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Your favorite 'road trip' food

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  • Miri1 May 29, 2012 11:14 PM
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Is time for a road trip! You have your sunglasses, your iPod, your GPS and your cell phone. Now it's time to pack the fun stuff. The food! What on you pack,, if anything, to eat on road? Cookies? ChipsZ. Sandwiches? Or do you eat fast food from the drive through?

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  1. Sailor Boy Pilot Bread

    1. Some bottles of water, roasted and salted pistachios, snyder's sourdough pretzel nuggets, Dill pickle sunflower seeds, MORE water!! (salty snacks lol), and plenty of Orbit sweetmint gum

      4 Replies
      1. re: kubasd

        Dill pickle sunflower seeds? Is this two seperate things, or flavored sunflower seeds?

        1. re: Ditdah

          Dill pickle flavored sunflower seeds
          http://www.junkfoodblog.com/2006/05/d...

          You can get sunflower seeds in all kinds of flavors (BBQ, ranch, garlic, and lots more)

          1. re: 2roadsdiverge

            I am NOT happy that you have alerted me to the existence of these snacks... I can see an addiction in my future.

            1. re: Ditdah

              I felt the same way when I saw them for the first time... I immediately bought all 12 bags in stock. They are delicious and verrry addictive! Enjoy :)

      2. I find myself strangely drawn to 7-11 and am/pm microwave burritos.

        1. Doritos, Cheez-its, and a mid-trip stop at Taco Bell. Plenty of Diet Mt. Dew for DH, water for me. I used to pack healthy food but that would invariably lead to a stop at a gas station for junk, so now I just buy the junk in advance (at half the price at the regular grocery store).

          2 Replies
          1. re: biondanonima

            That sounds disturbingly delicious...

            1. re: biondanonima

              2 years ago we spent a week+ in Washington DC visiting the sights and the event we traveled there for. with an Amish family as friends and close enough to visit, I wanted to stop and buy their 12 kids a basket of goodies. we had our travel goodies with us so we stopped in the supermarket and duplicated what was in our stash.
              chips, cookies, candy, drinks, crackers, dips, stuffed crackers, filled crackers, nuts, trail mix.
              our favorite things to munch on. fun day...

            2. Almost always pack crackers and some sliced cheese and summer sausage in a cooler. Some variety of seasoned nuts - usually spicy cashews. I try not to drink caloric beverages very often (medication induced weight gain, so I try to avoid liquid calories) but on a road trip I will allow myself a full calorie grape or orange soda. A couple of bottles of diet coke if it is a long trip, in case I get tired.

              A bag of sour cream and onion potato chips. (Though note: If you get into a car accident at a high rate of speed - such as driving into a concrete barrier on the interstate at around 65 mph - you will wish you did not have this bag of chips. It is hard to get potato chip crumbs out of your hair when you can barely move from back and neck spasms.)

              If I go past an Arby's and am feeling the munchies, I will stop to get an order of jalapeno poppers.

              1. Not sure this applies, but I'm going sailing this weekend. Most of our dinners will be on land, but lunches and snacks will be on the boat. So I'm making a couple baguettes and a loaf of Italian bread. I'm also making ham, potato salad, egg salad, coleslaw and pulled pork. Finally, I'm picking up four or five different cheeses: cheddar, goat, Stilton, Brie or Camembert and something else...I'll see what the cheese store has before I go.

                I probably won't stop on the drive to the shore. It's only a few hours drive. I can wait until I get there and pig out on some fresh seafood.

                1 Reply
                1. re: MonMauler

                  I think sea-trip food counts too... I have very happy memories sitting on the deck of a family friend's sail boat, eating PB&J for lunch then snacking on ginger snaps.

                2. McDonald's breakfast! Sausage McMuffin (no egg), hashbrowns and coffee.

                  And I have a lingering fondness for sugary cereals as a road-trip snack, as it was the only time we were allowed to eat them as kids.

                  1. We don't eat when driving. Much prefer to stop at a restaurant and have a proper meal. It's all part of the fun.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Harters

                      I'm with Harters. A cold bottle of water and a pack of gum is all I bring. I eat a good breakfast at the local diner (so I don't have to clean a kitchen before leaving). Sometimes I prepare by looking up restaurants that are approx 4-5 hours into the trip; sometimes I just look for a restaurant that looks promising.

                      1. re: gaffk

                        +1

                        Except, it's a diet soda or coffee and several packs of gum.

