Skip to content

“On the Road”: Food for Travellers

July 16, 2011

I just got back from four weeks of travelling in Ireland, France and Spain and I’m happy to say that eating well continued throughout! We obviously ate in a lot of great restaurants – I’ve already featured Potato Galettes based off a wonderful meal in Sligo, and I’m sure I’ll continue to post remakes of some of the fabulous food we ate. But, even when we were on the road, driving through Ireland and camping in Brittany, we still managed to keep ourselves happy at every meal with varied and interesting foods. Here are some options for how to eat well on the road with limited supplies.

I always pack either a plate or bowl (both would really be ideal), cutlery, and one sharp knife (I highly recommend a pocketknife for this). It’s also great to bring an old washcloth to help clean up afterwards when you don’t have full sink access. If possible, bring a small foldable cooler or insulated lunch box. If you can continue to get ice on the road or refreeze an ice pack, then you can better keep all kinds of great things.

You shouldn’t need anything else, but do a bit of thinking or research before you leave. For example, before I went to Iceland last year I learned that almost all gas stations and grocery stores have free coffee and tea. So we brought along travel mugs, and it was awesome.

Mozzarella and Tomato Salad

Fresh mozzarella (in most European grocery stores you can find a package of 1-2 large balls for about 1 euro)
2 tomatoes, sliced

Alternatively, you could use mozzarella balls and cherry tomatoes if you elected for the bowl rather than the plate!

For toppings, add either a vinaigrette (a great investment on the road if you can find a small bottle) or dollops of pesto (also great spread on sandwiches in future meals). If you can’t really keep food beyond one meal, garnish with some fresh herbs such as basil or chives.

Fresh Corn Salad

Of course, almost any salad can be made on the road. I usually recommend against buying lettuce because it’s bulky and often wilts quickly in the sun. But tons of wonderful salads can be made with other veggies, such as this corn salad. Canned corn works well for this, but make sure to get whole kernels not creamed corn. You can of course go without the corn, but I find it gives it a bit of oomph and makes it seem less like just eating a plate of vegetables for dinner. We had this two nights in a row, and on the second night, mixed it up by stirring in the bottom crumbs of a bag of tortilla chips. The little bit of salt and crunch was awesome!

Optional Ingredients:
Small can of corn
Small can of black beans
One bell pepper
Green onion/chives/basil

Dice all ingredients and serve, ideally with a vinaigrette. If you don’t have any salad dressing, the variety of flavours from the vegetables will be enough to carry the dish anyway.

Easy Snacks or Picnics

I’ll admit, I overdid it a bit in Ireland with the bread and cheese combo, but it really is wonderful especially when travelling in Europe and it’s all so cheap! You can still mix it up with hard cheeses (aged cheddar is a favourite of mine), soft cheeses (camembert, etc.) or go fully for the spreadable – Boursin is wonderful for this! For bread, try to go for fresh bakery bread rather than supermarket bread – it really brings up the level of the meal and you’ll probably be working on the same loaf for a few days, so getting sick of it is a huge drag. But, paired with other (preferably healthier) foods, this can take you a long way.

– fruit (nectarines, plums, berries, apple or orange slices, banana)
– dried fruit is also good, but it can be a bit wearying after a while to not have anything fresh
– veggies (cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, baby carrots or carrot sticks, snap peas)
– nuts or trail mixes
– dips and spreads can often be found in grocery stores (tzatziki, guacamole and hummus are the three most common but a lot of Canadian grocery stores have a deli section with a lot more choices)
– tortilla chips, pita, crackers, melba toast all make good alternatives to bread and often keep a little longer

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Kerry permalink
    July 16, 2011 12:45 pm

    I read an awesome tip for eating on the road the other day. It suggested wetting and freezing a couple of washcloths in plastic baggies and packing them in an insulated cooler bag with your food. The washcloths keep the food cold and then when they’ve ‘thawed’, you can use them for clean-up. As a mom and picnic lover, I thought that was a brilliant idea, and will definitely be trying it out next time we hit the road.

    • July 17, 2011 6:39 am

      Kerry, that’s such a great idea! I will definitely try that out in the future. I sometimes find it hard when in another country and on the road…in Iceland, we were able to get ice cubes from grocery stores, while in France we relied on our campsite managers freezing our ice pack for us.

      I’m going camping next weekend and the benefit of leaving from home is that I can choose whatever method I want! I’ll definitely go for the frozen washcloths this time.

  2. Jenn permalink
    July 16, 2011 3:36 pm

    Wonderful! I love the grocery shop travel meals.

    • July 17, 2011 6:40 am

      I was trying to work in the photo of me holding up the old dry bagel and G&T at the westernmost point of Iceland…but I really had nothing to say about it except “don’t do it!” or “at least try to get fresh bagels”…

  3. Hélène permalink
    July 18, 2011 6:05 am

    That corn salad was so good – I think it’s a great way to mix up your salads and to have delicious veggies on the road!

    And don’t even get me started on the tomato/mozzarella.

  4. lemonodyssey permalink
    July 24, 2011 2:12 pm

    Hello Allie,
    I love your ideas and photos of your picnics! I just wrote a blog post ( about on-the-road picnics in Montana (and Idaho and E. Washington) where the bread, cheese and fruit are always harder to come by….but it’s still possible. I’m going to add a link to your post!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: