Reader Ideas on Packing Food for Road Trips

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Here are some reader comments about the “Packing For Road Trips” Article along with some good suggestions from experienced moms! -Tawra

Kelly Z. From Augusta, Kansas writes:We frequently take long trips in our van with 5 or 6 children and we have found the following to be very helpful:

    1. Bring a potty seat. You still need to pull over, but it is great for that child potty training or for “I can’t hold it anymore!”
    2. Everyone travels in sandals – Shoes always seem to get kicked off and mom and dad don’t want to wait 5 minutes for everybody to put on their shoes, so we pack the tennies and travel in sandals.
    3. We borrow books on cd or tape from the library to listen to.

  • We stock up on notebooks at the beginning of the school year so for each trip, each child gets a brand new notebook to draw in. There is just something about a new notebook!
  • Mom and Dad get big tupperware cups of water. The children get sports bottles of water. Water is passed out about an hour before each scheduled stop, unless you are in diapers, then you get unlimited water in your sippy cup. We freeze a gallon of water (in a milk jug) before we leave. As the water thaws, we have cold water. We have advanced to needing two gallons. Much cheaper than buying bottled water.
  • Our favorite things to eat on the road: 
    1. bagels with cream cheese
    2. cinnamon buns from Sam’s (approx 2.50 for a 12 pack)
    3. grapes in snack size bags
    4. cereal in a snack size bag


    1. peanut butter and honey sandwiches cut in quarters and in bags
    2. ham and cheese sandwiches cut in quarters
    3. 2 snack size bags, one with crackers, one with slices of lunch meat and cheese


    1. Same as lunch
    2. Pizza…stop at a pizza store, buy 2 large pizzas, ask for paper plates and napkins and eat on the road. Of course, there are now some gas stations that do pizza, so it would be even easier (and cheaper!)


    1. Fruit: bananas, apple, pear or orange slices in snack size bags, grapes in snack size bags,
    2. Veggies: baby carrots (don’t take broccoli, if anybody drops it and it gets warm, it gets pretty stinky!)
    3. string cheese
    4. Graham crackers in snack size bags
    5. Chewy Granola bars (the crunchy ones made too big of a mess)


  • Our older children love having a personal cd player or cassette player to listen to books on tape/cd
  • We only use our DVD player if I am making the 12 hour trip “home” by myself with the children. Then, after each 3 hour stop, I will put in a new DVD.
  • When driving by myself, I use the 3 hour rule. Every 3 hours, stop at a well known gas station (Quik Trip, Super America, etc), everybody goes in for potty break/ diaper change, mom buys an extra large cappuccino to keep her alert. We fill up with gas, if needed. Mom passes out snack/meal or we go through a drive thru. Mom gets the DVD ready to turn on after they are done eating. Repeat in 3 hours!
  • New Hot Wheels…the boys and the girls stay occupied with these for hours!



Carrie Writes: I loved the article about packing food for road trips. When my hubby and I take day trips, we like to leave early in the morning so we always pack breakfast. I pack a cutting board to assemble bagel sandwiches on. We splurge and get fancy bagels, cream cheese, smoked salmon and juice. I also bring baggies to hold anything that the smoked salmon touched because it can get stinky. This is one of our favorite treats! Thanks for a great newsletter. I learn lots from you ladies :)


For more money saving tips like these along with hundreds of delicious quick and easy recipes, check out our Dining On A Dime Cookbook!


photo by: paulhami


  1. Vicki says

    It was many years ago; it was just my second husband and I; we went on long trips that involved camping. It took me way too much time to realize that I could buy food along the way. The point is that we often had to throw away things we stashed in the cooler, because we could not keep it cool enough. We were penny wise, and pound foolish. It wasn’t as if we left home to never see another store again. Why did it take me SO long to learn this one????

  2. Fatimah says

    I a hot water flask with hot soups and containers of blalanched noodles and veggies.The soup is hot till lunch time,just pour the hot soup over the noodles for a hot lunch.


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