                        1. re: gaffk

                          Same here. A bottle of water and that's it. We don't drink soda at all and we don't drink coffee when on the road (because it then results in MANY more needed pit stops). I've found that just going into a town and stopping to ask the locals about what's available results in suggestions for healthy wholesome eats. No need to eat on the run OR eat fast food.

                          1. re: gardencook

                            Yup -- so fun to eat at local places, even if they don't turn out to be that great. The group of older men who gather for breakfast, fun things on the wall, local specialties, good versions of old standbys... We look for places with lots of vehicles parked out front, especially pickup trucks :)

                          2. re: gaffk

                            That is what I do.

                        2. If we are leaving before 6 am, we just pack water bottles, and stop for a huge breakfast at Bob Evans or IHOP sometime before 9 am, which will usually carry us the rest of the way. If we are leaving after 6 am, we pack granola/protein bars, some cut up vegetables, and always Funyuns and Munchos. Diet Pepsi for me, Coke zero for him, and water bottles. Super quick bathroom/ fast food stop about 5 hours in.

                          1. We don't have 7-11's where I live, which means no slurpees :( Fortunately, most of my road trips take me through the land of slurpees. It's one of the rare times I get a sugar sweetened beverage. I'll usually go for a slurpee and a bag of pork rinds, and if it's going to be a really long trip I'll get a bottle of diet coke and a Little Debbie cake of some kind.

                            1. Cold liters of Aquafina, two iced coffees, Matador beef sticks, corn nuts, V-8 (veggie) and a smoked salmon on an everything bagel with tomato, onion, salt N' pepa and butter (both sides) from Bagel Hole. After that, if I see a place listed on my Android when I pull over for a break that looks interesting; I'm there!. If I'm driving up to Maine I always make sure to stop by Blunch in Boston for their incredible sandwiches & coffee. If I'm driving from down south back home it's Fat Boy's Pork Palace in Brandywine, Wva.

                              1. If we are not stopping on the road (which we usually do, two kids etc) then Cuban sandwiches and Gatorade....

                                1. We carry bottled water, and Ritz Crackers mostly....Sometimes a "coke" and P-nuts..(P-nuts poured into the coke) :)) ~~ Most of our 'road' trips are day trips and involve some sort of planned stops to eat in one or two places along the way.

                                  1. Love road trips and usually on one..
                                    I have a big and small cooler...bottled water, trail mix, peanut butter crackers, ice tea.
                                    Eating out on the road, I like to order club sandwiches (no bacon or ham), to go big iced tea with lots of lemons and eat lots of slices of pie..
                                    ; )

                                    1. In one word: Diners!! We love eating at a diner while on the road. The key is to keep it simple.
                                      In the car: Pistacio's and Combos!

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: Motosport

                                        Oooh...combos. I don't think that I've had those since high school. But I'm planning a 16 hour drive on Monday, and they might need to be on the buy list.

                                        1. re: jw615

                                          HAHA. I missed this one. Was driving home from my father's during Christmas and stopped at a gas station and saw combos. My brother, his wife and I split them...awful, but impossible to stop eating

                                          1. re: jhopp217

                                            Gas station convenience stores always seem to have Combos!!

                                      2. Diet Coke, Club Soda, and begin with coffee, maybe some McDonalds capuccino. Snacks, an egg burrito w/salsa from home. apple, cashews (maybe).

                                        1. Love road trips!! The cooler always has: water, sodas, string cheese and fruit, and usually some hard-boiled eggs, which I recommend only if you're all real good friends or family. The dry-pack has beef jerky, nuts, crackers and chips. Full meals, we take on the Roadfood tip; always trying to find local places that serve regional foods.

                                          7 Replies
                                          1. re: mamachef

                                            Ditto on the string cheese! I don't know why I love it so much in the car. (I eat it at home, too... but in the car I eat it much more often!)

                                            1. re: mamachef

                                              Your road trips are similar to ours with the exception of the eggs. We pack a cooler with refreshments and stop for meals. Sadly, we seem to have had more mediocre meals on the road rather than memorable ones in recent times. It's a crap shoot when stopping at small, local cafes, restaurants, etc.

                                              1. re: John E.

                                                When you ask for recommends, don't ask someone in the town's customer service industry, eg the clerk at your hotel - you'll more likely get sent to a chain. I've always had great good luck w/ trash collectors, the POlice, and little old ladies in the supermarket. And look for local cars in the parking lot. :)

                                                1. re: mamachef

                                                  The interesting thing about the recent mediocre food was from cafes in small towns with only one cafe. (ha!) We went to my mother's tiny home town in NW Wisconsin to buy a burial plot and the food was kind of crappy. The last time we went up that way we were at a funeral in a nearby, larger town and the food at the town's only cafe was actually pretty good. But, you are correct, from now on we're gonna ask some local (other than the kid at the gas station near the highway).

