Here’s How To Keep Food Hot While Traveling On A Road Trip

It is pertinent that you understand how to keep food hot while traveling if you enjoy exploring new places and taking road trips. Not only is this crucial, but it’s always best to eat something warm after hiking or when camping.

Additionally, this will unquestionably make you feel better; however, it can be challenging to keep food fresh while traveling.

Nevertheless, with the right methods, you can bag your food in other to have it hot when you are ready to eat it.

This article will, therefore, go over some of the best strategies for keeping food hot while traveling.

How to keep food hot while traveling

The sort of food you are carrying will decide how to keep it hot during the trip, and this will also determine the best method for doing so.

The temp of your food is another important consideration when trying to keep it hot while traveling.

The USDA claims that food above 140°F (60°C) tends to remain safe indefinitely because bacteria find it difficult to grow at such high temperatures.

SEE: Here’s How To Stop Food Spoilage And Food Poisoning

Here are ways you can keep food hot while traveling.

1. Use a thermos

One of the effective ways to stay food hot while traveling is with a vacuum-insulated thermos. They have two stainless steel walls, and between the inner and outer walls, they suction the air out to create a vacuum. In comparison to other insulators, a vacuum will trap the most heat.

2. Thermal bags

Food can be kept hot for a reasonable price and with little effort using thermal bags. They maintain food insulation in a manner akin to that of the towel and aluminum foil.

The foil of the thermal bag aids in retaining heat, and typically there is a layer of cardboard or plastic that further insulates the food.

3. Add a reusable heat pack and hot brick

Recyclable heat pods are a great way to keep food extra warm while traveling. They are portable, and all you must do is turn them on when you need them.

They don’t add enough thermal mass to your food to make it warm enough to eat, but they will help keep it hotter for longer. Put them there, then cover your food and the heat pack with towels and aluminum foil.

Place your heat pack, or hot bricks next to your food after preheating them, and then cover everything with a towel.

4. Use a soft cooler

Using a soft cooler as opposed to a hard cooler is an added option. These have the advantage of being more portable and typically being smaller, lighter, and better suited for carrying food.

However, soft-sided coolers require extra caution because the plastic can dissolve more easily. To safeguard the cooler from the intense heat, be sure to wrap your food thoroughly in towels.

SEE: Get a BOGO Offer or Free Meal at M&M Food Market

5. Utilize a 12-volt travel food warmer

You can buy 12 V food warmers that plug into your car outlet and keep the temperature of your food while you’re driving.

6. Include a hot water bottle

Your food will stay hotter for longer if you add more thermal mass to it. When traveling, a hot water bottle is an ideal way to add a lot of heat and keep your food hot for longer.

To keep your food extra hot, fill a plastic container with warm water or a single-wall metal bottle with boiling water.

7. Cover food with warm clothes

Warm clothing is made to be an excellent insulator, keeping your body as well as your food warm. To keep your food hot while you’re traveling, wrap it in several layers of warm clothing.

8. Wrap in cardboard or newspaper

Wrapping your food in news publications or paperboard is a great fallback choice if you don’t have any towels, aluminum foil, or warm clothing.

A few layers of paper around your food can help it stay hot for longer because the paper is a good insulator.

9. Utilize a cooler

This is one of the effective ways to keep your food warm if you’re traveling in a car and can bring a cooler with you.

Food can be kept hot while commuting for up to 8+ hours with the right planning and a good cooler. As a result, you could prepare food in the morning and have it hot for dinner.

SEE: Here’s How You Can Turn Food Scraps Into Food

10. Crockpot

The crockpot was created to cook food slowly over a long period. Because of this, the pot’s interior temperature is extremely low.

The crockpot is for you if you don’t have a thermoelectric cooker to keep your food warm. Consider eating the food in the next two hours because the heat will gradually decrease inside the pot.

11. Aluminum foil and towels

The simplest and most popular technique for keeping food hot while traveling is to wrap it in towels and aluminum foil.

When you do this, your food will stay warm for a few hours, or if you’re traveling with a lot of dense food (like soup or casserole), it will stay warm for even longer.

Heat your food to an extremely hot temperature before you leave and store it in a sealed container. The container should then be covered in several layers of tin foil.

12. Electric lunch box

In addition to a mobile food heat source, an electric lunchbox performs a very similar function. It is portable, practical, and effective. This box will be your life changer for a warm meal if you are constantly late for work or school.

It resembles a typical lunch box very closely. But this lunchbox also has a heat source inside, which means it can quickly rewarm your food.

13. Pan carrier

This item is a very efficient way to keep food warm for those looking to enter the catering industry. This item will help you carry a lot of food and is very lightweight and portable. The pan carrier’s lack of electricity is its best feature.

These are also helpful if you’re going on a trip with a group of friends or a family. Polyethylene is used to make the pan.

This substance is unbreakable, trustworthy, and safe for the environment. Considering that polyethylene can withstand both high and low temperatures, it makes a good insulator.

Along with the polyethylene, the interior of the carrier has a foam padding layer to further insulate it from the outside surroundings. By having two handles on each side, the pan carrier’s design enhances portability.

There are many sizes and varieties of pan carriers. The horizontal and vertical pan carriers are the most popular types.

SEE: Internal Temperature Rules to Cook Your Food

14. Trap the steam

As steam escapes from hot food, tiny water molecules pick up a lot of heat, causing your food to cool down more quickly.

But if you contain the steam and don’t let it out, your food will stay extremely hot for a longer period.

15. Make your food extra hot

You can make your food hotter than the temperature you want to eat it at. If you make it at the perfect eating temperature it will cool down over the day and be too cold to eat at a later point.

16. Keep cold food isolated and group hot food together

It is wise to group hot dishes that you are transporting together rather than keeping them separate if you have several of them.

They can keep each other warm for a longer time by punching each other together. Additionally, you should keep hot and cold food distinct to prevent the cold food from absorbing any heat.

17. Aluminum tray

An aluminum tray is another useful food storage product made of aluminum. The tray choice can effectively retain heat because it is made of metal, much like an aluminum wrap. Since there is no need to wash much after you finish eating, using the tray is also quick.

SEE: Are Food Thermometers Safe?

18. Utilize a thermal cooktop

A big pot called a thermoelectric cooker is made for slow cooking food without the use of electricity.

A thermal cooker can keep food hot for an even longer period than a thermos because it uses the same vacuum infusion technology.


Why do you have to keep food warm when traveling?

Your body’s energy will be replenished by hot and warm food. Moreover, it can seriously harm your health if you don’t know how to keep food warm.

Most hot foods have a temperature limit below which bacteria cannot grow. This threshold is higher than 145°F for most meat, including beef, pork, and lamb.

It’s okay to leave food out if there is a steady heat source keeping it above the safe temperature. However, the food must be consumed within 1-2 hours because the average temp will gradually drop in absence of a constant heat source.

What can you replace aluminum foil with?

If you run out of tin foil, you can cover the food with a metal lid and encircle it with a layer of newspaper.

As an alternative, you could use several layers of napkins to cover the food before covering it with a towel.

Can you get a pan carrier if you’re not in the catering business?

You can, indeed. But the price will go up a little bit. You can substitute it with the cooler method. Even though it costs less, the cooler can also keep food hot.


If you’ve made it this far in the article, you’ve probably learned how to keep your food warm while traveling.

Furthermore, you have received a compelling reason for why you should keep food hot. In conclusion, you may have noticed that when food is not kept at the proper temperature, bacteria can grow and cause foodborne illness.

Thanks for reading.

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