Traveling is awesome! It’s also expensive! I’m sharing a little compilation of road trip snacks to show you how a little planning ahead and a tiny bit of work can save you a lot of money! Whether you’re driving long distances or short, it’s always cheaper, and usually healthier, to bring your own food.
Coach and I like to save money. Who doesn’t? When we’re traveling somewhere tropical, we like to save all we can on the way…that way we can spend all we want on seafood once we reach our destination! It’s really easy to pack up a few of your favorite snack foods in a small cooler to have for lunch as you travel, which saves money and time.
Road Trip Snacks
- If you’re like me, you don’t like cold bread. Maybe you’re not like me and you love cold bread, but I think it’s nasty and soggy. That’s why I like to make sandwich spreads and make our sandwiches when we’re ready to eat them! Coach’s and Tigger’s favorite sandwich spread is pimento cheese, and Pooh’s and mine is cream cheese and olives, so I usually make both. (Just mix a block of cream cheese with a small can of chopped black olives…yum!) Pack in a loaf of bread, and there’s lunch! Wherever we end up is going to have a fridge, so these are two things we can snack on for our whole trip, not just in the car. Packing up some cold cuts, cheese and mayo or mustard would be pretty simple, too, if you’re not into spreads.
- I’ve found that chips in a can are best for traveling, since you can close them back up securely. Also, if you are traveling with kids, the can provides a little more protection for the chips than a bag once little feet and hands get a hold of them. I also love any snacks that come in resealable bags! To keep everything fresh and unharmed, I always pack the snacks up in to a plastic tub with a well-fitting lid.
- Need something sweet? Here’s our very favorite of all road trip snacks: brownie bites! Just make up your favorite brownie batter and spoon it into mini muffin tins! Bake at 350 degrees for 15-17 minutes, and you have sturdy little bite-sized brownies. Our family has also become addicted to frozen grapes, which can also help keep items cold in a cooler. I froze grapes in a single layer on a cookie sheet for a couple of hours, then put them into a gallon-sized storage bag. I played with my food a little bit, too.
- Our favorite nibbles are nuts, dried fruits, pretzels and peanut butter. I love the little individual cups of peanut butter that are so easy to find these days, because they’re perfect for dipping pretzels or little crackers into without making a mess (sometimes I’m messier than my kids are, yo).
More Money Savers
There are more ways to save besides just packing road trip snacks. Cooking on vacation is no fun! I love to be able to go out to eat when I’m escaping reality, but it’s hard to justify the expense for several meals in a row. If you’re traveling to somewhere that doesn’t have a kitchen, then you’re golden…the perfect excuse! But, even with nothing but a microwave and a mini-fridge, you can easily make simple breakfasts and lunches in-house, which takes the sting out of eating supper out for your entire trip!
- A half gallon of milk, a couple boxes of cereal, and maybe some fruit is easy to store and serve in a hotel room. If you don’t want to deal with the milk, try your cereal with vanilla yogurt instead! It’s like really delicious milk that doesn’t spill as easily, and yogurt is great with some “crunch” added in. Cereal is a great road trip snack for in the car, too, if you skip the milk!
- Store-bought, individually wrapped frozen breakfast burritos are a great option for a hot breakfast on the go! They fit nicely in the tiny freezer compartment of most mini-fridges, and heat up in the microwave in no time. If you have a way to keep them really ice-cold, you could even make them at home, freeze them, and bring them along on your trip! Be sure to wrap them individually so they don’t stick together, and for easier stacking in the mini-fridge freezer.
- Be sure to look for coupons and discounts in the local paper wherever you are! It even pays to find a local radio station sometimes, where they may announce specials at one of your favorite eating places. One of our favorite destinations is home to one of my most-desired Italian restaurants, and I once heard a radio ad for a super discount there…that ad was NOT in the paper!
- Don’t get stuck having to purchase drinks in a hotel vending machine! You can save so much by stocking the mini-fridge with bottled water yourself. We always have a cooler-full in the car anyway, to wash down our road trip snacks.
- Keep in mind that wine comes in mini-bottles, too! 😉
I’m certainly not a tight-wad when it comes to vacation. I would just rather spend my money on experiences than food! I don’t remember what I ate on our honeymoon trip to Key West, but I will never forget the sunset snorkeling cruise Coach and I went on, or the night I got pulled up on stage to sing with a fun local musical duo at a bar (thanks to Coach’s prodding).
I take that back…I do remember a couple of our delicious supper experiences, because we saved money on daytime meals so we could splurge on something amazing for supper! If snorkeling isn’t your thing, you could spend your savings on a massage, a pedicure, a ghost tour, or that gorgeous pair of shoes in the little boutique on the corner…seeing the benefits?
Where are you traveling to this summer? Have you already been on vacation? I’d love to hear about your trip, where you went, and what you did to save money! Making and packing road trip snacks is just one small way to save. Coach swears I’ve made an art out of traveling frugally, because we never go back home feeling broke, or like we didn’t get to have any fun. To me, that’s the best of both worlds!