Eating while traveling.....uggggg

nancyjane_gardener

Hubby got a new car (Beamer rag top after driving the same truck for 20 years) and we had to break it in!

I don't like eating out much, but these days motels say they have a "kitchenette" when that means a mini fridge and a microwave. Ten days of traveling and we've only found a couple with an actual kitchen.

Mostly we've bought the pre made salads and something from a deli if we weren't eating out.

Are there any travelers out there who have some good ideas for dining in?

I'm thinking of some of my home made stuff frozen with the food saver and some dry ice. Would have to replace the DI every couple of days, though







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Martha Scott

One of our favorite on the go breakfasts is cheese and salami slices and a really big nice cup of latte at a local coffee shop. We eat on the road.

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yeonassky

I have a plug in cooler for my King Cab pick up. It is plugged in the back seat which is on all the time even when the pick up is turned off.

I can barely eat anything out anymore so I pack it full of all The usual suspects. Always take medium boiled eggs bread cheese chicken cream cheese tomatoes cucumbers mixed greens etcetera. DH likes to have breakfast out at least once. Plus he likes to have crunchy munchies with us. Usually that includes some kind of trail Mix usually homemade without very much junk in it and some fruit, baby carrots and sugar snap peas. We eat off of real plates and with real forks and knives. :-).

We don't starve haha.

I find this to be the best way to keep me fed and happy and keep my costs down. I like both those things. :-) :-)

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plllog

It's easier with an actual kitchen, but I can't see a BMW with a kitchen trailer pulled behind. ;)

When we've gone on long car camping trips, the compromise was eating one meal out. Breakfasts and lunches were easy out of a big cooler, though I don't know how big a cooler would fit in the BMW. The truck would have been better. That was more about produce, milk and dairy products and sandwich fixings.

The better of the new coolers are made out of some kind of spun plastic that makes the insulation quality much better.

You can also set up a cooler and dry ice as a freezer, with food you've frozen at home. It does have to be well insulated, and does better with towels, blankets or coats insulating from the outside as well, but again, the storage capacity of the car doesn't help. My folks used to travel that way, bringing their own cryovac'd meat, as well as some frozen blocks of chili or similar. My mother would put a tray of her homemade frozen chicken in the trailer sink the day we started out, which would mostly defrost by noon for lunch and have enough leftover for her to easily rework as dinner.

You definitely can do your food saver frozen foods with the dry ice, as much as you can fit. Wet ice will hold okay if you can't find dry, but it's not as cold and it always leaks. If you'll be in a place for awhile and can't get dry ice, ask a store or butcher if they can put your cooler in a walk-in freezer.

But, again, the BMW. How much can you fit?

Camping is easier. You can make wonders with a hot plate if you get an electrified campsite. You can do the same thing on an open fire. Microwaves are only really good for warming.

I'm sorry. I'm tired and babbling. I hope I've said something helpful. :)

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CA Kate z9

A couple of years ago DD, GSs and I went on a SW journey in August... major heat. I bought the best, HUGE cooler I could, and then read what others suggested for keeping things cold. The most suggestions were to freeze gallon jugs of water (a little empty), and pack the freezer with these. I did this; plus I got single bottles of really good drinking water and froze those too. Everything stayed frozen for most of the trip. We did pull out a gallon of water and let it heat up so we could wash our dirty hands before lunch, or just after rock climbing. We also removed single bottles of water to drink along the way. We packed all our lunch foods because many of the parks and National Monuments didn't have any food available. We had no problem keeping our deli-type foods cold and fresh. We did eat breakfast and dinner out. Trying to cook wasn't something I even wanted to tackle.

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Islay Corbel

Get a little caravan! Then you'll have your own kitchen and you won't have to pay for hotels. We have this.


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lindac92

I always travel with little cans of juice....and coffee and a small 2 cup p[ot but pretty well all motels and hotels have coffee in the room now. And I keep some granola bars to go with the coffee.....and sometimes there is a dough-nut shop near the motel!

The clue to eating on the road is knowing where to go. Almost any small town ma and pa lunchonette will have better food than what you can fix in a "sort of" kitchen found in a motel.

.

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ci_lantro

Pkts. of instant oatmeal for breakfast made with dried milk or coffee creamer. Fruit, cheese & good bread for lunch. And, a lot of motels have gas grills so you could pick up steaks or chops or chicken to grill with salad & veggies (I like those frozen steamable pkts of veggies from Aldi.) Packet goes into microwave for about 5 minutes & done. I like the mixed vegetable ones particularly. Option for fresh roadside stand veggies to nuke? Fresh Sungold cherry tomatoes?


