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The travel bug bit me at a young age. Even though I come from a large family, we were blessed to have opportunities to travel all over this great country and abroad. Since we had such a large family, this usually meant many family road trips.
While many kids loath road trips, the hours on end in a car without TV or video games, I loved it! I loved playing road trip games with my siblings, blowing through books on my lengthy summer reading list, enjoying special road trip snacks and seeing the world around me pass by.
To this day, I still don’t mind a great road trip! And the best part, is that now, since I am the one behind the wheel, I can truly make each road trip one of a kind, making pit stops at quirky landmarks and small one horse Texas towns.
And while we travel the roads year round, the summer wouldn’t be complete without some sort of summer road trip! In fact, this summer we have several road trips planned. Most are small, keeping within our Texas boarders and only driving a few hours each way, but we do have a monster of a road trip (like 20+ hours) planned for later this summer.
To get ready for any road trip, large or small, I have learned it is important to not only plan the route and itinerary, but make sure our cars are road trip ready. Getting an oil change and tire rotation is always on the road trip check list. Because there is always so much to do when getting ready to travel, I take full advantage of the Automotive Care Center at my local Walmart. Not only is this super convenient, because I can get my car worked on while I go shop for other things (like snacks and toiletries) that we need for our trip; but I know I can get the right oil I need for my car, the Pennzoil High Mileage Oil, which is specially designed for cars like mine which have over 75,000 miles (I told you we like road trips!).
In addition to making sure our car is ready to hit the road for our trips, I always whip up some snacks to take on the road with us. Not only can road trips snacks and meals be very expensive when traveling, they are often not the best for you. So, for our really long trips, I always pack a cooler and a lunch box full of snacks and meals we can conveniently enjoy on the road. Below are our favorite snacks that travel well and a few tips on how to store food for travel.
Road Trip Snack Ideas and Travel Tips:
Travel Breakfast Ideas:
- Hard boiled eggs
- Individual yogurt cups or tubes
- String cheese
- Dry cereal
- Beef jerky
Travel Lunch Ideas:
- Sandwiches (peanut butter and jelly, egg or chicken salad, meat and cheese)
- Pasta salad
- Dried fruit (banana chips, raisins, dried pineapple)
- Dried veggies
- Fresh fruit (blueberries, grapes, bananas)
- Fresh vegetables (cherry tomatoes, carrot and celery sticks)
- Individual Fruit and applesauce cups/pouches
- Fruit snacks
- Cookies (avoid cookies with chocolate)
- Nuts (like the Cajun Spiced Mixed Nuts below)
- Trail mix
- Snack mix
- Granola or granola bars
- Seeds (pumpkin or sunflower)
- Bottled water
- Sports drinks
- Juice boxes
With the summer months reaching record high temperatures, it is very important to keep food stored properly while traveling. Check out these four food storage travel tips:
Refrigerated items: Store refrigerated items (lunch meat, yogurt, cheese, hard boiled eggs, fruit, pasta salad) in tightly sealed coolers. Use ice, frozen ice packs or freeze water bottles (that double as drinks as they melt), to help keep food at proper temperatures. If traveling long distances, stop for additional ice at gas stations and convenience stores. Refrigerated items should always remain at 40 degrees F or colder. If refrigerated items reach temperatures above 40 degrees F, don’t risk food borne illness and throw out.
Non-refrigerated items: Snacks, such as cereals, nuts, cookies, etc., should be stored in air tight containers or plastic food storage baggies. Even though these snacks do not require refrigeration, if stopping over night, plan to bring all food into your hotel room.
Individual snacks: When traveling with children, pack a variety of snacks in plastic storage boxes with separate compartments. This allows each child to have their own custom snack pack!
Camping: If camping is part of your road trip adventure, take extra precautions and be mindful of bears and other animals. Never leave food out and unattended and make sure all food and coolers are tightly sealed. Store food at least 100 feet and downwind from your sleeping area. If staying in bear country, store food in approved bear boxes.
Other Road Trip Snack Necessities:
Trash: Don’t forget to bring small trash bags or plastic grocery bags to place any trash while traveling.
Paper Goods: Pack napkins/paper towels, plastic knives, forks and spoons (if needed) and paper plates, if planing to stop and enjoy your packed lunch at a rest stop.
Cleaning: Pack baby wipes and hand sanitizer for easy clean up.
When we travel I always try an pack a variety of snacks. But our favorite snack is mixed nuts! Eric loves picking up those little seasoned nut packs found at gas stations, but they can get expensive. When preparing for our last road trip, I decided to whip up a homemade spiced nut mix. These Cajun Spiced Mixed Nuts, made with a smokey homemade Cajun spice blend using standard pantry staples, quickly became a family favorite and now makes an appearance at every road trip and at family parties.
Cajun Spiced Mixed Nuts
by Heather H. of Kitchen Concoctions: www.kitchen-concoctions.com
Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 45-60 minutes Serves: 4-6
¼ teaspoon coarse salt
½ teaspoons paprika
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon ground pepper
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon ground thyme
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 ½-2 teaspoons hot sauce
1 (15-ounce) container lightly salted mixed nuts
Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Line baking sheet with foil and spray foil with cooking spray. Set aside.
In a small bowl, stir together spices and dried herbs to form Cajun seasoning. In a separate small bowl, stir together melted butter and hot sauce. Pour mixed nuts into a large bowl. Pour melted butter and Cajun seasoning over nuts and toss to coat.
Spread seasoned nuts, into an even layer on foil lined baking sheet. Bake in preheated 200 degree F oven for 45-60 minutes, stirring occasionally. Allow nuts to cool completely, then store seasoned nuts in an air tight container.