                                                  When we were in New Orleans last October I got a great recommendation for a restaurant near Bourbon Street from a pharmacist at a Walgreen's .

                                                  1. re: mamachef

                                                    The last time I asked one of the "local" counter staff at the reception desk (NOT the Maitre'D etc) in a hotel in Louisville, KY for a recommendation for a great Sunday brunch, as opposed to the ho-hum corporate-like brunch in the hotel right there, he bubbled over with directions to a WUNNERFUL place near the airport - which I realized on digesting his info was the Cracker Barrel on that road near the airport, yes, in the immediate area where I had happened to stay the previous night.

                                                    1. re: huiray

                                                      What? You don't find the Cracker Barrel to be WUNNERFUL? I usually employ mamachef's approach of looking for lots of local cars in the lot. However, I must admit on this basis I would mistake Cracker Barrel for a wunnerful spot, as the lot is always full regardless of the time of day.

                                                      1. re: gaffk

                                                        Well, if you DO get stuck and there's nothing but Cracker Barrel, you can't go wrong with just a big ol' plate of hashbrown casserole. :)

                                              2. Just water. It makes the rest stop fast food much more enjoyable.

                                                1. those convenience store bags of chex mix... as much as I swear I'm not going to buy it again, it's like a road trip addiction!

                                                  1. For some reason I always make the same long-excursion sandwich:

                                                    - Long thin baguette
                                                    - Salami
                                                    - Swiss cheese
                                                    - Pickles

                                                    And procede to reduce it as the hours pass.

                                                    1. A slab of spicy beef jerky, a large bag of HOT Cheetos, and a case of Arizona sweet tea should just about do it...don't forget the wet-naps!

                                                      1. No food in the car, only water, if hunger pangs are too much before a scheduled stop at a food destination than some fruit, nuts, celery sticks are eaten at a vantage point.

                                                        1. Slurpee(coke, with a touch of cherry) and combos- but ONLY the cheddar cheese/pretzel variety. I never eat them any other time.

                                                          Back in the day when they were good, fresh McDonald's fries with lots of salt and a coke.

                                                          1. I eat boston baked beans one at a time...helps time go by more quickly for me.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: iluvtennis

                                                              I hope you mean the candy and not the side dish!

                                                              I do the same thing with jellybeans. One at a time.

                                                            2. When doing an all night run, quart thermos of coffee and a bucket of original Kentucky Fried Chicken. Tuck a beach towel into my shirt to catch the crumbs and juices and to wipe my hands on. I was notorious on the Pennsylvania and Florida turnpikes during the seventies.

                                                              Now I plan the trip on regional foods and plan for plenty of stops.

                                                              1. Depends on mood such as:
                                                                Peanut M&Ms, twizzlers, cheezits, and wheat thins
                                                                Asian prawn crackers, seaweed wrapped crackers, pockey, fruit gummies
                                                                Baby bell cheese, crusty bread, cut up vegetable, fruit

                                                                I don't snack much on trips but when I need to eat, I need to eat.

                                                                1. My latest car snack are the lentil chips with cracked black pepper. They are so good!

                                                                  1. If I'm by myself, Chee-tos (preferably the jalapeno flavor), water, and Pepsi.

                                                                    When I was a kid, we would typically stop at at Chinese deli and my mom would buy some roast pork and BBQ pork for snacking on the road.

                                                                    1. Trail mix, nuts, beef jerky. Watermelon and frozen grapes for the cooler. And a Starbucks Frappachino when we can find it.

                                                                      1. When we head out on a road trip with the kids, we usually make a stop at Starbucks before we leave town - caffeine for us - hot chocolate or a vanilla bean Frappuccino for the kids. We also like to stop at T&T, the Asian supermarket, for barbecued pork or cold sliced barbecued duck, steamed buns, flavoured bean curd, and a variety of other fun things. Plus we usually pack a bottle of water or two - for us, the dog, and (in some cases) the radiator.

