, little cans or pouches of tuna, fruit, etc also travel well. If you are on a road trip, bring a little cooler or lunch bag that you can fill w/ice at each hotel stop or gas stop.
4) Try to avoid going inside the gas stations with all their available goodies if possible. Pay at the pump, only go in to use the restroom and walk out immediately after, etc.
5) If you are attacked by some goodies while you are at the gas station, try to at least get the small bag of Skittles (or whatever your favorite treat is) instead of the large one. Don't start eating them until you have driven away to avoid the temptation to go back for other things.
6) Look for restaurants where you can get breakfast all day like Denny's, IHOP, etc. are you can always default to an omelets (protein/veggies) when it seems like deep fried items are the only thing available elsewhere, and most of these places are open late or at "odd" hours as well.
7) Many large chain grocery/department stores are located close to highways, make use of them for a quick meal or to pick up some snacks. As someone who makes home visits in remote areas, I know that there will always be a Wal-mart available even in the smaller towns.
8) If you are going to eat fast food, choose the smallest size burger, etc that they have. Don't be afraid to modify and ask for things without the bun, etc. Once again, you can look up the ingredients ahead of time on the internet, or use your smart phone. I actually have an iPhone app that gives a short list of gluten free items at many chain/fast food restaurants.
9) Bring water bottles with you and fill them up at the beginning of the day so you can keep track of your fluid intake. Getting slightly dehydrated can make you feel more tired and cranky as well.
10) Think about what's going to happen after you come home—stock your freezer with burger patties (turkey, grass-fed beef, black bean, or whatever), nitrite free sausage, casseroles, frozen vegetables, etc before you leave on your trip. That way you will have something that you can prepare quickly when you get home without having to make an extra trip to the grocery store when you are tired (or you get back too late to visit the store).
Take home message—plan ahead, plan ahead, plan ahead.