Road trips are fantastic adventures to take with friends, family or solo. You’ll definitely need a road trip food list and all the best snacks to have a successful trip. Because who wants hangry travel companions? Not to mention all those fast-food stops can really add up cost-wise.
We’ve taken our share of road trips over the years, from cross country adventures to many, many multi-day road trips back and forth between our current home and where our extended family lives. Both as adults, and with kids ranging from months old to teenagers, and everything in between.
With young kids, there is a strategy for finding the best road trip snacks. One’s that aren’t too messy, too crumbly, won’t stain or are low risk for choking. Our road trip food list includes ideas for kids, adults, healthy car snack ideas, plus tips for packing and what you’ll need to bring to pack all the snack essentials.
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Ultimate Road Trip Food List
There is something about road trips that lends itself to snacking on junk food and grabbing something somewhat edible to go from the gas station. Vibrant orange Cheetos and a snickers bar are ok on occasion (hey, snickers has peanuts, that’s protein, right?). While I’m all for a bit of indulgence on the road, let’s balance it out with foods that won’t leave you feeling sluggish or weird at the end of the day.
Healthy Road Trip Snacks
Let’s focus first on healthy road trip snacks. Many non-refrigerated prepared snacks are full of sugar and things that are hard to pronounce or spell. While I do like the convenience, as there are soooo many details when planning a road trip, make sure to check the ingredient list first.
We’ve broken up the healthy road trip snacks into those requiring a cooler and those that are non-perishable, to make planning a bit easier.
Healthy Road Trip Snacks – Non-Refrigerated
- Fruit; apples, blueberries, strawberries, grapes, cherries, watermelon
- Fruit Leather
- Dried fruit – dates, apricots, figs, mango
- Granola Bars
- Trail Mix
- Roasted Legumes
- Cheese Crisps
- Homemade muffins
- Mary’s Gone Crackers
- Tuna – the little cans (come in many flavours) with pull tab
- Bread – pizza buns, PB&J, pretzel buns etc.
Healthy Road Trip Snacks That Require A Cooler
- Pre-Cut veggies – carrots, peppers, cucumbers, radishes, celery
- Cut up fruit – pineapple, cantaloupe, honeydew melons.
- Energy / Protein balls
- Crackers and cheese
- Charcuterie plate – get all “fancy” with crackers, cheese, olives, salami, pepperoni, dried fruit
- Sliced meat -roast chicken, turkey, beef
- Yogurt / Yogurt drinks
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Broccoli Cheese Bites
- Egg Bites – ham, cheese, peppers, spinach
- Egg Muffins – olives, feta and sundried tomato
- Sausage rolls
- Stuffed Grape leaves
- Chicken wings
- Hummus Packs & pita bread/pita chips ( my daughter loves dipping pretzels in hummus)
Essential Road Trip Snacks
A road trip is not a road trip without your favourite road trip snacks. I mean hey, you gotta live a little, and you are on vacation, right. Splurge a little. These are good additions to add on occasion.
I fondly remember our summer road trip each year where we were given a 5 pack of Hubba Bubba gum to chew as we pleased throughout our holiday. As the flavour would be gone in 5 minutes, we soon had chipmunk cheeks full of gum.
Whether you are road tripping through the States to Bryce Canyon National Park, or taking a weekend trip up Vancouver Island, Canada to sea side town of Parksville, BC, you’ll want to pack some yummy snacks.
Road Trip Food List – Essential Road Trip Snacks
- Dark Chocolate
- Cookies – Homemade chocolate chip is the best
- Candy – I like to add some gummy bears and smarties to the trail mix to get a little indulgence and some protein/fat at the same time.
- Licorice, small packs of oreos,
- Chips & Dip
- Corn Chips & Salsa
- Plantain Chips
- Rice Krispie Squares
- Black Bean Brownies
Road Trip Snacks For Kids
In addition to the other essential road trip snacks mentioned previously, here are some additional classic road trip snacks kids will love. These aren’t just for kids. I like checking out the lions and camels in animal crackers with the best of em’. Here are some easy kid-friendly ideas:
- Cheese strings
- Babybel Cheese
- Fruit Pouches
- Nut butter pouches
- Yogurt – small containers or drinks
- Veggies & dip – Carrots, snap peas, cucumbers
- Ants on a log – Peanut butter & raisins on celery
- Goldfish crackers
- Animal Crackers
- Kids Trail mix – combine pretzels, goldfish, smarties, cereal, nuts (almonds, cashews, macadamia, brazil, hazelnuts etc.)