                                                                        1. Starbucks iced coffee and Slim Jims and plain Lay's potato chips.......I never eat Slim Jims except on the road - and when we are leaving I have to have them - and only from a gas station otherwise they are not the full length ones - If traveling in Texas I get an Aqua Fresca - usually Horchata (but those aren't limited to road trips)

                                                                          1. My husband loves Mystic Mints for road food. We also get string cheese for road food, and at no other time. We very rarely eat at fast food places, but when we're on the road for a day we have a regular system of where we will go (and where we won't go) and what we will order: at Jack in the Box he gets a taco, I get egg rolls; at Carls Jr western bacon cheeseburger (single, not double - the proportions are off in the double) or chicken club; at Taco Bell mexican pizza for him, bean burrito extra cheese no onion for me. If we are travelling with our dog, which we usually are, that generally means we are eating dinner in the room at a Motel 6, which will be a three piece chicken strip meal with mashed potatoes and extra gravy and cole slaw, and a bottle of chardonay.

                                                                            1. I refuse to eat fast food! Microwave burritos, yuck. Hot roller franks, no shot.

                                                                              Snacks include carrots, tamari almonds, cashews, walnuts, boiled eggs, luna bars and plenty of seltzer and gum. Will buy coffee along the way. Chips too.

                                                                              Did get a chuckle from the Slim Jim comment. That is a blast from the past. They were great with beer when I was eighteen!

                                                                              1. Cheese. Nuts. Popcorn (homemade). Apples. Carrot Sticks. Lots of water. A mug of hot tea to begin with. If it's morning, homemade breakfast sandwiches. Bittersweet chocolate. Homemade cookies. And like that.

                                                                                1. Tim Horton's Bacon B.E.LT. (Bagel, egg, lettuce, tomato, and cheese slice) sandwich on a whole wheat bagel. Because that makes it healthy... right?!

                                                                                  1. twizzler's licorice nibs and deli kettle cooked jalapeno potato chips are a must for any road trip. and lots and lots of diet pepsi.

                                                                                    1. Canned corned beef with lots of onions on toasted rolls with hot sauce and ketchup,pan fried chicken adobo on pan de sal,Planters dry roasted peanuts,Cheetos,Poland Springs and black cherry soda.

                                                                                      1. OK I let myself be evil on road trips! A RT I make often is from DC to Dayton, Ohio. My normal breakfast is fruit and a hard boiled egg...RT?? Gimme Mickey D's egg/cheese biscuit and hashbrown. Lunch? Morgantown, WV Sheetz MTO sub. It's my one pit stop. Other than that I keep water, pretzels, and a good book to listen to.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: rHairing

                                                                                          Oh if you go thru Morgantown, you must get a pepperoni roll....or a dozen! Sold at the grocery stores, Country Club Bakery, and even at gas stations! Great for in the car. If you want to stop then Wings Ole ( Beef Burrito w blue cheese is my fave) or D'Amicis pizza (old school pepperoni) are great quick local joints!

                                                                                        2. Obviously depends on the time of day. If I'm leaving in the morning, I will get and egg sandwich and a coffee and that usually holds me over. If it's a long trip or an afternoon trip, I like a big Italian Combo and might ask for it to be sliced into fours, so I can have an easy to handle piece a few whenever I get hungry. If it's late, I'll stop at a drive through. I don't normally eat fast food, so sometimes I look at it as a guilty pleasure.

                                                                                          Not a big fan of snacks, because it's hard to eat while driving. If someone else is with me....some cheese and crackers is always nice. I remember once I went in my glove box and saw some brie and crackers...would have been great had I not put them in there a month before

                                                                                          1. Even if it's a 2-3 hour trip with a food destination, we always pack Original Pringles. Never eat them otherwise.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: LikestoEatout

                                                                                              Yes, Pringles! But I prefer Sour Cream and Onion. Just bought some the other day for our road-trip this weekend :)

                                                                                            2. Bourbon, cigars and ruglach.

                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: beevod

                                                                                                Ah... a Renaissance man. all's missing is a Leonard Cohen soundtrack and a young brunette with questionable morals.

                                                                                                1. re: Duppie

                                                                                                  Mozart rather than Cohen and -- I never question morals (too constricting).

                                                                                                  1. re: beevod

                                                                                                    I Must remember that.

                                                                                              2. King size snickers bar
                                                                                                Double pack slim jim
                                                                                                Giant vat o soda
                                                                                                Pack of juicy fruit gum

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: mizzdee

                                                                                                  I need to read slower. Initially read "giant vat o soda" as "giant vodka"!

                                                                                                  1. re: queueueuq

                                                                                                    Lmao
                                                                                                    At times..that too

                                                                                                2. Baguettes, good sliced cold cuts (hot dried coppa, soppresata, German bologna, roasted turkey, and assorted cheeses) bottled water, and Kirkland trail mix work for us on our annual drive from SF Bay Area to Park City UT.

