Tips for Gluten Free Road Trips

By Jenny Stegen | October 16, 2020

Road Trippin'

Stegen Family with van and trailer packed for a road trip

Family vacation? Visiting the grandparents? Heading out for a wedding or family reunion?

Packing food for the trip saves money, time, and keeps gluten free food readily accessible. You can eat on the road without much fuss if you are prepared.

Invest in a good cooler. You won’t regret this one. I love this RTIC cooler - WAY more affordable than the Yeti and every bit as good. It keeps ice for days - like a portable freezer. There is a divider and a basket for dry food - wonderful. And it's not so heavy to carry.

These Tumblers are absolutely amazing at keeping drinks cold! You will love them and they come in nice colors. Bonus - you get two tumblers for the price listed. I suggest you get one for every member of the family - otherwise, they will be stealing from each other! They fit perfectly in the cupholders in the car.

Make sure to pack your paper essentials: paper plates, paper bowls, cups, and disposable silverware. These Solo cups are the perfect size for holding some chips, puppy chow, nuts, fruit, crackers - you name it. A few hygiene essentials for every long ride are wet wipes, paper towels, and hand sanitizer. This organizer is a MUST for your paper products and dry snacks. You can grab it and take it inside when you arrive at your destination.

Lap trays are super handy for long trips. These are a hit with my tween kids. If they were still little we would most definitely have this little table to keep them entertained. We always have a small garbage can in the vehicle to help control the mess. You must have one in your vehicle - and you can pick a cute color. For a liner, just reuse your sacks from the grocery store. This is pretty much like a picnic in the car! We have done this so many times. Nothing like a picnic on the road to strengthen that family bond!

Along the way, you will need a break and it is so good to get out of the vehicle. A good stretch and timeout from driving will help preserve your sanity. If the weather is nice, look for a park with a picnic table on your route. Throw a flat bed sheet in your car as a table cloth - works great. Can you tell we've done this a few times?

Lastly, make sure you know your destination. Will there be a kitchen, refrigerator, microwave, cookware available? You may need to pack a few things from your own kitchen. I personally like to bring my own frying pan - you just never know what condition the cookware will be in at your destination.

What grocery stores are nearby? Do they have plenty of GF options? If not, you might need to bring your groceries with you. For additional information on grocery stores and accommodations, check out my post on gluten free friendly destinations.

It pays to plan ahead and know what will be available to you. Will there be gluten free food available at the wedding or event? I have always made a point to feed the kids BEFORE going to the event. The last thing you want is to take your kids (on an empty stomach) into a place with a whole bunch of food they can’t eat. Torture. Fill their bellies beforehand to prevent a hunger struggle.

One final travel tip: You might be thinking, "It sounds like I will be packing everything but my kitchen sink - How is it all going to fit???"
The solution? A rooftop cargo carrier. We are in love with our Thule carrier. If you are someone who takes road trips and find yourself short on space - this is the answer for you! You can store your luggage in the cargo box so there's room for your cooler, food, and other necessities inside the vehicle. I won't lie, these are not cheap, but absolutely worth the extra storage. Much cheaper than buying a larger vehicle! We have taken ours thousands of miles. Traveling is so much better with plenty of space.

Tired of eating out of the cooler on your trip? Check out my post on how to find celiac friendly restaurants along your route.

Comfy Travels,

Stegen kids sleeping in the van as we travel
Jenny's Signature