- Bagels & cream cheese or nut butter
- Lara Bars
- Moon Cheese
- Seaweed Snacks
- Green Pea Crisps (Black Pepper is our favourite)
- Apple Crisps
- Organic Bunny Fruit Snacks
Staying hydrated is an integral part of any road trip. I know the tendency is to try not to drink too much, so there are fewer bathroom breaks. Gas Station and pull-out restrooms are NOT my favourites either.
Drinking water is essential and should be the number one choice, but sometimes you want something a little more exciting. Here are some other healthy road trip drink options:
- Coconut water
- No sugar added fruit juices
- Flavoured Sparkling water ( or fizzy water as we call it in our house)
Road Trip Food List: Road Trip Snacks for Special Dietary Needs
If you are road tripping with special dietary requirements or restrictions, packing your own food will be the best option.
Keto Road Trip Snacks
If you are strict keto, then packing some low-carb snacks will help prevent the temptation to stray, “just this once.” Not to mention these are all yummy, so the non-keto peeps in your road trip party will enjoy them as well.
- Beef Jerky
- Beef sticks
- Cheese strings
- Cheese Crisps
- Moon Cheese
- Seaweed Sheets
- Giant Pickles
- Pork Rinds
- Pecans, Macadamia nuts, Brazil Nuts
- Olive snack packs
- Berries – raspberries, blueberries
- Coconut Chips
- Kale Chips
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Cherry tomatoes, Cucumbers
- Celery sticks & Peanut Butter or cream cheese
- Fat Bombs
- Tuna Fish
Gluten-Free Road Trip Snacks
The majority of items listed above can be gluten-free, as long as you watch the ingredients list and check the labels of pre-packaged food. Here are a few of our favourite gluten-free snacks/brands:
- Seaweed Snacks – Sea Snaxs – salty cruncy goodness!
- Cheese Crisps – Whisps and astronaut cheese Moon Cheese
- Gluten-Free Bars – favs include Lara Bars, Gluten-Free Bars and their cousin the Gluten-Free Bites
- Nut Butter packets – Yumbutter (twist-off tops)
- Chips – Late July (often available at Costco too)
- Jerky – Country Archer Jerky or their beef sticks
- Beef Sticks – Paleo Valley Beef sticks
- Crunchy, Salty, Protein Snacks – Hippeas Puffed Chickpeas or Badda Bean, Badda Boom (with a name like that how can you resist?)
Pro Tip: We pack everything in small stackable Rubbermaid containers.
What You Will Need – Non-Food Items To Add To Your Road Trip Packing List
Now that we’ve got the most crucial thing sorted, SNACKS, let’s move on to the non-food items you’ll need to add to your road trip packing list.
Reusable Items; Cutlery, Water bottles, Containers and more
We like to bring reusable items on our trips as much as possible to cut down on waste. It’s also quite easy once you get the hang of it and make bringing these along part of your routine.
Here are some reusable items to pack for your road trip:
- Cutlery – Knives, Forks, Spoons,
- Dishes – Cups, Plates, Bowls
- Coffee Mugs, Thermos
- Plastic, glass or stainless steel containers
- Water Bottles
- Cloth Fruit Bags
- Bento Boxes
- Chopping Board
- Garbage bags – reuse grocery bags
Pro Tip: A few empty plastic, stainless steel or glass containers are super handy to have in the car just in case. Empty containers can do double duty as dishes, store leftover food, and hold sandwiches or snack packs for the next day. They also can become emergency crayon/toy holders in a pinch.
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Storage & Cleaning Supplies
- Reusable Ice Packs
- Hand sanitizer
- Paper Towels & Wet Wipes (not just for kids, awesome for road trips)
- Washing items: Sponge, tub, biodegradable dish soap
Pro Tip – We pack everything non-perishable into small stackable Rubbermaid containers to keep things organized.