                                                                                                  We usually drive straight through stopping only for gas and restroom breaks -- Starbucks works well for that (DH prefers their usually clean restrooms to the run of the mill gas station offering).

                                                                                                  1. I identify road trips with two of my favorite childhood memories.. driving to 'the shore' for our vacation and stopping at one of the road side farm stands in New Jersey and getting fresh picked peaches, washing them off with the water from the melted Ice in the coleman cooler and eating them, right there on the side of the road...

                                                                                                    the other is driving to Florida for vacation with my grandparents, and my grandfather stopped at what was probaby every Howard Johnson from Pennsylvania to Miami, and he'd get a cup of coffee and we'd get something... ice cream, a sandwich, pie, waffles... you name it, we'd just get SOMETHING every time we stopped... oh and teaberry gum, I got car sick and they gave me tea berry gum to chew to get rid of the nausea... (I don't remember if it worked or not)

                                                                                                    1. I guess I am a freak of nature in this regard. I don't allow eating in my car.

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: Samalicious

                                                                                                        O.M.G.!! I have had some very memorable meals in my car. I have an aversion to dining solo. I'd rather get something to go and eat it in my car while driving.
                                                                                                        It can get messy. The messiest was the Junior's Pastrami on Latkes with lots of mustard. I think I just threw away that shirt.

                                                                                                      2. My favorite thing to bring is thick-cut deli meats and cheeses, and crackers, to make my own "lunchables." I usually have packets or room-service jars of mustard and mayo to also put on them. I assemble them while my husband is driving, and he can eat them easily in one bite. That way we don't have to stop for a meal, as the choices along the route aren't that great. Then, at our destination, I have usually found a decent restaurant, via Chowhound, of course!

                                                                                                        1. I live in Florida, and once or twice a year we take a road trip that takes us across state lines. As soon as we get into Georgia, we hit the first gas station and stock up on Moon Pies.

                                                                                                          1. About the only time I eat candy is when I am driving long distances. Most of the time it is long-lasting candy like Jolly Ranchers or Werther's, but whenever I feel myself getting bored or need distraction I break out the Starburst jellybeans. I force myself to eat them one at a time, and I have come up with all kinds of little games to go along with that distraction, I can't eat the same color twice in a row, can only eat a jellybean if I have passed or been passed by a car of that color, or I can only eat one per mile marker. Silly, but it works.

                                                                                                            1. I'm a savoury kind of person so hardboiled eggs, salami, bread and cheese that I can have sliced and handed to me.

                                                                                                              1. If its just me on a long distance trip, spicy cajun peanuts and diet Dr. Pepper. If the family is along, a stop at Waffle House for breakfast or Sheetz for lunch. Love those computers for making your fav sandwich combo.

                                                                                                                1. My credit cards and plenty of cash.

                                                                                                                  1. When I was a kid and later as an adult with my own family one of my favorite things about road trips (or camping trips in this case) was stopping for lunch. In both cases we would have a cooler in the vehicle with all the stuff needed for lunch for the entire family. We would find a nice place to stop, and fix sandwiches, fruit, chips, cookies, etc. and eat at either a picnic table or a blanket on the grass. These trips were usually either in northern Minnesota or in the Black Hills, Little Big Horns, Tetons so we could find a spot by a stream or someplace just as beautiful. The kids would be off playing while lunch is being prepped. Of course I was out playing as a kid and as an adult and somebody else always made the sandwiches ; )

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                      Often it is easier to find a park and lunch from cooler than to find a promising restaurant. In some areas, mainly Western farm districts, I'm attracted to a taco truck - where I get to eat under a makeshift shelter nearby. In one case we bought the rotisserie chicken from a grocery deli and ate it at the edge of their parking lot.

                                                                                                                    2. i'm weird... when i go away with girlfriends, it's:
                                                                                                                      kale chips
                                                                                                                      roasted seaweed
                                                                                                                      carrot sticks
                                                                                                                      my friend always buys cereal

                                                                                                                      on different routes, i have necessitated restaurants... like The Apricot Tree Inn on the 5... the collection of lunch boxes never ceases to amuse me.

                                                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: Emme

                                                                                                                        "Roasted seaweed"?

                                                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                          We're totally addicted to roasted seaweed.

                                                                                                                          1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                            is it wrong that i buy it by the case? ...and it's one of the few things i hate to share?

                                                                                                                            1. re: Emme

                                                                                                                              We do, too- and if they don't have it by the case in the back I will take every last package off the shelf (and not feel bad about it at all.)

