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269 Non-Perishable Foods for Road Trips

If you want to save money on food while traveling, bring non-perishable foods. These foods are perfect for snacks, as well as making a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner in the hotel room, on a picnic, in a theme park, or while car camping or tent camping. Wherever your road trip may take you, it’s smart to bring your own meals.

Bringing road trip food is great if you are traveling with dietary restrictions or allergies, too. It can often be easier to bring your own healthy road trip food and snacks when traveling, rather than trying to find a restaurant somewhere to stop that offers gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian or allergy-friendly dining.

What we have found while RVing across the county, especially out West, is that there is often no restaurants available for miles and miles. Having our own food and drinks with us allowed us to eat whenever and wherever we wanted, especially at scenic overlooks that don’t have a restaurant nearby! For instance, in Canyonlands National Park, there are no facilities, however we enjoyed a lovely lunch with a great view by bringing our own food!

This is very true in National Parks, as well. Many National Parks and State Parks have no facilities, which includes no water, snacks or food. If you or your children get hangry while in the park, you will have to leave before you are ready. Having road trip foods and snacks with you lets you enjoy the day longer without needing to worry about finding a gas station or fast food restaurant.

Enjoying a snack at Bryce Canyon National Park while writing post cards.

All of these foods can be packed without any refrigeration or cooler needed.

However, if you want to keep some of these foods from spoiling after opening, you will probably want to bring a cooler. You don’t need ice packs or cubes of ice to keep food cold anymore. You can easily plug in a cooler in your car with the 12V outlet and keep snacks and drinks chilled.

So, if you are looking for the Ultimate Road Trip Food List, this is it!

What are Non-Perishable Foods?

Foods that do not require refrigeration or freezing for storage are considered non-perishable.

Helpful Tips for Buying Non-Perishable Foods for Travel

  • Make sure that you actually like the taste of a food before bringing it along on your road trip or vacation. You do not want to be relying on a food item for a meal only to find out that you don’t like it.
  • Look at expiration dates. Make sure the foods that you bring will be consumed before the Best Buy date.
  • Wait for sales and stock up then. You will be surprised at how often non-perishable foods go on sale.
  • If you are bringing canned foods, make sure to have a manual can opener (that doesn’t require electricity). Some canned foods have flip-top lids which are easier to open. However, it is smart to have an extra can opener available just in case. You can easily find an inexpensive one at the Dollar Tree.
  • Bring along a pair of scissors to open packaging.
  • Be ready to pack out your trash if there is no public trash can or recycling center available. Keep a few small plastic grocery shopping bags tucked away to put all of the waste in after your meal or snack.
  • Many foods might need to be prepared. For instance, canned tuna needs to be mixed with mayo to make an easy tuna salad sandwich. Think about how you will eat the foods and bring the supplies you will need, such as a bowl, utensils, paper plates, disposable cutlery, zero-waste kit, cutting knives, etc.
  • Storing opened foods in reusable containers helps keep everything tidy and contained. Check out all of these stainless steel snack containers for great plastic-free options.
  • Hand wipes and hand sanitizer are a must! Wash your hands before eating, after eating and clean up food prep with convenient hand wipes.

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Best Non-Perishable Foods for Road Trips

Meats and Proteins

  • Peanut Butter (Unless the jar states otherwise, it doesn’t need refrigeration after opening)
  • Beef Jerky
  • Canned Tuna
  • Canned Chicken
  • Canned Salmon
  • Canned Turkey
  • Canned Vienna sausages
  • Corned beef hash
  • Dinty Moore stew
  • Anchovies
  • Deviled ham
  • Spam
  • Canned Sardines
  • Clams in a Jar
  • Canned Oysters
  • Canned mackerel
  • Canned ground beef (Keystone Meats)
  • Canned Pork (Keystone Meats)
  • Tuna pouches
  • Tuna pouches with spices/mayo already mixed in
  • Canned Chili
  • Beef Stew
  • Freeze dried ground beef
  • Freeze dried chicken
  • Freeze dried beef chunks
  • Freeze dried pork
  • Peanut Butter Powder
  • Canned Beans
  • Dried Beans (black beans, black eyed peas, navy beans, pinto beans, red beans, white beans)
  • Garbonzo beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Almond butter
  • Sunflower butter
  • Cashew butter
  • Freeze dried cheese
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Flax seeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Soups
  • Country ham
  • Lentils (Green, Red, Brown, Yellow, Black)
  • Canned Spaghetti (such as Chef Boyardee)
  • Canned Ravioli 
  • Powdered Protein Drinks/Mixes
  • Powdered Eggs
  • Freeze Dried Meals (such as Mountain House)
  • MREs (Meals Ready to Eat)
  • Peanuts
  • Cashews
  • Pistachios
  • Almonds
  • Brazil nuts
  • Hazelnuts
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Pecans
  • Pinenuts
  • Walnuts
  • Mixed Nuts
  • Quinoa
  • Whey protein shakes
  • Sprouting seeds, such as alfalfa or brocolli sprouts
  • Non-fat dried milk
  • Waxed cheeses
  • Shelf stable cheese (Such as Velveeta or Laughing Cow)

