Road travel might seem an economical way to go but it often works out shockingly expensive. You don’t have a choice with some costs, such as fuel and accommodation, but others can be cut at least in half if not more.
Food is one of these. All those drive through hamburgers, gas station sandwiches and hotel meals add up. They aren’t very nice either, and if you spend your vacation eating nothing but food like this you will end up a lot less healthy than when you started out. Far tastier, healthier and more economical options exist.
Fill a cooler with salad food, bread, cheese, pickles and anything else you want in your sandwiches. Making the sandwiches when you stop is better than allowing them to soggify for a few hours first. There are few things less appetising than a limp, wet sandwich that was made that morning. You can restock the cooler at grocery stores on the way.
You might want to take a second cooler for bottles of water and soft drinks. These can be refilled at rest stops and hotels. If you are travelling in a country where the tap water is drinkable but not very nice then take along a water filter with you. You are in a car after all and have the space for things nobody would dream of packing for a flight. Make the most of it.
A thermos is perfect for hot soup or coffee. Most motel rooms have a kettle so it can be refilled at intervals. If you are stopping in rooms with microwaves then pack some cans of soup to heat up and refill it with, otherwise a jar of instant coffee or some teabags is all you need.
Pack about twice as many non perishable snacks as you think you need. Nuts, dried fruits, cereal bars, chocolate bars (in the cooler, otherwise they might melt), crisps and crackers are essential, especially if you have children, and for some reason more are always eaten on road trips than you expect. If not it doesn’t matter, they won’t spoil and you can have them another day.
Be imaginative when deciding what to have for the main meal of the day. You are not restricted to a hot hotel meal. You could have a cold picnic, put something in the microwave or enjoy hot soup with bread.
When you do decide to splash out on expensive food, make it worthwhile and go to a nice restaurant. Spend that extra cash on something delicious, not a lot of revolting gas station snacks that appear to be made from motor oil and cardboard.