Tips For Gluten Free Road Tripping

The northernmost tip of mainland Europe

Road tripping can be a lot of fun and a lot of that fun can be not knowing what you will discover and where you will end up. These things are a little more difficult when you are travelling gluten free but not impossible. To ensure our gluten free road trip turns out to be both safe and successful we need to be organised, plan ahead and over pack the gluten free goodies. The best road trip I’ve ever done was a gluten free one. John and I drove 4000 miles in a car we bought for £100. It took us through 9 countries in 10 days. If you’re anxious about your first or next road trip have a read at my simple tips  for gluten free road tripping.

Be prepared. If you know how long your road trip is going to last, you will know what and how much gluten free food to bring to avoid any  horrible, hungry situations. You want to make sure you have enough food to last the entirety of your trip so that you can relax, enjoy the drive and not have to rely on stopping to search for safe foods en route.

Think in terms of meals. Snacking is fun but you want to make sure you eat some good, nutritious food too. If you are road tripping for seven days, you’re going to need at least 14-21 meals depending on how you like to eat. Consider how confident you are about how frequently and where you can expect to find safe foods en route and plan accordingly.

Know your route. If you can, plan where you hope to stop each night. This way you will know whether or not you will have a kitchen to cook meals, a microwave to heat things up, a refrigerator to keep fresh good cool or nothing at all. Knowing this will allow you to pack accordingly.

Use your space. Travelling by car gives you an advantage that other forms of travel do not, space to store gluten free treats. Be sure to stock up on all your favourites, especially the non-perishables. You’ll be glad you did when you are starving and can’t find anywhere safe to eat. Having too much is better than running out.

Amazing roads in Northern Norway

Hand stands in the Arctic Circle!


Remember the ice box. Don’t feel as though you can’t pack anything fresh for your road trip. Having an ice box in the car will allow you to bring dairy products and other fresh foods to nibble en route. Fill it with ice before you leave and replenish at gas stations each day to keep everything fresh and delicious.

Have some meals prepared. Especially if your road trip is a longer one, you don’t want to be eating snack food the whole time. Make yourself one or two portions of your favourite gluten free meal the night before/morning of your trip and put them in  transportable dishes for the trip.

Take your own cutlery. If you have your own spoon, fork and bowl with you, you won’t have to worry about finding these things en route. If you do forget anything however, fast food restaurants have various cutlery for pinching and plastic/paper cups that can be used as bowls, especially for things like cereal.

Take your favourite spice along. Adding black pepper or salt to a boiled egg or chilli pepper or cajun seasoning to a ham and cheese tortilla can give your road tripping meal the tasty kick it needs.

Don’t expect too much. Finding great gluten free options and especially varied gluten free options can be difficult when you’re on the road for a while. You will always be able to find something safe to eat but don’t bank on it always being something exciting and different. Sometimes you may have to eat the same thing 2 or 3 days in a row depending on where you are and what you were able to bring.

Hitchhiking in South Korea

Know where does gluten free. If you haven’t already, figure out which restaurant chains and grocery stores in the country/area you’re travelling in have good gluten free options. That way if you spot one of them whilst you’re driving you can pull over to eat if you’re hungry or stock up for later if you’re not. If you can find any specifically celiac friendly restaurants or cafes on your route, even better!

Think naturally gluten free. Even if you’re relying on the the food you packed for the trip at some point you may like the idea of a warm sit down meal. Look for sushi, seafood, steak or other eateries where you can enjoy a delicious and safe, naturally gluten free meal!

Relax and enjoy yourself. You’ve done your research and packed your favourite gluten free goodies. Sit back, crank up the tunes and enjoy!

Have you been on a gluten free road trip? Where did you go? What did you pack? Share your stories in the comments below..

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  • I like your site. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but this site ripped off this entire article, including photos.

  • Great article. Bringing along gluten free soy sauce is a good idea, Also calling in advance to see if restaurants understand gluten free helps.

  • Chelise

    May 31st, 2012

    I was wondering if there was anyway to email franchises and restaurants and fast food chains about gluten free meals.

  • You should definitely email/call any chains you plan to go to and ask them about gluten free options.

    As a starting point PF Changs are an example of a chain which does a bunch of gluten free options.
    Additionally, Outback Steakhouse has a gluten free menu, Chuck E Cheese does gluten free pizza and Chipotle does gluten free options. There are a bunch of others too but be sure to tell any of these places that you are celiac because they don’t have completely gluten free kitchens and there is a risk of cross contamination.

  • I haven’t been out of the U.S., but I use my iPhone app–find me GLUTEN FREE all the time. We found some great places when we travel, we read the reviews, and even found new places in our home city.

  • We also take along a 12 volt trucker oven (or portable stove) for car trips and cook our own gluten free food as we go. We got ours on Amazon, but I also often see them at big trucker stops. It plugs into the cigarette lighter and cooks at an even 300 degrees as we drive.

    Obviously, it’s a bit small and it’s limited in its one temperature, but it’s hot enough to boil water (hello, rice dishes!), steam pre-chunked squash (tossed with spices, passed back to the toddler speared on a fork), bake potatoes, omelets, and a host of other dishes. Growing up, my mom would use hers to warm already-cooked taco meat (frozen before the trip) and we’d have “walking tacos” in the car or at a rest stop. We even once roasted a whole moose steak in there that we got from a butcher in Newfoundland. My mom bought dinner rolls and salad/dressing from a store (this was before Celiac’s) to go with the steak. Really, though, any (already GF) frozen dish could go in there, as long as it can fit in a small bread pan.

    My husband and I use cheap foil bread pans from Walmart to keep cleanup fast. It’s also a whole lot cheaper than eating out at restaurants every night. But mostly it keeps down cross-contamination, which makes traveling less stressful for me. : )