Pastas, Breads, Crackers, Rice

  • Granola Bars
  • Power bars
  • Dry cereal
  • Oatmeal
  • Pop-Tarts
  • Muffins
  • Rice cakes
  • Bagels
  • English Muffins
  • Sliced bread
  • Hamburger buns
  • Tortilla wraps
  • Ramen soup
  • Cup-a-noodle
  • Knorr pasta side dishes
  • Instant rice meals
  • Grits
  • Cream of Rice
  • Cream of Wheat
  • Cream of Buckwheat
  • Graham crackers
  • Saltine crackers
  • Oyster crackers
  • Dried potato flakes
  • Potato Powder
  • Pasta
  • Gluten free pasta
  • Rice
  • Minute Rice
  • Macaroni and Cheese Boxes
  • Quinoa
  • Barley
  • Couscous
  • Soba, made from buckwheat
  • Rice noodles (Asian section)
  • Chow main noodles 

Fruits and Vegetables

Choosing fruit in water, rather than heavy syrup, means no extra added sugars which can be a healthier option. Many canned vegetables also come in lower sodium options.

Fruits and vegetables can come canned, in a jar, single-serve plastic bowls or dehydrated. Look for the different varieties of foods below. They can also come in squeeze pouches, too, such as applesauce or fruit mixes.

dehydrated apple snacks
Dehydrated apples are the perfect road trip snack. They are sweet, crunchy and healthy!

Much fresh produce is also non-perishable, too.

  • Cranberries
  • Raisins
  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Blueberries
  • Apricots
  • Mandarin Oranges
  • Pineapple
  • Peaches
  • Grapefruit
  • Fruit Cocktail
  • Prunes
  • Mangoes
  • Coconut
  • Dates
  • Applesauce
  • Pie Filling
  • Baby foods
  • Fruit leather
  • Fruit powders
  • Tomatoes
  • Spinach
  • Green Beans
  • Peas
  • Corn
  • Sun Dried Tomatoes
  • Vegetables Powders
  • Canned mixed vegetables
  • Potatoes
  • Salsa
  • Pumpkin
  • Sweet potato
  • Tomato Paste
  • Pasta Sauce
  • Pizza sauce
  • Olives
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Green Chilis
  • Sauerkraut
  • Asparagus
  • Canned chestnuts (Asian)

Snacks – Comfort Foods

It’s always important to have some sort of snack on hand for the munchies. We always had special foods that we would never eat at home while on vacation. You might want to surprise your kids or spouse with fun foods, too, to make road trip meals special.

  • Chex Mix
  • Peppermint Candies
  • Butterscotch
  • Werther’s Originals
  • M&Ms
  • Skittles
  • Jolly ranchers
  • Gummy bears
  • Candy canes
  • Gum
  • Trail mix
  • Pretzels
  • Dried chickpeas
  • Kale chips
  • Cauliflower chips
  • Dried veggie sticks
  • Pita chips
  • Dried cheese crisps
  • Popped popcorn 
  • Goldfish
  • Potato Chips
  • Tortilla chips
  • Plantain chips
  • Snack Puddings
  • Canned Cheese
  • Cheese dips
  • Potato Chip Dips
  • Bean dips
  • Corn nuts
  • Little Debbie Snacks
  • Pre-packaged snacks
  • Cheese and Crackers
  • Cookies
  • Lollipops
  • Chocolate (keep in a cooler unless you are traveling in the winter)
  • Graham crackers
  • Animal crackers
  • Rice Krispy Treats

