Although road trips are generally free of TSA hassles, they are very challenging to plan for, especially if you are talking about a multi-day drive each way. Here is what works for us. Please let me know what works for you.
Although gluten free choices are available in more places than ever before, that rarely includes anyplace serving takeout at 9pm in remote parts of Georgia. For that and for other reasons we try to travel with all of our food for the entire drive stashed in the car.
We do this because we never know where we will want or need to stop for the night and we also want to get there quickly. Yes, I can indeed find food at a grocery store way way way outside of Atlanta at 10pm, but I don’t want to. I want a shower and some sleep.
So if you decide to follow that tip, here are a few things that make it work for us
1) We get a hotel room with a mini-fridge that has a mini-freezer for storing the perishables and for refreezing cold packs overnight. This way we can travel with things like lunch meat, lettuce and tomatoes for sandwiches and dairy free yogurt without getting food poisoning. Also we ask for a microwave whenever possible. In general if there is a fridge then there is a microwave.
2) We use septic packaging whenever possible. Most of the milks are available in soft shelf stable packaging. I am big on thrift and protecting the environment, but not when it comes to a trip like this. We use the single serving packs. We also have found these gluten free indian food septic packs. I love having lentil stew on the road. I often just want something, anything, hot.
3) We freeze juice boxes before the trip and use them to help chill the food in the cooler for day one. We drink the juice on day two plus. This allows us to save the ice packs for the day two and later coolers.
4) We pack the coolers by day, that way there is one on the floor in the back seat that we can pull from all day.
5) We bring one stoneware / glass or otherwise microwave safe bowl for heating food or boiling noodles.
6) We see it as a camping style adventure (albeit with sheets and hot showers) and try to maintain that attitude. Yes, I do miss eating at Cracker Barrel as we did back in the days before we knew, but the trade-off has been so worth it.
7 And we always bring our gluten-free dining guides…just in case.
Have fun! Yes it requires more planning than if you could eat anything but the side benefit is that you save some money on eating out and you can prevent your child from eating three straight days of fast food.
And that is worth something.