Image credit: Mike Fischer
We are planning a road trip for spring break back to Wisconsin. In order to cut costs, we are going to try to live out of our cooler. Besides sandwiches, do you have ideas for cheap and easy meals I could bring along?
First off, let’s deal with the sandwiches. ;) If you can, I would recommend buying some little extras for sandwiches that you might not normally buy: fancy mustard, Claussen pickles, fancier bread, maybe some pastrami instead of just plain old smoked turkey.
My theory is that if you dress up your sandwiches a bit and make sure to have good variety, you’ll be able to delay the groans of “sandwiches again?!” a lot longer. Plus, if you can make a better sandwich than you can get in any drive-thru, that makes spending money on fast food a whole lot less tempting.
Tip: pack your sandwich ingredients in ziploc or even plastic grocery bags so that you can easily pull it all out at once and don’t have to dig around in the ice with your bare hands to find it all!
Something Other Than Sandwiches
But, besides sandwiches, what else to eat? We like to bring along snacks with substance, like crackers and cheese slices and apples with cream cheese dip. Some other things I’d like to try sometime would be pita bread and veggies with hummus and homemade granola bars (I did attempt to take these on a road trip, and forgot them at home).
We usually take bagels for breakfasts and snacks, and take fruit like strawberries and grapes (washed and stemmed or cored so they are completely ready to eat with no extra trash to deal with). Yogurt cups are also another favorite road trip food for us.
Nuts are a great source of protein and are super-easy to pack, but are kind of expensive so they don’t usually make it on our road trip menu. Dried fruit is the same thing for us: travels well, but gets kind of expensive if you use it for more than just snacks here and there. It’s hard for us not to “fill up” on dried fruit and nuts! Trail mix can sometimes be a cheaper alternative.
More ideas: beef jerky, tortilla rollups, potato salad, pudding cups, oatmeal cookies, pretzels, pasta salad
Once You Get There
If you’ll have access to a kitchen or even just a microwave once you get there, the possibilities are then endless! When we take trips, we often stay at a place with a kitchen and I plan very simple meals that don’t require much time or dishes, since dishes are one thing I do not want to do on vacation.
Soups like chili and potato soup are easy to make ahead of time and put in the cooler, then warm up when you arrive at your destination. Burritos also travel well – and if you make them at home and then freeze them, they can double as ice for your cooler. :)
We usually make one or two grocery shopping excursions on a week-long trip – make sure to take a few minutes to check out what grocery stores you’ll be near and who might have the best deals during that week – plan your vacation menus around what’s on sale, too!
Share Your Tips
What’s your favorite road trip food? How do you save money on food when traveling long distances? Please share in the comments!
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Welcome to Springs Bargains, a service of our real estate business, Circa Real Estate Group! I’m Carrie, and since 2008 I’ve been sharing free and discounted ways to eat, play, and enjoy life in Colorado Springs.