What Food Should I Pack for a Road Trip?

The next installment in our travel Road Trip Food Packing series is the food overview. One important question to consider when planning that big road trip is how much food is the right amount of food to pack, and the other question is what kinds of food should I pack?. There’s no perfect answer because every traveler is as different as every trip and every taste.

What we hope to offer here is professional advice based on extensive highway traveling, and please feel free to post comments with your thoughts at the bottom.

Here are the sorts of questions you might be asking:

  • How much should I pack for a road trip?
  • What foods travel best on road trips?
  • What foods are best for kids on a road trip?
  • Should we bring a cooler on a road trip?
  • How much money can I save by bringing my own food?

How much food should we bring?
Consider how long your trip is and how much space you have. It’s easy to over pack. You’ll get home and find you have half the food you started with, especially on a trip of less than a week. Count your days and how many people are with you and actually do the math. You’ll find you need less than you might think to buy at the grocery store.

What Not to Pack on a Road Trip:

  • Don’t bring a cooler. It takes a ton of space, melts almost immediately, and weighs a ton.
  • Don’t bring canned goods that require a bowl, can opener and microwave. Too much work. Just get pop-top cans you can eat cold or heat with a gas station or hotel microwave.
  • Don’t bring ingredients for sandwiches. You don’t have a kitchen, it will be too huge a hassle and half of it will spoil.

It’s easy to remember pop, chips, cookies and crackers, but these empty calories will leave you unsatisfied very quickly. These aren’t meals, so don’t kid yourself. Beef Jerky or dry pepperoni is an easy source of protein, and nuts or dried fruit has more satisfying power than you might suspect.

For real road meal satisfaction, go for soup cups or packaged heat-and-eat meals like Hormel Compleats, chili bowls (careful about the air quality in your car) and Easy Mac.

Check out the rest of our Road Trip Packing series:
Road Trip Food Packing Advice Summary
Best Road Trip Beverages
Best Road Trip Snack Foods
Best Road Trip Cup o’ Foods
Best Road Trip Microwaveable Foods
Comprehensive Road Trip Packing Checklist
Smart Things to Pack Before Your Road Trip

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