So this post is going to oust me for the weirdo that I am…but maybe you guys already knew that. One of my VERY favorite things to do ever is to prepare for vacation! I don’t mean getting tickets, hotel rooms, etc. I mean prepping for a long drive. I know, I’m crazy. I love it so much that I decided to give you some EASY Vacation Food Prep ideas! Prepping like this not only makes our drive faster, it also saves up money AND it’s healthier!
I think my obsession dates back to when I first started vacationing with my family. We would go on a month long road trip to the east coast. I don’t know how my mom survived, but we LOVED it! We stayed in Cincinnati and Pennsylvania the longest, but we would switch up our other vacation spots along the way (like New Orleans, Myrtle Beach, New York, Disney World and more!)
I didn’t realize how lucky I was until I grew up and had to work for the summer. It was the best experience and I hope to be able to travel a lot with my kids! The first day we would travel 17 hours across Texas (okay, that part wasn’t the best) and my grandmother would do all the prep work for our food for the day. We had bagels for breakfast, sandwiches, fruit, etc. There is seriously NOTHING in between El Paso and Dallas, so we had to have our food prepared.
I get giddy thinking of different food ideas. I like to keep things simple, but really fun for the kids. I hate giving them junk in the car, because SUGAR + HOURS in the car = pure hell. Here’s what I do to prepare for extra long drives:
- BE PREPARED: I make a list of everything I need before I head to the store.
- PLAN AHEAD: I go shopping 2 days before the road trip, then I cut up and pack everything the day before. If anything is going in the ice chest, I leave that till right before we leave.
- TIDY WORKSPACE: My husband will tell you that this is the only time I am truly organized. I like to clean my house before I leave on a trip, then pack after it’s clean. When I cut up fruits and veggies, I put all the peels, cores, skins, etc. in a plastic bag and that makes it easy to throw away.
- VARIETY: I want to have enough food that we don’t have to stop, except for bathroom breaks. I bring snack food, fruit, and usually sandwiches.
- SEPARATE: I cut up a lot of fruit for my last trip. I separated them into different plastic containers, each with their own fork. I kept some in the large ice chest in the trunk and kept some at the front in our smaller ice chest. When we stopped, I would replace any that had been eaten.
- ACCESSIBLE: I make everything easy to grab…so the kids non perishable snacks are in their individual backpacks…that way no one fights over anything and they can get some of the snacks and drinks themselves.
For our last trip, ALL of us went to Utah. I went for SNAP! and my husband and kids visited friends and family. It was about a 12 hour drive. I prepared enough food to last us BOTH ways. It worked out great and saved us some money! Here are some easy food ideas:
- FRUIT CUPS: use what ever is in season! This time we had pineapple, oranges, strawberries and cantaloupe.
- CHEESE AND CRACKER SNACKS: We eat this a lot at parties, but it worked out well for the trip, too. We cut up summer sausage and apples, then served with cheese and crackers.
- VEGGIES AND DIP: I ate mine with hummus and my husband ate his with ranch.
- DRINKS: We had some soda, but I made sure we had water bottles and orange juice for breakfast.
We’re not planning on taking a long trip like that again this summer, but I’ll still be excited to pack for our little vacations! Where are you headed this summer?
I like to prepare the snacks too for road trips. I eat a gluten-free diet so it is needed but at the same time it is fun.
Have a beautiful day!
We are leaving for a 17 day road trip and I am trying to be prepared. When u do the cut up fruit how long does the fruit usually last. It will just be hubby, I and our three year old son, but a long trip. My goal is to make it from here to Disney, we are driving that over the course of 3 days. Once there I want snacks for us to take to the park but won’t need a lot. The second week we will be in Tampa for a couple days and then New Orleans for a few days before starting home. I am wondering if I should pack some dish soap and wash containers and do fruit another time but buy what I need. And pack a cutting board and good knife. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
I drove for two days and left the fruit in the refrigerator at a friends house for three days, and it was still good when we drove home. Each fruit is different, but you can tell if it’s bad if it smells fermented. After the fruit is cut up, it goes bad faster, so bringing the cutting boards, and dish soap is a great idea! You can also go grocery shopping while you’re on vacation. It’s always cheaper to eat at home! Another thing, when I went to Disneyland with my kids, they let me bring in fruit and peanut butter sandwiches (but check on the park website before you bring it with you). Have fun on your trip! I LOVE New Orleans!
Keep in mind that you can order things online (like on amazon) and have them shipped to your hotel room at Disney. This could be helpful for your Disney time and/or as you prep for the next part of your trip.
Such a great tip Anika!
Gina M Reynolds says
We are going to Vegas! Driving from NE through Mexico Arizona California Nevada Colorado then back home! My first time out of NE and in 29! I’m so excited
That’s a long drive! Hope you have fun!!
laura schmit says
This will be our 5th trip to IA from TX (San Antonio-long drive out of TX).. and each trip gets a bit better and easier. Packing the fruit in small containers w the fork is such a great idea! We are taking one of our children’s friends along (we also have a church conference in St Louis after 5 days in IA) and I want to be as organized as possible. I freeze some of the water bottles and juice boxes to keep from having to buy ice multiple times and in each of the kid’s backpacks, put a change of clothes and a mini emergency kit (few bandaids, ointments, a few children pain killers).
Love the idea of freezing juice boxes! So smart!!
Jennifer Perry says
When packing a smaller cooler add some gallon size zip bags. When stopping for gas you can fill the baggie with ice. I take it to the cashier and normally am only charged for a large cup of ice. This also works well for getting ice into the cooler at the hotel before leaving.
SUCH a good idea!
Maribel Pastrana says
Going on a road trip from Houston to Chicago with 3 kids all under 6 wish me luck😂😂😉