Drinks

  • Cold brew tea bags
  • Lemondade Mix
  • Flavored Water Drops
  • Tang
  • Kool-Aid
  • Bottled Juice
  • Canned JuiceInstant Coffee
  • Coffee beans (and grinder)
  • Freeze dried coffee
  • Tea bags
  • Evaporated Milk
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • Shelf Stable Milk 
  • Soda
  • Seltzer
  • Hot Chocolate Packets
  • Hot Cider Mix
  • Gatorade – bottled or powdered
  • Crystal light
  • Ovaltine
  • Hershey’s Chocolate powder
  • Malted milk
  • Powerade
  • Pedialyte
  • Electrolyte drinks
  • Powdered milk
  • Juice boxes
  • Canned vegetable juice
  • Coconut milk
  • Coconut water

Condiments

Many of these items come in single serve packets from restaurants, take-out meals, etc. It’s wise to keep these on hand instead of throwing them out.

Put small amounts of condiments in plastic containers, zip-top plastic bags or resealable silicone bags to use while traveling. That way, you don’t have to waste space bringing more than you will need.

  • Sugar
  • Cocoa
  • Powdered Creamer
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion flakes
  • Hot Sauce
  • Chili Sauce
  • Salad dressing
  • Ketchup
  • Soy sauce
  • Coconut Aminos
  • Mayo
  • Mustard
  • Relish
  • Horseradish Sauce
  • Arby’s Sauce
  • Onion powder
  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Bouillon
  • Dried onion and spice packet mixes
  • Honey
  • Pickles
  • Hot peppers
  • Chicken broth
  • Beef broth
  • Vegetable broth
  • Mushroom broth
  • Ghee (doesn’t need refrigeration)
  • Basil
  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger
  • Cumin
  • Avocado oil
  • Stevia
  • Vanilla extract
  • Vinegar
  • Syrup
  • Sugar
  • Jelly
  • Jams
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Canned butter
  • Dried butter powder
  • Iodized salt
  • Powdered sugar
  • Dried mustard
  • Red pepper
  • Rosemary
  • Oregano
  • Tabasco sauce
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Chocolate chips
  • Chocolate syrup
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • BBQ Sauce

Road Trip Meal Ideas

There are a lot of foods that you can bring while traveling, but how do you make a delicious meal? Here are some meal ideas for using non-perishable foods:

  • Canned tuna + mayonnaise + mustard served on crackers
  • Canned chicken + BBQ sauce + pickles served on hamburger buns
  • Tortilla + veggies + soy sauce + chili sauce served on tortilla wraps
  • Canned turkey + mandarin oranges + dried cranberries mixed with salad dressing served on couscous (heat couscous using portable burner below or bring already prepared)
  • Almond butter + raisins + honey served on an English muffin
  • Beef jerky + cheese + dried cranberries + dried apricots + crackers as a charcuterie board
  • Spam + Pineapple slices + soy sauce served on bread with plantain chips
  • Tortilla chips + bean dip mixed with salsa + cheese on top
  • Rice cake + sunflower butter + jam served with a pudding cup
  • Ramen soup + dehydrated ground beef + canned corn + canned green beans (use the liquid in the cans to heat the ramen noodles in using a portable burner seen below)
  • Muffin + peanut butter spread on top + shelf stable milk
  • Protein shake + evaporated milk

How to Have a Hot Meal on the Road

Just because you are eating convenience foods doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the meal! If you want a hot sandwich or a hot bowl of soup, you can enjoy those, even on a road trip!

These portable burners are great for quickly boiling water or liquids. Just bring a pot to use on the single electric burner. These can plug into the 12V (cigarette lighter) outlet in your vehicle and heat up in minutes.

Portable ovens work great, too. They use 12V to warm the food and can be plugged in before reaching your rest break so that you have an immediate hot meal when you arrive.

Planning a road trip? Check out these 52 Road Trip Activities for Kids Age 10 and Under. And if you’re posting to social media, you’ll want this list of Road Trip Instagram Captions.