We are a family of history lovers. Even my newly turned 6 year old will sit with us and watch shows on the History channel. When ever we get a chance, we travel to places in the United States that feed our history hunger.
Our last trip was down to Dallas for a meeting for my husband's job. We always travel with him when he has a meeting (which is not often) and we did this same trip last year. This time around, we had done a unit on the great explorers, Merriweather Lewis and William Clark, and visited significant places in their journey.
Stops in St. Louis and St. Charles, Missouri, along with a couple days in Dallas and other stops along the way (we traveled closely to Route 66) nicely finished and made more tangible our book reading.
Because of the way we choose to feed our family (real food, minimal processed ingredients,etc.) and various food allergies (beans, corn, wheat, soy) I always make and bring a lot of our food.
I try and bring as many things as possible that don't require refrigeration, which takes a lot of creativity when we are not eating processed, packaged foods! We do have a cooler that plugs in like a fridge, and that was one of the best "travel investments" we've made!
Here is a list of what I typically bring:
*dried, un-sulphered fruit (apricots, pineapple, mango, raisins, cranberries, etc.)
*homemade beef jerky (grass-fed beef, sea salt, and organic spices)
*homemade yogurt leather (organic goat milk yogurt with all fruit jam, spread thin and dehydrated)
*fresh fruit and veggies (these can stay at room temperature or in a soft insulated bag just fine, especially if they are whole) like carrots, celery, cucumbers, apples, oranges. Bananas and other soft fruits do not travel well.
*homemade croutons (slice a whole loaf of stale homemade bread into cubes, toss in olive oil and garlic salt or other seasonings to taste, dry in oven)
*several loaves of homemade bread
*raw honey (to flavor the plain yogurt, tea, soothe a cough, put on a cut, etc.)
*real salt or celtic sea salt (for minerals, to season veggies, to stop an asthma attack, etc.)
*apple cider vinegar (mostly for upset tummies that inevitably occur while on the road)
*many gallons of purified water (we each have a stainless steel water bottle and we re-fill these as necessary)
*breakfast muffins such as these
*oatmeal bake (although this is technically "perishable", it keeps just fine out of the cooler. It lasts us about three breakfasts)
*raw cheddar cheese
*assorted preservative free lunch meats
*grass fed raw milk (depending on the length of our trip)
*grass fed butter (does not need to be in the cooler unless we are traveling in VERY hot weather)
*Five melamine bowls (glass or pottery is my preference at home, but not practical for bumping around in the car)
*a couple kitchen towels
*soap sponge (you know, the clear handle thingy with the sponge attached that you can put dish soap in?)
We will stop at a select few restaurants along the way, Ch*potle being one of them. Our family can eat there for just over $20, so it's a nice break for me from making sandwiches on the dashboard of the van! We also will enjoy a few "naughty" snacks like potato chips. We are on vacation, after all!
However, largely, we eat what we brought, and it saves a TON of time and money. No driving around finding a place we can all eat at. No worrying about how much it will cost. No worries about an upset tummy or bad behavior because of food we are not used to. No extra stops, because we can just fix food while we drive (although it was a bit harder for me this last time with my big pregnant belly in the way!) It's also extremely convenient in the mornings in the hotels to just have food and water handy right away so we don't have to pack and dress cranky children to get them out the door to breakfast.
There are a very few downsides, like washing dirty dishes in the hotel bathroom sink, or worrying that someone might wonder why I'm toting a long serrated bread knife in my car...or slicing cheese on a towel on the front seat in a parking lot with my bottom hanging out the open door! But nothing to convince us that this is not the best way to go.
Part 2, Hotels and Transportation, coming soon!