With Texas being an enormous state, some road trips include long stretches of lonely highways with nary a Buc-ee’s in sight. Take, for example, I-10 West, where there’s not much more than tumbleweeds and the occasional military base between Kerrville and El Paso.
Obviously, a cooler opens up some options and, at a bare minimum, there should be one in the car to keep drinks cold. As far as food goes, though, there are many options that require no refrigeration at all and are easy to eat in the car. This list includes some sensible favorites, as well as certain drink choices that serve particular functions.
If you have traveling companions, be nice and avoid the smelly stuff, like sesame sticks and tuna sandwiches. This isn’t the time to break out the squid jerky. Speaking of squid jerky: Check out our list of Asian snacks, several of which also work great for a road trip. (The fuzzy beef jerky leaves debris everywhere, but it might be worth it.)
Need some destination ideas? Then take a look at our recent Big Tex Road Trip story and get inspired.
10. Vegetable Juice. Let’s face it: If meals are coming from diners and fast-food joints in little towns, fresh vegetables are likely to be scarce. A can of vegetable juice might be the closest travelers can get until they hit the next major city.
9. Fresh Fruit. Similarly to the above, fresh foods might be hard to find. Choose fruits that come in “nature’s perfect wrapper” and aren’t too hard to peel or too messy. Oranges are out, except for easy-peel mandarins, and so are juicy peaches and plums. Apples, grapes and bananas are perfect. Dried fruit is a durable substitute, but avoid the ones with added sugar.
8. Granola Bars and Trail Mix. So, eating a bowl of cereal while driving is right out. A granola bar is the next best thing. Trail mix is a great snack as well, and comes in so many different combinations of fruit, nuts and other goodies that there’s something for everyone. The ambitious can actually make their own granola bars at home.
7. Candies That Won’t Melt. Need a little something sweet? This isn’t time for chocolate (especially for the driver) or candies with coatings that will leave a sticky residue on hands and door handles. Instead, go for hard candies or ones that will stay relatively neat until they make their way into your mouth.
6. Non-Messy Chips and Crackers. Skip the Cheetos and Doritos, lest ye be cleaning orange gunk off your leather steering wheel and door handles. Aim instead for snacks that don’t have a bunch of messy coating. Triscuit, Cheez-It, pita chips, nori rice crackers, pretzels and good ol’ potato chips are all fine.