Packing for a road trip takes a lot of work. Not only do you have to pack normally, but you have to make sure everything fits easily and comfortably into a car for a potentially long journey. I've crossed a majority of the country for school and work 6 times now (I've never counted before until writing this... jesh!). Not to mention the yearly 16-20 hour drive to visit family. I've had equally wonderful and horrible experiences, like the time my car broke down on the on ramp 5 minutes from my house while attempting to move cross country for a job that started in 3 days. The last thing you want to be worried about is whether or not the World's Largest Truck Stop has gluten free options (it's in Iowa, in case you were wondering). After several mishaps and hungry nights on the road, I compiled a list of what I pack for a long ride, and now I'm sharing it with you!
If you'd like a cute printable of this list you can use for yourself, click here!
1. 2 bottles of water per person
This might seem like overkill, but with all the water crises happening in the U.S. as of late, better safe than sorry. You can stash them in little places that won't fit bigger things and then you'll have them in case of an emergency. I love these reusable ones that fold flat when they're empty!
2. Gluten free bread or crackers
There's no use in driving hungry for hours in hope of finding a Chipotle on the side of the road. Pack things to make a sandwich or snack to hold you over. And on the plus side, you won't lose driving time stopping! Check out these super great crackers and my favorite gluten free bread if you need ideas.
3. Sandwich makings
Whether you be herbivore or carnivore, you can pack you favorite basic sandwich fixings in a insulated bag or lunchbox for the day. If you're staying in a hotel, along the road, be sure to ask for a fridge or be sure they'll let you keep some things in their service fridge. Check out these cute lunchboxes and larger insulated bags for ideas!
4. Caffeinated soda
I'm no advocate for Coke, but whenever I'm on the road I find myself craving those nostalgic things from my less-than-healthy past. In order to alleviate that, I pack Zevia or another healthy option for soda. Zevia has caffeine, which helps me stay awake when driving alone.
5. Coffee, coffee, and more coffee
I am however, an avid advocate for coffee. I drink mine black so there's not really anything bad in it aside from the obvious addiction. Because rest stops often have those machines with added flavors built in, you never know if there's a cross-contamination issue. Because of this, I always stock up on it while I know it's safe. I'll get one hot in the morning and then a few iced that I can throw in my cooler for throughout the day. Starbucks bottled Frappuchinos are a great, safe option for the road, and they're available at a lot of convenience stores!
6. Quick protein
It can be tempting to eat sugary snacks and very little protein while driving a lot, because snacking is easy. I suggest packing some almond butter packets, if you're able to eat nuts, so you can grab some quick and yummy protein.
7. Something crunchy
As much as I try to avoid snacking, sometimes it's the best option when trying to make it a long distance. Frito Lay has a great list of which of their products are safe. Since they're sold in pretty much every convenience store in the U.S., this is a great option if you run out and need a snack on the road. I love to pack GF pretzels, though. They are the closest GF treat to the regular
8. Favorite GF candy
A lot of major candy brands are now advertised as gluten free. You can find an updated list of gluten free candy here (for U.S. travelers). My family used to go through a huge container of Red Vines on the road. While we can't do that anymore, I've found that Starbursts help quench the craving and almost fulfill the nostalgia.