Road Trip Snacks

If you travel with kids you already know the benefit of loading up on road trip snacks before the trip. Not only does this save money and cut down on impulse purchases at the gas station, you can better control the quality of food consumed on your vacation.

To begin, let’s talk about what to avoid. First, unless you have a cooler or some other way to keep things cold, you want to leave anything that will melt or spoil off your list. From experience, I can tell you that chocolate and summer heat do not mix. At all. Crumbly food is another category to avoid. Nothing against corn bread, but there’s some undocumented law of physics that pulls the crumbs to the deepest cracks and crevices and places where the shop vac extension can barely reach. Last, is high maintenance food. You know…the kind that requires you to unwrap twelve individually wrapped items and you ultimately end up MacGyvering your car keys into the “easy open” materials and teaching your kids a few new swearwords in the process.

That said, here are a few categories perfect for your next road trip:

1. Dried Fruit: Dried food gets you past the spoiling and potential dripping. You can find dried fruit in bulk bins, trail mix type packages, or standalone. Our new favorite are dried cherry snack packs from Stoneridge Orchards.

2. Microwave Popcorn: Yes, microwave popcorn. I always bring at least three packs on any road trip and look for gas stations with microwaves. Alternately, you can pop microwave popcorn in your hotel room for a late night snack. I love everything about Quinn popcorn, but the kids stick with Newman’s Own popcorn.

3. Beef Jerky: Beef jerky is great when you really need protein and you don’t feel like chancing it at a fast food joint. We like any brand without MSG or nitrates and a company that supports ethical treatment of animals. Tanka Bites makes a great snack pack.

4. Dried Cheese: Moon Cheese was our best find of the entire 2015 road trip season. Like astronaut ice cream, moon cheese comes in silver packaging and is 100% dehydrated cheese (and a tasty source of calcium). We loved cheddar, but gouda gets our best vote.

5. Snack Bars: Not just for breakfast, breakfast bars are handy anytime snacks. With 100,001 choices on the market, I try and offer my kids a variety; some with chocolate chips, some with fruit and nuts, and some more like a fruit pastry. Road trips are a great time to try a few new brands, but you really can’t go wrong with Luna or Clif Bars.

About the Author

Julie Henning
Julie Henning is a freelance writer and journalist based out of Eugene, Oregon. She is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers and owner of the family-travel website She is a recent past member of the Midwest Travel Writers Association and the Association for Great Lakes Outdoor Writers. Julie is the Oregon Coast destination specialist for Bindu Media, an itinerary-focused website launching in Spring 2016 and featuring the work of 200+ professional, indie travel writers. Julie has been published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Wisconsin State Journal, The Daily Journal (Kankakee, Illinois), the Rochester Post Bulletin, Wisconsin Natural Resources (DNR) Magazine, Sustainable Chicago Magazine, Group Tour Magazine, Student Group Tour Magazine, Silent Sports Magazine, Intercom Magazine,, and FTF Geocacher Magazine. Julie has appeared on Wisconsin Public Radio, Ohio Public Radio, and KCBX FM Central Coast Radio and is an affiliate producer with the Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, a National Public Radio travel podcast. She has blogged for, Travel Oregon, and VISIT Milwaukee. Julie travels with her three kids and black lab as much as possible and lives by the motto, "Not all who wander are lost." Check out some of her best work at