Depending on the size of your family, you could spend $ 400 or more to eat each meal during a five-day road trip. Since you already have to pay the inflated price of gasoline, this could be an extra expense that you just can’t afford. Instead, consider packing your own food. By bringing meals and snacks that will satisfy everyone, you can use the money for other things, like souvenirs and sightseeing, or save it for your next vacation.
When packing food for your trip, keeping it fresh is essential. If you’re preparing meals, place them in freezer bags, remove excess air, and freeze to maximize the cooler space. And if you plan to stay in a hotel during your trip, book a room with a refrigerator and microwave. Even though it costs a little more than a room without, you will still save money by eating at home, rather than buying food from restaurants.
Takeaway meals on vacation
Here are some family favorites to consider on your next road trip:
1. Sloppy Joe
My family rarely eats them at home, so having them on the road is a nice change. If you’re making Sloppy Joe meat, store it in quarter-size freezer bags to make it easier to serve. They are easy to assemble and kids love them.
Meatloaf is a convenient meal and can stay frozen for several days while traveling if your cooler is properly packed. It’s great for a main course and leftovers are good for sandwiches.
To make tacos, simply brown a pound of turkey or ground beef, drain the fat, and add salsa and black beans. Simmer for a few minutes, then cool and pack in quarter-size freezer bags. This can be served in tacos or on a bed of fresh lettuce and tomatoes.
You might want to buy a roast chicken the day before you go on vacation and cut all the meat into bite-size pieces. This can make up the bulk of your lunches for the entire trip and is very profitable as most roast chickens only cost between $ 5 and $ 7.
4. Chicken salad
Simply toss the diced chicken with enough mayonnaise to coat, along with diced celery, quartered grapes and chopped walnuts. It’s quick, tasty, and inexpensive.
5. Chicken tacos
Toss the diced chicken with enough sauce to cover it completely. At the hotel, microwave for about a minute and serve on soft flour tortillas with lettuce and diced tomatoes.
6. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
Lunch can’t be easier than this. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are great for busy days when visiting tourist attractions, as well as days when you are traveling by car and don’t want to stop at a restaurant.
Breakfast should provide you with protein to help keep you full when you’re busy sightseeing, but it should also be easy to prepare.
7. Breakfast burritos
Mix and cook a dozen beaten eggs with diced ham or another protein of your choice, as well as diced green peppers. If you like, add more sauce for more flavor. Then fill a flour tortilla with about 1/3 cup of the grated cheese and egg mixture and roll it up. Wrap it in aluminum foil and freeze it. Once at the hotel, unwrap the foil, then wrap the breakfast burrito in a paper towel. Microwave it for a minute if it’s thawed or two minutes if it’s not.
While it’s easy to buy chips and packaged snacks, they can leave you and your children feeling sluggish or overactive. Instead, try some of these healthy snacks:
8. Fresh fruit
Bring a mix of fresh fruits that don’t require refrigeration, such as apples, bananas, and grapes. Try not to carry more fruit than necessary, as some fruits do not travel well, especially in a hot car.
9. Hummus and pita chips
Hummus is easily stored in your cooler. This snack is packed with protein and carbohydrates, which gives you and your kids energy and keeps you fuller for longer.
10. Homemade bread and muffins
Bread and especially muffins can serve as a quick breakfast or snack on sightseeing, and are very convenient to eat on the go. I like to make a batch of pumpkin bread and banana muffins for long car rides.
11. Hard-boiled eggs
Boil hard-boiled eggs to eat as a quick snack or on-the-go breakfast. My family boils a dozen before any trip, and they usually go away within the first three days.
Easy-to-simmer dishes to prepare for the holidays
If you don’t want the hassle of cooking before the trip and taking a full cooler with you, you can always avoid the high cost of dining out. Just bring your slow cooker (and containers to store leftovers). These meals will be easily prepared in your hotel room:
Pour a can of black beans, pinto beans and kidney beans (drained and rinsed) into a slow cooker. Add cumin and chili powder, a can or two of diced tomatoes and diced green pepper. Simmer for eight hours when you are away from home.
13. Pulled chicken
Buy several chicken breasts at the store with a bottle of barbecue sauce. Place the chicken breasts in the slow cooker and top with the sauce. Leave to cook over low heat for eight hours. Next, shred the chicken and add a little more barbecue sauce. Serve on hamburger buns with vegetables on the side. Or heat the chicken breasts in the slow cooker with a can of black beans, a pot of salsa and a bag of frozen corn, and serve them in tortillas with vegetables.
Family vacations can get expensive, but bringing your own food can be half the price. Just be sure to play it safe with your food; If you don’t know if something is fresh, it’s always better to throw it away than make your family sick. On a recent trip, I put hard-boiled eggs in the hotel fridge, but when we woke up my family and I found that the fridge, while plugged in, was not very cold. It was a shame to have to throw the food out, but now we know that we always have to check the temperature of the refrigerator first.
What are your favorite take-out meals on vacation?