The last year has been pretty strange for vacations. Flying feels a little uncomfortable for some people, but road trips and camping are okay. If you’re ready for a drive, you definitely want to check out our tips on how to save money on snacks for road trips.
See, I love snacks. In fact, Pete and I have a monthly snack day on the first of every month. I like snacking at night too, which everyone who watches their weight says is a terrible idea. But I don’t worry about that. I eat when I’m hungry.
I also like to eat when I’m on a road trip.
Instead of stopping at gas stations and fast food restaurants every time I want a bite to eat, I make sure to pick up snacks before we go on our road trips.
That helps to save money on snacks and it also limits the number of times we stop while on a road trip, which limits the number of people we come in contact with. And that keeps us safer on road trips. Because safety is a top priority right now.
How To Save Money On Snacks For Road Trips
We made sure to focus on snacks, specifically, with this post. You could definitely save on drinks too, but I tried to avoid talking about coffee.
Which you know is hard for me because I love coffee, and I (of course) love it on road trips. It definitely helps me focus when I’m driving.
Buy snacks ahead of time
The easiest thing to do is prepare. Road trips on a budget take a little more preparing than anything else, and that includes the food. I always make sure to look for coupons that I can pair up with sales in the weeks leading up to our trip. I also check out the snack aisle for any clearance items.
The only snack I pay full price for is our favorite jalapeno jack tortilla chips. We are obsessed. But an entire bag is only $.77 at Walmart, so I would much rather buy those than a full-price bag of a name brand chip.
If you check out your money saving apps, like Ibotta, you can often find rebates for snack items as well.
For our recent road trip to Florida, I brought a bunch of snack bars that I got for free thanks to Ibotta. We got free energy drinks via Ibotta too, so I packed those with me. Anything that has a long-shelf date and is shelf stable is your best bet.
It’s a lot cheaper to pick them up when they’re free or on sale rather than picking them up the day before your trip. You’ll be stuck paying full price that way.
Top road trip snacks to buy ahead of time
Request free samples
This is a good one if you’re a planner, like me. Free samples can take a while to get to you, but if you know you are taking a trip, you can request them before your trip and they should arrive in time for your trip.
Personally, I really like requesting and saving snack bar samples for this one.
If you have a young family, this might be a little hard because it means not everyone will get the same snack. But if you’re just a couple like us, it works perfectly fine.
Top free sample sites to request road trip snacks
Use mobile apps
I really love the McDonald’s app. There are a lot of deals on it. Right now, I have an offer for a free sandwich or chicken nuggets. This is perfect. If you stop at McDonald’s for the bathroom, you can pick up a tasty meal for each of you for the price of one.
There are a few other mobile apps that are really awesome to have when you’re traveling too. When we were coming home from Florida, the Pilot app had an offer for free Oreo cookies. So, when Pete stopped there to get gas, I ran in to get the cookies.
Top mobile apps for road trip snacks
Make your own food
We really love making snacks. We are obsessed with my homemade pita chips and Pete loves making hummus. It’s easy to make those ahead of time, then grab them on the way out.
Sure, hummus and pita chips isn’t the easiest road trip snack, but if you stop at a rest stop to stretch your legs for a bit, this is a good snack.
If we’re driving during mealtime, I make sandwiches ahead of time. We pack a small cooler and take out the sandwiches when we’re hungry.
If you want ideas of what to make, check out Life of 2 Snowbird’s list of Healthier Food And Snack Choices For Road Trips to give you some great ideas.
Top road trip snacks to make ahead of time
Stop in a grocery store
We took a five-hour road trip to South Carolina to see Pearl Jam a while back. Right before we checked into the hotel, we stopped into the grocery store next door.
Pete grabbed some beer and I grabbed a bucket of fried chicken. We took it back to our hotel and had dinner in our room rather than heading out to a bar before the concert. It saved us so much money that way.
Top road trip snacks to buy at the grocery store
- Grab-and-go prepared foods
Want to plan your perfect road trip?
We road trip a lot. I personally like driving better than flying. If you’re planning a road trip, we have a bunch of posts that will help you.