When embarking on a road trip, whether it be across your state or across the country, you can easily end up spending an outrageous amount of money on food along the way. Fast food make be quick and easy to pick up on the side of the highway, but it contains tons of empty calories and fat that may cause bloating or upset stomach that can ruin your vacation. Not only that, but even $1.00 cheeseburgers can add up quickly, resulting in you spending just as much money on food as you spent for your hotel. Packing your own food to bring along on a road trip is a much healthier and inexpensive way to stay full on your vacation, especially when traveling with multiple passengers to feed.
Sandwiches are by far one of the best foods to pack as an entre on a road trip. Not only are they cheap and to make in bulk, they are nutritious and filling. You can even prepare sandwiches with perishable ingredients such as lunchmeat and cheese so long as you pack them in a cooler filled with ice. Purchase condiment packets to put on your sandwiches as you eat them to avoid the bread getting soggy while traveling. When I road trip, I prepare simple turkey and cheese sandwiches and later add mayonnaise and mustard from packets. Make your sandwiches on your favorite bread or bagel. Be sure to wrap each sandwich in foil or saran wrap and place it inside of an airtight sealable sandwich bag to prevent water from the cooler getting into the sandwich.
Trail mix filled with nuts, fruit, or even chocolate is a great choice for road tripping. Trail mix is easy to snack on while driving and contains protein to keep you alert and focused while driving long distances.
As long as you have a cooler, fresh fruit is a great option to bring along on your road trip. Sliced strawberries, apples, grapes, oranges and cherry tomatoes are all nutritious choices to pack. Fruit is filled with natural sugars that will satisfy your sweet tooth on the road without causing a sugar high and later crash like candy or caffeinated sodas will. You can even pack fresh veggies if you’d like. Broccoli, carrot sticks and celery are all great options that are cheap to buy and easy to store in Tupperware containers in your cooler.
Crackers, dry cereal and pretzels are all excellent sources of carbohydrates to bring along on your road trip, and are easy to pack in individual sandwich bags for each passenger in the car. These options are great for children as you can easily fill a sandwich bag with a handful of crackers or cereal for them to much on while you drive.
Cereal bars, granola bars, individually wrapped pastries or doughnut holes are perfect to bring along so that you don’t have to make a stop for breakfast. Each of these options are easy to eat while driving, create little mess and will keep you full and energized until lunchtime.
To drink, water is by far the best beverage to pack for your trip. Juice boxes are another great option. Try to avoid bringing along too many sodas or other sugary or caffeinated beverages. Drinks that are high in sugar and caffeine will cause bloating, dehydration, and sleepiness on the road as the sugar and caffeine wear off. You can always pick up individual packages of drink mix such as the ones made my Crystal Lite to add to your water bottles for a sweet treat on the road without all of the caffeine and sugar.
If you happen to be a smoker, I highly advise packing a bag of hard candies for the road. Jolly Ranchers or the sugar-free candies made by Crystal Lite are both excellent options. This will prevent you from chain-smoking and spending more money on cigarettes on the road which makes it a cheaper and healthier option. Gum is another great choice to reduce smoking on the road, and it will also help your ears pop when driving through higher elevations such as through the Rocky Mountains.
When packing food for your road trip, try to avoid packing too many high sodium foods like potato chips. While some sodium is fine, too much will cause bloating which is extremely uncomfortable while driving on the road for long periods of time. Also, high sodium foods will dehydrate you, especially when driving during a hot part of the country. If you are bringing foods that contain sodium, be sure to pack plenty of bottles of water in your cooler to combat dehydration.
When shopping for the food for your road trip, be sure to check out your local dollar store especially if you have a Dollar Tree in your area. Here you can stock up on non perishable food items such as trail mix, pretzels, cereal, granola bars, cereal bars and crackers for only $1.00. For my last road trip from Colorado to Arizona, I was able to spend only $5.00 on snack for my trip by shopping at the Dollar Tree. For perishable items like sandwich supplies and fruit check out Walmart as they usually offer the lowest prices on grocery items compared to most grocery store chains.