Okay, I'm a bit neurotic when it comes to road trips.

See, I just don’t want to be at the mercy of fast food joints. I’d rather make a picnic out of cheese and crackers and fresh fruit than eat fast food any day. So I always fill the cooler with goodies.

This, of course, means we can now take our time and find restaurants where we want to eat, not restaurants where we have to eat because we haven’t eaten all day.

Besides, a road trip, if you’ll forgive the pun, is a serious crappy time to get food poisoning.

So you want to know what I stuff into the cooler? Okay . . .

Here is what I pack for a road trip
  • Fresh fruit. Nothing messy, such as a peach, or tricky to eat, such as watermelon. Apples and pears are always good. Grapes are great (the husband can pop them into his mouth as he drives). Ditto bananas. Of course, depending on timing, we try and pick these up at fruit stands on our travels.
  • Drinks. Especially water. Lots of water. I have ice packs I keep in the freezer at all times. When we go on a trip, I throw these in the cooler, throw the cooler onto the back seat, and fill it with all the drinks it will hold. Certainly water is the big one. But I’ll also add a bottle or two of juice (which we will drink the first day out) and a single bottle of soda as a treat for the husband (It took us years to get over our soda addiction. I’m over it, but my husband still yearns, so this is a special treat for him.)
  • A sweet munchie. Not chocolate, of course, which, alas, will melt in no time and become a sticky mess. But a few cookies are good or individual size Greek yogurts (to be eaten on the first day). Someone once gave me some snack tins from Dean and Deluca which worked really well. For this trip, I baked toasted almond biscotti the night before and that was great.
  • A salty munchie. My first choice is always nuts, cashews, say, or a mix. But I’ve gotten sourdough pretzels before and they were good.
  • Cheeses. I get an assortment and cut them to finger-food size. Of course, you can only bring enough for your first meal from home.
  • Crackers. To have with the cheese. Of course! Or bread. Say a nice baguette or rolls. I’ve also been known to pack a handful of olives in the cooler to have with our cheese and crackers.
  • Peanut butter. I don’t bother for a short trip, but for a longer one, I like to have peanut butter and apples on hand as a healthy snack.
  • Whatever we can pick up on the road. We’ve gotten everything from cider and peanuts to fudge and berries.
So, what do you take on your road trips? I'm always looking for good tips.