Travel Eats

I’ve spent this week gearing up for a weekend trip. It’s sort of put a damper on my cooking aspirations, but the process has allowed me to realize that there are some important tricks to getting ready for a trip – and staying satiated while on it. For most of you, these will be old hat, but for past-me, these tricks could have saved me some grief.

First, plan your meals around the trip. Don’t just keep making what you usually make for dinners, at least not without taking things like leftovers, both of the ingredients and of the food, into account. It is a sad day when half a baked pasta must be given away or thrown out because otherwise it’ll spoil while you’re out of town.

Second, you can never have enough water. Airplane air is weird and dry. Traveling is stressful and tiring. Staying hydrated it crucial. Bringing in an empty water bottle and filling it up after getting past security can help make the trip much more bearable. Also making the trip more bearable? Getting a beer before/during the flight.

Third, bring your own snacks. Sure, airlines hand out peanuts and sometimes cookies, but those foods aren’t the best snacks. Even if they are, it is easy to grow sick of them, or at the very least, lament the small portion sizes. Trail mixes, fresh fruits or veggies, or even nicely wrapped sandwiches are pretty okay. Embrace your inner kid – stock up on the types of snacks you got in your lunches.  But, you know, I’ve brought two fruit breads and a dozen cookies in my carry on before, so it’s really up to you.

Fourth, be careful not to be too adventurous with food when traveling. Let’s just say that there have been instances of all the toilets breaking on a plane while in flight, leaving a lot of grouchy, uncomfortable passengers. Always be prepared.

Fifth, remember that if you have been gone for a while, there is no food in the house. I have had to make some truly inadvisable 1 AM grocery store runs because I forgot this ridiculously basic lesson. Plan accordingly.

How about you? What are you travel food rules? What lessons have you learned? What foods do you eat when traveling?

5 replies on “Travel Eats”

I travel internationally quite a bit and one key thing to remember is quarantine.  Don’t bring fruit, nuts, seeds, unless you’re happy with eating all of them before you land or are happy to toss them in a quarantine bin before customs.  This is really important even when travelling between states in Australia as there are different pests that haven’t spread to some states and the farmers want to keep it that way.

Also, I love eating peanut M&M’s as a snack but worry about bringing them on a plane due to the possibility of someone else having an intense peanut allergy.  Is this founded?  I’m assuming that the flight attendants wouldn’t go around telling everyone if someone did have an allergy like that, or would they?  I remember a woman in front of me in line at an airport once going through her severe peanut allergy and ensuring that there would be no peanuts served on the flight.  Which made me worry about other people bring peanut snacks on board.

I never think to bring food with me on airplane trips, I just eat what’s available on the plane. Sometimes, that’s not always the best. :) For road trips, I’m pretty good about bringing food and beverages along in the car so as to cut down on buying meals in restaurants. Fresh fruit and snacks like graham crackers or cheese sticks are usually good for road trips as well as pre-made sandwiches. Water bottles are essential.

Mmm ..we do the mid-night runs or take-outs when we come home to an empty fridge, but usually we have still like ready-to-bake croissants and other not fast-wasting products until we can go to a supermarket next day. During the trip I simply go for What I Want plus lots of hydration. In the countries where it’s necessary, only bottled hydration.

Last time we had a stop over on Atlanta we got a ‘take-away-sized’ pizza, freshly made. It was the best pick-me-up before flying into the night.

I am all about bringing our own food when we travel- which is mostly by car, so it’s easier than taking lunch for four on a plane!

Regardless of method, I always throw a couple of apples in my bag- for enroute snacking. I also pack granola bars, pretzels, and the like. For drinks, I usually just have water bottles that we can refill as we stop.

As for at home, we always have a leftover night the night before we leave, and I try to make sure we’ve got some sort of pantry meal for when we get home.My parents drive to Florida every year, and they tend to stop by our house on their way (we’re three hours south of them, and sort of on the way) – my mom’s been known to pack a cooler of their perishables to pass on to us so they don’t go to waste!


Once before a trip from Washington to Florida, I made the mister and me a couple of rice and bean wraps that didn’t have to be refrigerated, which was a nice way to have lunch on the way rather than pay airport prices for food. Besides, some airports are better than others for options that aren’t Burger King. I mean, sure, sometimes I’ll eat Burger King (yeah, yeah I know), but I find that most of the time, I feel pretty miserable on a plane and want something lighter/healthier so it’s not like traveling with a rock in my stomach.

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