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Road trip food and meal ideas will not only save you a load on your holiday budget. They can also help you to eat healthy while you travel too… avoiding the greasy burger and chips combo you may otherwise have purchased!
Get road trip food ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner plus family-friendly snack ideas too.
Road trips can be abudget-friendly family vacation that is fun for all ages, however, you can quickly blow out that budget if you are dining out for every meal during your road trip.
With some simple road trip meal planning and enough food inspiration, you can plan a thrifty road trip without having to stop for a single takeaway meal!
This road trip food list is loaded with snack and meal ideas for the whole family, whether you are taking a short driving holiday over a weekend or getting set for an extended road trip adventure together.
Aside from the usual steps to prepare for your road trip, with itinerary planning and a rough plan on where you will be stopping along the way if travelling over multiple days, your preparation should also include meal planning.
Road trip meal planning will keep your budget down and help you avoid the fast-food trail from destination to destination.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t dine out at all. Sometimes that’s part of the fun, but if you want to avoid paying for meals at each stop. Or you want to ensure you are eating healthier options, creating a road trip meal plan is essential!
You will need a good-quality large cooler to keep your food from spoiling.
A standard cooler with ice packs will get you through a few days of chilled food and meals. Anything longer and you will either need a proper12V powered travel refrigerator or to stop and grab extra ice or fresh groceries along the way.
Either will work, but of course, your options are more limited if you need to stop for supplies. This will mean knowing where on your road trip you can source ice and groceries too.
TIP: Avoid opening your cooler unless it’s absolutely necessary! This will keep food chilled longer.
Options for road trip snacks are endless! Most snacks you enjoy at home can easily be enjoyed during your road trip. In saying that, snacks that don’t require any extra preparation and are minimal mess are preferable.
TIP: Pouches are a simple, no-mess option for yogurt or pureed fruit. Keep them chilled, eat then dispose of the package.
Road Trip Lunch Ideas
There are plenty of simple cold lunch options you can make ahead for road trip meals. Plus how much nicer is it finding a beautiful spot within nature or with a view along your drive, than sitting in a fast food store!
Try these cold lunch ideas for your road trip menu:
Make-ahead your one-pan meals at home and individually pack into containers so that you either have to just cook or reheat on the hot plates. We stick with mostly one-pan meals when in a campervan too.
This will give you endless other options to enjoy camp style meals during your road trip without the full camping set up.
Or alternatively, use public BBQ facilities along the way to cook or heat meals.
TIP: If staying in hotels, choose some with basic cooking facilities you can use for dinners.
BBQ or camp kitchen dinner ideas:
Savoury mince or tacos
Bacon and eggs
Chilli con Carne
You can pretty much turn any one-pot or dump recipe into a camp stove or BBQ top recipe. Bag each meal individually, heat or cook and serve.
TIP: If you don’t want to bring your own, find an app for your phone that will tell you where the nearest public BBQ facilities are along your journey.
Healthy Road Trip Food
Taking your own make-ahead road trip meals is an easy way to ensure you are eating well while travelling. You can choose healthy options and avoid the greasy, carb-loaded takeaway food that tends to be associated with road trips.
It also means choosing healthier snacks too.
Not only is this better for your health, it will also make you feel better while travelling to not have those heavy processed meals sitting in your stomach while stationary for most of the day.
Travel stomach aches aren’t welcome here!
Baby & Toddler-Friendly Road Trip Food
If you are doing a driving holiday with a toddler or baby, you will need to plan in a few different options to suit them.
This means ensuring you have enough baby food (and formula if needed), to last the full journey.
Bring baby food pouches for convenience or use small individual serve tubs for homemade baby food.
Make sure you have plenty of toddler road trip snacks because a full tummy will help keep them happy! Small snack foods and finger foods are ideal so you can avoid worrying about choking.
Essential Non-Food Items
Having your road trip food packed and ready is the most important part, but don’t get caught out on the road by realising you have forgotten any of these non-food essentials for your road trip.
Plates & bowls
Knives, forks, spoons
Chopping board or tray if you are taking anything that needs more preparation