ETA--fresh corn on the cob. I routinely nuke w/ the husk on. Or cook on the grill. If it is great fresh corn, it's good raw, too.

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rosesstink

Many of our vacations are road trips. We eat the motel breakfast when available. Not usually very good but it's food. Otherwise we're happy with an energy bar and piece of fruit. We take a small cooler with us and buy cold cuts, cheese, bread/rolls, fruit along the way and eat that for lunch. I don't ever recall being at a motel during lunch time - we are out and about then. One of the greatest pleasures of traveling for us is eating supper/dinner out every day. You just never know what you'll find. Some places (I'm looking at you Martin, SD) have next to nothing but it's still an adventure.

We had Christmas Day dinner in a motel in Chincoteague one year. Mini-fridge and microwave. I brought everything from home - but nothing frozen/made ahead. Cheese and crackers. Bruschetta with jarred tapenade and a roasted red pepper spread. Pickles and olives. Cut up raw veggies with a dip. Champagne. I think there were other things but I don't recall what they were. It was marvelous. You have to be flexible on road trips.

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plllog

Thinking on... I once met a man, while we ourselves were car camping, who was riding a big motorcycle and pulling a tiny pop up tent camper. There might be something like that which is just a kitchen that would be the right size and low profile to pull with your convertible. The trick would be making sure it were easy enough to get into that you wouldn't have to actually make camp just to get lunch. :)

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annie1992

Like Seagrass (HI, Seagrass, I'm happy to see you again!!) I always carried an electric skillet with me and cooked in the motel room or out on the balcony. Probably frowned upon by the motel management, but no one ever said anything. I made everything from scrambled eggs, pancakes, bacon, chili, spaghetti, hamburgers, grilled cheese, even chocolate chip cookies, all in that electric skillet. It toasted English Muffins or bagels, made oatmeal, seared steak. There is a grocery store pretty much every where you'll find a motel, but I often made my own pancake mix, brownie mix (which we "baked" like pancakes), seasoning packets. It does take some planning ahead for stuff like those mixes and seasonings, but perishables were all purchased at local grocery stores.

Heck, I couldn't afford to eat out, the only way we could travel was to pack everything into the van, spend at least half the nights in a tent or sleeping on the pull out bed in the back of that van, and cook pretty much all our own meals.

Annie


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LoneJack Zn 6a, KC

Take an air fryer on the road and use it to cook just about anything you want. The only drawback is that it's hard to cook multiple different things at the same time. I used mine to heat up some home made and frozen twice baked potatoes last night and they came out perfect.

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2ManyDiversions

nancyjane, oh how I understand! DH and I truly dislike eating out when home or traveling. But first, congratulations on the rag-top Bimmer! Woo-hoo! I had a little rag-top roadster Bimmer (talk about no extra room!). Loved it! Sold it for a sensible Honda CRV when DH and I married, ha ha! Love the Honda, though. My parents had a rag-top Jaguar - they loved it (as did I) but those back seats? A child can't sit in them! The BMW's have a larger back-seat, thankfully.

I think your idea is the best in this situation. I've done it. Past trips usually include only one stop, a small cabin rental with full kitchen (and I still take my cast iron and some cooking utensils). But I packed pre-made, frozen, full meals in coolers with regular ice. Other trips were on our motorcycles, and the thought of packing anything other than a single sandwich for the first day was out.

You can pretty much count on a microwave, a coffeemaker, and a small sink. So yes, I'd make meals that will freeze well (soups, and really, very much anything). I put ours in those disposable foil vessels (except soups of course). But that's for ovens, not microwaves, so if you have microwavable casserole dishes, I'd use those. Also, I have several microwavable portioned plates, which are lovely to keep veg, potatoes, and proteins separate. Easy to freeze, then thaw and zap. Once frozen you can stack them on top of one another and tuck them in an ice chest.

Have fun!

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gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)

I must be in the minority as I find road trips to be a great way to find wonderful little out of the way eateries :-) And IMO, these are little mini vacations and the last thing I want to be doing is a lot of cooking!! We do pack snacks and something for lunches, typically refreshed daily with a stop at a local grocery or deli, but breakfast and dinner are usually eat out meals.

