Top Tips for your next Roadtrip

I just got back this week from a six-day road trip with my husband through Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. We avoided the National Parks and main roadways and took quiet back roads through some gorgeous land. We knew we would stop in a small Montana town along the way to visit a friend, but otherwise, we didn't make plans. It was so freeing!

Because we knew there would be a lot of driving through desolate areas, we had to be really prepared with food. Yet, I did less preparation for this trip than I have ever done before. And, again, I felt so free as a result!

What's incredible about food preparation in this way, is that after you get into a groove and get familiar with what you will need on the road, the process gets easier and easier. On our six-day trip, we only ate two meals from a restaurant, which felt pretty remarkable.

For the last twenty years, I have called myself an explorer and traveler. During that time, I have lived in 6 countries and 5 US states, making countless trips via plane, train, and automobile. In fact, I have done so much solo travel that what I find normal is still new to my most common travel companion, my husband. This last week on our trip, he laughed at me and said, "you are so prepared," as I pulled another unexpected thing out of my bag.

But, being prepared makes me feel safe and means that I don't feel stressed or on high alert during my time away. Knowing what I needed and not having to over-prepare brought me that sense of freedom I was seeking on this vacation. That's what we all want when traveling, to feel like we can relax and enjoy our time. 

So, it's no surprise that one of the biggest concerns my clients have before working with me is knowing how they'll navigate new foods while they travel. All of my clients are travelers, and it is one of my favorite things to support them with... and show them that, no matter what they eat, it can be done. And, it does not have to be complicated!

Even though I am technically on a July break, I wanted to put together a slideshow of my roadtrip foods and let you know some tips to help you on your travels. 😊

You can view the slideshow here

Be sure to read the captions for specific information. 

And, click over to my blog post, Camp Food How-To to read more about camping specific preparation. Some of the tips listed there are the same that I'd consider for a roadtrip.

Here are my Top Food Tips for your Next Roadtrip:

1--Stay prepared and know what you most need:

  • Decide how many meals you need, and work out what amount of food you will need accordingly
  • For a weekend trip you may need: 2 breakfasts (B), 2 lunches (L), and 2 dinners (D)
  • Plan them out with your travel schedule. Add snacks according to your style of eating, level of activity, or length of drive. Such as, Friday D, Saturday BLD, Sunday BL. Snacks for each day
  • Also, know how many people you are feeding and how much they like to eat: 2 adults, 4 adults, or 2 children plus 2 adults are going to eat different amounts, of course
  • Create a grocery list and know what you need now and what you can replenish on the road


For instance, with this trip, I knew there was a great grocery store in Missoula, so I planned to restock there. But, we skipped Missoula and found what we needed in a small town Co-Op instead. It was actually super gratifying to do it that way and trust that I could find what I needed to feel good even without going into a city. 

2--I suggest making a loose plan to mix and match your grocery items, such as:

  • You’ll want some things to cook and some things that are easy to grab on the go, in the car
  • Grab a carb or two: raw carrots and packaged sweet potato chips are easy ones
  • Grab a green or two: kale or cabbage to cook, arugula or salad greens ready to use
  • Grab a rotation of meats: chicken thighs, ground beef, bacon and some lunchmeat
  • Grab some fruit, like easy-to-eat berries, cherries, pre-cut melon or apples. Peaches, pears and other soft fruit can get bruised easily and make a juicy mess
  • Grab avocados, single serving guacamole or dips for easy upgrades to add fat to your snacks and meals
  • A bonus grab can be seaweed wraps, coconut wraps or gluten-free bread if you plan to picnic. It’s not necessary, as you can easily eat salami, chips, and fruit on the go. Or, wrap in lettuce.

On this trip, I found it nice to “contain” ingredients and plan on wraps or sandwiches as the main lunch meals we would eat. 

3--Get the tools you need

  • Be sure to have travel plates or something to eat off of 
  • Make sure you have a knife, a cutting board, and towels or wet wipes for your hands (I also keep a sponge and soap in my wannigan, see below, for dishes)
  • Carry lightweight travel utensils such as bamboo, titanium, or renewable plastic
  • Bring a container to hold all of your garbage along the way. I like to have a sealable container for all food waste and a bag for non-food waste. I also keep another bag or box with all recyclables, in case there is not recycling nearby (yes, I bring it all the way home!)
  • Carry several reusable water bottles with you, enough for everyone to have 2 in the car. You can refill at filtered water station or buy bulk sized water and refill everyone on the go.


4--That said, you'll definitely need a good cooler for your roadtrip. Our Yeti cooler has become essential for travel. I use this one for road travel and this one when I travel by plane (I check it with shoes/linens/extras inside, then go straight to the grocery store when I arrive).

5--Lastly, you'll want to create a wannigan (it holds your “go-to” camping or travel foods)*

  • Include oil, salt, seasoning blends, tea, coffee, travel mugs, spatula, small chef knife, cutting board, plates, zip bags, etc that you’ll want to travel with you anytime you set out.
  • Having everything ready and in one place will make it easier the next time!

*I learned this from my father-in-law who goes out into the Canadian boundary waters every year for 10+ days. He must be extremely prepared for the conditions and the length of his stay. 

I hope these tips help keep you prepared for your next roadtrip! If you have any other hacks you love, share them with me on the slideshow.

To see more of what I share when traveling, be sure to follow me on social media under the hashtag, #travelwithbmack. Check out my #travelwithbmack Instagram feed here.

Wishing you easy and peaceful travels,
Brandi

Brandi Mackenzie