                                                                                                                          2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                            they have it in a lot of places, but i prefer the Trader Joe's brand best. just the salted (no wasabi for me). individual packs.

                                                                                                                            whole foods sells individual packs as well. and annie chung's makes one too i believe.

                                                                                                                            sooo much better than chips IMO.

                                                                                                                          3. re: Emme

                                                                                                                            aaaaaaaaaah wasabi nori?

                                                                                                                            1. re: Stephanie Wong

                                                                                                                              just the roasted sesame if you please!

                                                                                                                          4. Chicharrones!

                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                            1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                              Just got back from a short road trip, LA to Palm Springs. I always bring the same thing that my dad taught me to mak when I was little. Cream cheese and olive sandwiches on white bread. Canned back olives, and, if I have them, green with pimiento, regular pringles, cherry tomatoes, baby carrots and cookies. And this time I brought a package of individually wrapped cheese, Tillamoos, byvTilamook.Colby ack. Damn good for noshing with the carrots. And wecalways stopped at gas stations for extra snacks and drinks. I still do. This time it was a fountain iced raspberry tea and kit Kat.

                                                                                                                            2. I really like the slant on this thread. Before opening the topic, I thought it was about road food (ie., all the places my brother and I wanted to go to but places my parents hardly ever went).

                                                                                                                              The food I remember and recall fondly is kimbap (korean sushi: no fish but instead egg, meat and veggies) and miso soup. My mom would pack these for every single road trip. I had forgotten how good these were until I took a road trip with my parents recently. She brought these. I sips miso soup from a cup like coffee and popped bite sized kimbap while driving on 95. It was not only great food but brought back a lot of fond memories. The best part of it was that my kids got to have them as well. Hopefully they had some visibility in to what I recall from my childhood. They complained about wanting to stop at the next mcD but they'll remember this.

                                                                                                                              Soup

                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: Soup

                                                                                                                                My partner's mother would always pack us a backpack/cooler full of kimbap when we went out for day/road trips, including to Disneyland. We would snack on the rolls while waiting in those dang lines at the matterhorn and space mountain.

                                                                                                                                1. re: calmossimo

                                                                                                                                  I bet you were viewed with envy and curiosity.

                                                                                                                              2. I only do mini-road trips these days (about 5 hours each way) and usually stick with a full water bottle and a clif kid z bar. My partner chooses mountain dew livewire, naked juice, and sunflower seeds. For longer road trips, I'll toss together anything we have in the house or make a trip to the grocery store the night before for heavy snacks and lots o' junk food. Then I'll also make pit stops along the way at whatever diner/fast food joint looks edible (or I will research on chowhound ahead of time to find recommended stops).

                                                                                                                                1. Houston to San Antonio, BBQ at City Market in Luling, pork ribs and brisket, no sauce needed, but available. A side trip to Lockhart for prime rib, more ribs and brisket, sauce not available. We bring a toaster oven for leftovers in the hotel. This is washed down with, gasp, beer, Modelo Especials.

                                                                                                                                  1. Deep fried peanuts, a pepsi, and some twizzlers.
                                                                                                                                    My husband works all the time so every summer my son and I drive from South Carolina to Kentucky to see the grandparents. ..one of our favorite stops is the State Farmers MARKET in Asheville Nc....we roam around and get snacks...so fun and clean restrooms!

                                                                                                                                    1. As a kid (my waistline wont let me do this now) we used to take trips out in the Hill Country of Texas. We would always stop at this mom and pop country store and my go-to snack combo was a root beer, a chocolate or butterscotch moonpie, and a stick of beef jerkey.

                                                                                                                                      Less thrillingly, I now choose trailmix, cokes, saltines with cheese. Sigh for the days of my childhood.

                                                                                                                                      1. I am leaving soon on a road trip from Kansas to San Diego, and this thread has really inspired me to think about different food to pack.

                                                                                                                                        One idea I had was to freeze a few bunches of grapes. They will help keep the cooler cold and I can munch on them instead of candy.

                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: 2roadsdiverge

                                                                                                                                          Do you eat the grapes frozen? Aren't they mushy after they thaw out?

                                                                                                                                          1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                            Frozen grapes are a delicious snack. I've never let them thaw so I don't know what the consistency is like when they get to that point, but I like to keep a stash of grapes in the freezer at home for an easy, healthy treat.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: calmossimo

                                                                                                                                              I suppose if you freeze enough of the right varietal you could make ice wine with them.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                              Well, at home I eat them frozen. They don't get too mushy when they thaw out, but to be honest I rarely let them get too thawed as I am eating just a few from the freezer at a time. I don't know how they will be fully thawed if I use them as an ice pack in a cooler.