It's bad enough when camping and I have to cook or prepare meals (and clean up) but when there are opportunities to dine out as with a road trip by car, I just do not want to be bothered.

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Compumom11

Gardengal, I'm with you! Due to my allergies I do travel with snacks, but while we tire of the same, same on a longer road trip, we don't want to eat premade salads in the room. Maybe some good take out... but not salads from convenience stores or markets. We do enjoy Starbucks in the morning occasionally for coffees and yogurt parfait for DH and a protein box or hard cooked eggs for me. Bread (for DH) cheeses and coldcuts are nice for an on the go lunch.

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John Liu

Food, heavy duty foil, hot car engine - who needs a kitchen?

https://www.instructables.com/id/Cooking...-with-your-car/

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naturegirl_2007 5B SW Michigan

LOL, John. Just the laugh I needed after some more serious events tonight. This link led to another and another, all with great humor.

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bragu_DSM 5

We did the cooking with the car engine thing when I was but a kid ... double wrap burger, carrots, onions and tator slices. This is before we had mini carrots. Everybody made their own. Eight cyl engines had lots of room.

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nancyjane_gardener

Our new(ish) car does have a reasonable sized backseat, so one of those coolers that plug in is a good idea!

Each night was hit or miss if we had a full kitchen or a kitchenette.

We're making a list of stuff to have at the ready for road trips.

One of my faves is a backpack picnic cooler that has 2 plates, forks, knives, spoons and wine glasses. I'll have to find a mini cutting board to fit in there. I have a couple of good knives that go in there.

Looking forward to more road trips! Nancy

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AnnT

I love road trips. But my idea of vacationing is eating out. I love cooking at home, but for me, a vacation is planned around where we are going to eat.

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Gooster

I too prefer to eat out and discover the best local places, but if you search out extended-stay and suite type hotels from the major chains (Extended Stay America, Towneplace Suites), they will often have kitchenettes with more than just a microwave. Sometimes they will have an induction burner available and more equipment for checkout at the main desk.

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chase_gw

Another who prefer to eat out and explore the local offerings. However, only dinner. Lunch we picnic and breakfast is usually coffee and and a muffin......although many accommodations offer excellent continental breakfasts

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lindac92

Most of us on this forum cook better than almost all restaurants, but I hate cooking in a motel room on less than adequate appliances. When I travelled every week for work, I had juice and coffee in my room with a breakfast bar...maybe. Lunch was an apple of piece of cheese from my cooler.....and dinner was take out. I was hit on too many times, and found it easier to get some ice and have my Scotch or chill a split bottle of wine and get a take out meal.
But when travelling with someone, I much prefer to have a nice dinner in whatever place we can find.


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artemis_ma

When I am on a long road trip, I like to bring enough food for the first two or three days (breakfast and lunch). I do not like / eat motel breakfasts since it is nearly always high carb (if I start my day off just with carbs, I get dizzy - not a good idea if one is going to be driving!)

So I travel with a good cooler, lots of freezer packs, and things like hard boiled eggs, grapes, cheese, mini-meat/spinach muffins (good hot or cold). I'll use the motel coffee. Dinner I plot out ahead and stop at something nice. I re-freeze the freezer packs each night and store the food in the mini-fridges along the way. I TRY not to bring potato chips (my weakness).

EDIT: Somewhere on YouTube I saw how someone cooks using the motel iron, sort of like a one-sided panini maker... Nope, not going there...

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Compumom11

Not sure how you refreeze your freezer packs. The inroom fridges rarely have a freezer! Good job, I don't eat that carb/gluten stuff either!

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sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)

We can't rely on finding an acceptable meal at all stops so I pack a 'moveable feast'. Good quality charcuterie....pate, cheeses, veg, olives, pickles, sliced meats, crackers, fruit, etc. Nut blends, dried fruit. All packed in food saver portions so nothing gets waterlogged in the cooler. Plain yogurt and granola for breakfast, fresh fruit.

I should add some of our most memorable meals are by accident seaside, mom and pop restaurants, casual dining, excellent food. Bbq in the southern states...But often nothing to be found so rather than seek out the unknown we have to have good back-up meals. Heavy diner breakfasts and fast food never.

Weekend trips we take my MiniCooper. (I get chuckles in the parking lot of Costco but a heaping cart fits fine) amazing what that tiny thing holds.

