Eating Cheap on the Road

I’m a road trip veteran. After just recently completing 34 States, Washington DC and 4 Provinces of Canada in 45 days, I learned quite a bit about balancing meals and travel. So when Frugal Foodie blogger Beth Davies was looking for road trip meal advice for her column “Eating Healthy on the Road For Less,” I was glad to oblige. Here is the actual email I sent her:

Dear Beth,

Having just returned from our second 45 day road trip in less than three years, our “eat-on-the-cheap” philosophies are still fresh in mind.

#1 – Take advantage of the free “continental breakfast” hotels put out each morning. Skip the Starbucks and help yourself to the free coffee. Bring your insulated travel mugs and fill them up on your way out. If there’s a water cooler, refill your water bottles, too. Grab a piece of fruit per person and a yogurt as well. Even if you don’t eat them there, stash them in your cooler and they make quick, healthy snacks later. Just don’t forget the spoons!

#2 – This tip is handy especially if you’re traveling with a pet, since hotels do not allow pets to remain unattended in rooms. Eat dinner in your room. Most hotels now offer microwaves and refrigerators in room – and those that don’t usually have a breakfast area where you can use the microwave. Quite often we’d make turkey sandwiches from cold cuts in the cooler and heat up a cup of soup to go with them. Even if you pick up take-out sandwiches, that’s still cheaper than a sit-down meal, and after a long day of traveling, you don’t have to get to the hotel just to clean up and go back out again.

#3 – Eat lunch out. Lunch menus are always less expensive than dinner menus, and finding a neat “mom & pop” cafe in the Ozarks will give you a great taste of not only the cuisine, but the local color.

#4 – Whenever we travel, we always ask the locals where they would go for lunch.

#5 – Bolthouse Farms Smoothies – these all natural, healthy drinks are great for the cooler. There’s a flavor for every taste, from mango to mocha. I always carry a C-Boost Immunity Support since it’s easy to get run-down while on the road; and I carry a Mocha Cappuccino Perfectly Protein which is great to satisfy sweet cravings and hunger pangs. I especially love these two smoothies because they are gluten-free, soy-free and great for people with food sensitivities and allergies.

#6 – Other foods good for road trips: String cheese, cracker/cheese sandwich packs, corn tortilla chips, cashews, trail mix, fun-size Snickers, apples, clementines (easy to peel), yogurt cups, pudding cups, and baby carrots.

Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you find this information useful. Please credit me as Author K. S. Brooks.

Thank you and best of luck with your story!

You’ll notice in item #1 I suggest people “take advantage” of the breakfast buffet. What I find hilarious is that what ended up being published in Beth’s article makes me sound like a vagabond going from hotel to hotel looking for continental breakfasts – “Raid the hotel breakfast bar: Action- adventure author and avid road-tripper K.S. Brooks looks for hotels with a free continental breakfast and also uses the fare for snacks later.”

Frankly I prefer the hot breakfast bars which have bacon and eggs and hash browns. Isn’t it nice to start off the day with a good hot meal in your happy belly? The best one I can recall from my recent trip was the Comfort Inn and Suites in Moab, Utah. I never forget a good breakfast bar. By the way, almost all hotels have some kind of free breakfast bar now, whether it’s just hot beverages, or coffee and muffins.

That’s all for now. I hear the Holiday Inn in Spokane is having its nightly customer-appreciation cocktail hour and I need to get going so I don’t miss the free pigs in a blanket and punch.

P.S. You can read Beth’s article here:

About ksbrooks

K.S. Brooks is an award-winning writer and photographer, author of more than thirty titles, and administrator of the multi-national, multi-author, award-winning site Indies Unlimited. Brooks’ feature articles, poetry, and photography have appeared in magazines, newspapers, books, and other publications both in the U.S. and abroad. For more about K.S. Brooks, visit
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