                                                                                                                                              I noticed after I posted that a CHer named gator28 posted about frozen grapes in the cooler.

                                                                                                                                          2. We are packing right now for the second leg of our 5,000+ mile trip, went from Wyoming to Virginia Beach. We are headed to Mesa Arizona in the morning. Here's what we've packed for road food:
                                                                                                                                            string cheese
                                                                                                                                            whole grain Club crackers
                                                                                                                                            Individual servings peanut butter
                                                                                                                                            the new Fig Newton cookies, lemon
                                                                                                                                            Strawberry Twizzlers
                                                                                                                                            Dark chocolate Bliss (individually wrapped)
                                                                                                                                            Individually wrapped prunes
                                                                                                                                            Dried cranberries
                                                                                                                                            Oatmeal cookies
                                                                                                                                            Plain almonds
                                                                                                                                            Water
                                                                                                                                            Mt. Dew

                                                                                                                                            We had carrots and celery as well for the first part of the trip, but didn't eat them, so not bothering with that on this next leg. I'll have veggies with meals when we stop.

                                                                                                                                            1. During road trips of my childhood my mom would make tuna/egg salad sandwiches and cut them into small segments. They would be in a cooler easily accessible and we would munch on them the whole trip. Now when I road trip I like the same thing, but my kids are not big tuna/egg salad fans. So we get some tuna and some turkey sandwiches. We also carry lots of water and assorted snack stuff that we buy at the supermarket before leaving home.

                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                              1. re: Disneyfreak

                                                                                                                                                Don't take this the wrong way, but no way am I riding in a car with tuna or egg salad sandwiches being eaten. The fragrance of those sandwiches is something I just cannot take. We used to regularly drive to my grandmother's house about 200 miles away and I don't recall much in the way of snacks or stopping. I suppose we ate before we left and there might have been one stop to use the facilities. When we were on long road trips we would stop and eat out of our cooler.

                                                                                                                                              2. Side question: How long does a trip need to be for you to think about bringing snacks for the road? I don't mean bringing a soda or grabbing a granola bar. I mean planning, preparing, and packing a snack.

                                                                                                                                                Living in Kansas, driving long distances is a regular thing for me. If it is less than three hours, I don't even really think of it as a trip, and it has to be five hours or more before I will plan meals or snacks around the travel. But I have a friend in England for whom a drive from Northampton to Manchester (about 2.5 hours) requires packing a lunch (not to mention checking the oil and tire pressure, refilling the wiper fluid, and generally treating the trip as an epic odyssey).

                                                                                                                                                I wonder if it is a cultural thing (road trips are very "American"), or more personal. My family spent most vacations driving around America, and I still prefer to drive over fly almost anywhere (I'm leaving for San Diego in a week)

                                                                                                                                                8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: 2roadsdiverge

                                                                                                                                                  I take water whenever I leave the house (haven't had a soda in thirty years and proud of it).

                                                                                                                                                  If it will be more than an hour or so or if my mother who doesn't eat often enough will be along, I grab some nuts or something to take along.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: 2roadsdiverge

                                                                                                                                                    American here - it would have to be a really long trip, more than 6 hours. I do always take a bottle of water and there's usually some kind of non-perishable food stashed in the car for what we call "emergency rations." We had a package of parched corn that I picked up in New Mexico for a few years, and there was some hardy granola bar after that. The idea is that you'll have something to eat in case the road is closed or you break down.

                                                                                                                                                    My daughter went to school in Orange County and the trip from the Bay Area is 6-7 hours - she'd take an apple.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: 512window

                                                                                                                                                      Agreed. If there's food in the car, I'll eat it. If there isn't, I won't. End of conflict. My mother used to offer to make sandwiches when we were going to make a tirp to Phoenix- it's a two-hour trip, for God's sake. My mother-in-law, who has since much improved, packed for a damn cross-country trip to Lake Powell, maybe four hours away. On the way back, we didn't have fifty bags of chips left so we had to stop at a burger fast food place because we hadn't eaten in 45 minutes. I'm glad she's more enlightened about that now.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: 2roadsdiverge

                                                                                                                                                      We regularly drive to Montreal from central New Jersey ,which is a 6 hour drive if we're taking it easy with very little other than the usual chains and truck stop fare, so packing a" road bag" is a necessity.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: 2roadsdiverge

                                                                                                                                                        There is a saying I heard somewhere - it's something like "To an Englishman, 100 miles is a long way. To an American, 100 years is a long time." I think that probably answers 2roads' question!