Longer trips, 7-10 days we take the truck. Month or more we take the Airstream but that's another discussion. Having a personally packed kitchen is fun cooking...hotel rooms not so much.

I do have a 'kitchen' bag packed 24/7. It has a mini first aid, a stainless bowl, good chef knife, small cutting board, small skillet, electric kettle, cutlery, etc. Only half full so we add fresh ground coffee, crackers, etc, (dry goods) just before leaving. The pups have their bag similar. First aid, food bowls, spare leash/collar, etc...

I can vouch for these items. I purchased a case of the square juice bottles a couple years ago we use 365 days for juice blends, greens mix, and a veg 'v8' style blend. A dedicated door shelf in the freezer. I even put a tea bag in some of the water ones for a cold brew iced tea as it thaws.They wash easily and reused. The small cooler sits just behind our arm rests and is filled with a few things so we don't need to stop for a snack. Small cooler re-filled when we stop for gas.

We have had a few soft sided coolers and a plug-in that stopped working after a few trips so check reviews. This one has been excellent for a few years and just picked up a couple more to keep in our cars. (Costco). Does not leak having a solid liner. Top is magnetic so no fussy zipper that deteriorates from moisture...outside pockets for napkins, small cutting board, small serrated knife...water and juice bottles for ice in the bottom.

Heavy duty Boat-n-Totes from LLbean I've had for years. Some from college days. One has the 'kitchen', one for pups, and a misc for extra clothing, spare jeans, sox, etc. Sturdy but they smoosh taking up less room. (I bet we have more than a dozen now and a couple we use for our boat). Easy to cary into a hotel room.

Our road trip starts in a couple weeks, Sept 17th.

Our hard sided medium cooler will have frozen water and juice bottles bottom layer, protective kitchen garbage bag, then a few frozen pint meals...gumbo, chili, stew, hearty soup, a grain, mixed beans. Thick layer of newspaper. That bottom layer will be frozen solid for a few days, often 4-5. Then another layer of juice bottles for the rest of the cooler for fridge temp stuff. Never fails me. Day 3 we may add a bag of ice on top from a fuel stop.

A few frozen meals are insurance. Not cooking in a motel/hotel. Just a re-heating. We have found really nice cabins with kitchens, change plans and stay a couple days and may hit a grocery but usually just do breakfast/lunch.

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nancyjane_gardener

Part of the problem was we forgot our frozen milk jug in the freezer of a mini fridge (most of them have a tiny freezer), also we really had no plan of where we were going and where we were staying!

We got a little better organized on the way home. And learned some lessons!

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plllog

Ah! And there you have the real answer. Practice!

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artemis_ma

Yes, not all the mini fridges do have freezers, alas. I have had to pick up a bag of ice along the way.


There was the February road trip I took to Dad's 90th birthday party down in KY - I had considered flying, but I'm glad I planned for the road, as it ended up snowing here in New England big time and planes were all grounded.


On that occasion, ducking out a day early, I simply left the freezer packs in the car over night and brought the food into the mini fridges. Mother Nature re-froze the packs for me.... ;)


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yeonassky

Just wanted to add that my plug in cooler also can be used for hot food!

So for the first day or even two I cook everything and put it in the food warmer and have another ice box for my cold stuff. Then when we've had our lunch and supper if that's the case I turn off the heating element turn on the cooling element once it's cooled down and it is a fridge again.

it also works great when I have to take stuff up to my sister's which is 2 hours away! Things arrived hot and ready! Love it!

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bragu_DSM 5

I use the thermal properties of my cooler to place foiled meats after I take them out of the smoker. My Igloo (now likely a collectible) is a trooper for that ...

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yeonassky

Bragu what a great idea!

My Stanley crock pot which I also use frequently keeps things hot for 12 hours.

Can you tell I go up to my sisters and go travelling and picnicking a lot and just simply love this subject. I love camping gadgetry.

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annie1992

And Elery just sent this to me today, says it looks just like something I'd do. (grin)

Annie

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chas045

Yeah; as long as one opens the can first! Most of our research labs had laboratory ovens in them. One day many years before pull tab cans, someone decided to warm up a can of Campbell's Bean with Bacon soup for lunch but forgot to open it. Unfortunately, the big boss chose that day to make his first AND LAST visit to this lab just as the can exploded, blowing the latched oven door open and sprayed the soup all over his nice dark suit. The oven was ruined and I never heard who made the soup.

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