sacklunchRoad trips are a great way to scratch that travel itch while not spending your children’s college fund! There are many ways to save money while on a road trip and they are much easier than you think.  The number one way my family saves money while road tripping is to pack a lunch.

Even if all we do is eat at a fast food restaurant, we spend at least 20-25 dollars so this is a huge money saver.  That could be admission to an attraction.

But which foods travel well?  Peanut butter and jelly is always an easy option but we try to get a little more creative in our meal planning.  Some of our favorite road trip lunches:

  • Tuna or Egg Salad – Make the tuna or egg salad ahead of time and store in the cooler.  Bring pita pockets or a loaf of bread with you.
  • Ham or Turkey Roll-ups – Spread a thin layer of cream cheese on a tortilla.  Layer your favorite lunch meat and cheese, lettuce, tomato, etc. and roll up like a burrito.
  • Crackers, Meat and Cheese – Make your own version of those expensive lunch boxes you can purchase at the grocery store.  Sliced meat and cheese and your favorite crackers create a great lunch on the go.  This lunch is perfect for the driver who doesn’t want to take the time to stop!
  • Crunchy Veggies and Ranch Dressing – Give each child their own small container of ranch dressing and get that serving of veggies in!
  • Cold Fried Chicken – While not a healthy alternative, there is nothing better than a piece of cold fried chicken (unless you are my husband who can’t stand cold friend chicken!)!
  • Peanut butter and Crackers – This is a great alternative to PB&J sandwiches.  Let the kids make their own cracker sandwiches when you stop. 

Chips, graham crackers, pretzels, rice cakes, and fruit snacks make great side items.  We always have plenty of juice boxes and bottled water as well.   

So you have your lunch packed now.  Where on earth should you eat your lunch?  Sometimes, the co-pilot (passenger in the front seat!) will pass out the lunch in the car and we will drive another hour to the next stop, but most of the time we try to time our lunch with a bathroom stop/leg stretch.  When mapping out our trip, we make sure to mark the rest stops or state and national parks that would make great picnic settings.  The kids love to run around before and after they eat and I love it when we get back in the car and all is quiet! 


Happy road tripping!