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                                                                          Exactly, perspective and scale...

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                                                                            Love it!

                                                                                                                                                            Found the original quote cited as:
                                                                                                                                                            Americans think 100 years is a long time, while the English think 100 miles is a long way." --Earle Hitchner

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: 2roadsdiverge

                                                                                                                                                              Yes, this has been a general observation about the difference in the mental frame of reference between folks in Europe/GB and the US/Canada for a while, really. In the US (dunno about Canada) it is said that people talk about distances in terms of hours driving time, while it is said that people in Europe talk about it in terms of kilometers (or miles, in GB). It makes perfect sense, of course, as the US (for one) is a big place with cities/localities scattered over this big place - whereas, by comparison, Europe consists of countries much smaller than the US, where folks don't generally leave the country "just like that" and tend to circulate in much smaller orbits of territory in a general sense because everything is indeed much closer to each other. I've had many former European colleagues who attested to this difference. One also crosses into another country, speaking a different language, and/or different cultural milieus within relatively short distances. Of course folks here know this - it just requires us to recall this once in a while. Oh, and the cost of petrol/gasoline or fuel is MUCH higher in Europe/GB in modern times. One always has to think carefully about whether one really needs to go on a many-kilometer trip.

                                                                                                                                                        2. I adore Corn Nuts and save them as a reward for long car rides.
                                                                                                                                                          Homemade Chex mix with roasted garlic is also a favorite.
                                                                                                                                                          We always have a cooler with lots of water and diet coke- but only drink the diet coke.

                                                                                                                                                          When I'm being good, I'll also have apple slices, baby carrots, and some nuts. But then I'll just eat the corn nuts and diet coke!

                                                                                                                                                          1. We are serious road warriors, we "trip" a lot.
                                                                                                                                                            Chips a many (Bugles, Cheeto's, Funyuns, Bagel chips, Chex mix)
                                                                                                                                                            Salty nuts and dried fruits
                                                                                                                                                            Fruit (oranges, apples, grapes, cherrys)
                                                                                                                                                            Cookies (Oreo's, Raspberry shortbread, Nilla Wafers, Gingersnaps)
                                                                                                                                                            Chocolates (always snickers and rolo's)
                                                                                                                                                            Candy in general (sour gummies, good n plenty, butterscotch suckies)
                                                                                                                                                            Soda
                                                                                                                                                            Water
                                                                                                                                                            Juice

                                                                                                                                                            1. I remember packed coolers in the car on road trips when I was a kid -- although I also remember a legendary vacation in the summer of 1982 where we stopped at literally every single Dairy Queen between Dalhart and Rockport, Texas, and if there were two in the same town we stopped at both -- but these days, I never pack snacks. One of my favorite aspects of a road trip is seeing different regional items in convenience stores and supermarkets!

                                                                                                                                                              1. We usually have our dogs with us when we are on road trips so we picnic. We pack cheese or tinned salmon sandwiches on white bread, dill pickle Lays and diet for me, sour cream and onion Ruffles and coke for him. Oh and of course a few hot rods for each of us and a table cloth. And of course dog food and water bowls.

                                                                                                                                                                If we are visiting my parents my mom always packs us healthy stuff like grapes, cheese and crackers veggies and nuts for the ride home. We usually keep the fruit and veggies for our work week. Road tripping is about eating junk!

                                                                                                                                                                If we are in a pinch and we don't pack any food, we stop at a McDonald's, get everything to go and open the tailgate in our SUV and sit in the back to eat. Fun times.

                                                                                                                                                                1. My problem is ...if I pack anything to eat for the car ride, as soon as the car is out of the driveway and rounding our first corner I am reaching into the back seat for something - doesn't matter the time of day - that is the fun of car rides and food in the car! Also - I don't think anyone mentioned pistachio nuts - of course I bring a plastic bag for the shells! Another thing I do - wrap sandwiches in halves - easier to take 1/2 and easier to manage!

                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: smilingal

                                                                                                                                                                    smart idea smilingal about 1/2 sandwiches. you're right they're hard to get to when you're trying to pull out a big bulky (say) messy tuna sandwich. I'll remember that. about nuts we do pistachios also plus hubby loves peanuts in shells and I love flavored or regular sunflower seeds + I have access to all the mixed nuts I want via a friend so we go through a lot of mixed nuts.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                                                      Il Divo - the bulkier the better! This just reminded me - many years ago we used to refer to a good homemade sandwich as a feasty feisty! Thanks for bringing that one back to me!