How to Pack For a Road Trip: Tips for Keeping Snacks Organized
Snacking Tote – Yes, those Pinterest road trip hacks will come in handy. Grab a small plastic Dollar Store Caddy / Open Tote that you can throw your snacks into that don’t need to be cooled. As well it can hold entertainment items (crayons, books, small toys, magazines etc.). Reorganize and restock at the end of the day, for your next day’s adventures.
Water Bottles – Bring a stainless steel water bottle for each person. If you are travelling in the summer or in hot weather, freeze the bottle the night before, take it out in the morning, and it will melt as the day goes on.
Handing out food – For young kids, bring a take and toss cup (it will fit in the cup holders), and fill with snacks.
Snack Bags – For older kids/adults, make each person a snack bag before your trip; they can keep with them. Avoids the constant asking for snacks, and they can monitor their own snacking. Of course, this will depend on the age of your kids.
Clean-Up Kit – Kids, adults, toddlers all on occasion make messes. Have a clean-up kit handy just in case; wipes, paper towel, extra water, change of clothes.
Garbage Bag for the car – Have a designated garbage bag for the car, to keep the garbage contained. Empty or replace at rest stops. Reuse plastic grocery bags.
Road Trip Coolers
A cooler is the essential item to add to your road trip packing list. It will provide you more flexibility with the types of snacks and food you can bring. We’ve outlined some things to think about and a few great road trip cooler options available on Amazon, to help you out.
Here are some things to consider before buying a cooler:
- How long is your trip?
- How much space do you have in your vehicle? Where do you want to put the cooler?
- How much food will you need? Can you stop at grocery stores along the way to replenish supplies quickly (ie. can you get away with just a days worth of food)
Best Overall Cooler ( Size and Holds the Cold) – Yeti Roadi 24 Cooler
The Yeti Roadi 24 Cooler is narrow, so it easily fits behind the seat, is well insulated, which holds the cold, and is lighter than previous versions. It can also be transformed into a stool if you buy the cushion. Plus it comes in cool colours.
Best Family Cooler & Long Road Trips – ORCA ORCP026 Cooler
The Orca Cooler is a top pick for size and flexibility. It can hold a lot of food and ice, which can be kept frozen for up to a week or more. Plus it has cool whale tail latches.
Best Soft Sided Cooler – TOURIT Leak-Proof Soft-Sided Cooler Backpack
The Tourit Leak-Proof soft-sided backpack is an excellent option for shorter road trips or if you are planning a picnic or day at the beach. This leak-proof high-density insulated backpack can keep food cold for up to 3 days. It also has side pockets for extra storage.
Tips to Prepare For Your Road Trip
Check your road trip food list to see if there is anything you can do ahead of time, to make food prep and snacking easier while on the road. We recommend doing the following ahead of time:
- Make a Road Trip Food List, and check it off as you pack
- Wash and cut veggies and fruit
- Prepare sandwiches, meat slices, cheese slices etc.
- Prepare snack bags or snack tote – for easy grabbing
- Prepare your Clean up kit
- Pack non-perishable foods
- Pack your perishable foods in the cooler, right before you leave.
Pro Tip: Pack your car the night before you leave, to make sure everything fits. Make sure your cooler and essential road trip snacks are easily accessible.
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Road Trip Food List: 50+ Delicious Road Trip Snacks Conclusion
With over 50 delicious road trip snack options, you will find something for everyone in your party. Plus some tips to make packing and travelling easier. Now all you need is your next road trip destination. Perhaps a road trip in the US to Zion National Park in Utah.
What are your favourite road trip snacks and favourite hacks for keeping food and snacks organized? Let us know in the comments below, or connect with us on social media, we’d love to hear from you.
Related Family friendly travel destinations, tips and resources:
- Which Hawaiian Island best for families
- Camping gift ideas outdoorsy kids will love
- Parksville, BC Canada – best things to do
- Best Anti-Theft Travel Bags
- How to plan a trip to Niagara Falls
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