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Family Travel Tips: Packing Kid Food

Posted by | February 06, 2012 | TRAVEL | 7 Comments

happy traveler!

(per request…) Our Top Ten “Must Pack” Kids’ Food for Hotel Travel:

  1. Single-serve, microwavable, macaroni-and-cheese packs. I buy lots of the Back to Nature ones and pack them for trips. (K & O will eat 3 each in one sitting.) These are a real special hotel treat for the bambinos. If we’re going for more than a day or two, I’ll often also pack pre-made pasta… I’ll make a batch of penne with pesto before we go (I’ll often mix into it a can of white beans, or a whole bunch of frozen peas), let it cool, then dump it into a heavy-duty storage back. Packed in the cooler, then stored in the hotel room mini-fridge, then microwaved in single-serve portions, this is an easy way to give the bambinos some comfort food while away from home. (note: plastic spoons and forks are always on my To-Pack list.)
  2. Fresh fruit & veggies (and a good, small, portable knife to slice them up with) to augment whatever else they’ll be eating at the hotel (room service; pizza delivery; take out; etc.). Baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, apples, bananas, clementines, and grapes make regular appearances on our hotel trips.
  3. Cheese & crackers. Our kids love the Cracker Barrel extra-sharp cheddar cheese sticks. I often pack those, along with mozzarella sticks, and other easy on-the-go cheeses.
  4. Yogurt tubes & single-serve yogurt smoothies. (and I try to remember to pack straws for the smoothies).
  5. Nuts and/or trail mix. A quick and easy great source of protein (and we thank our lucky stars that none of our kids are allergic!).
  6. Milk. And lots of it. Our kids are whole-milk drinkers. I’ve always packed milk in our trusty Nalgene bottles (leak-proof and compact). We bring a small cooler for the drive, and then store the milk in the hotel room mini-fridge (if we have one. if not, we use the hotel ice-machine to keep the cooler cold in the room).
  7. Bottled water. and lots of it. If we’re traveling by car I buy a case of bottled water in advance of the trip and stick it in the trunk of the car. it is sooooo much cheaper to do it that way that to buy bottles of water along the way! AND Seltzer (or other sparkling water). There is nothing more refreshing. I often toss in a lemon or lime for the trip for Braydon and I to slice up for our bubbly water (the bambinos like it straight up).
  8. Wine and/or Beer. Yup! The saving grace for the bambinos’ parents on each and every trip! Nothing like a nice glass of wine in the hotel room once the kiddos are snoozing! (and nothing like a cold one on the beach at sunset either!)
  9. Treats. Of course! Because trips are a special occasion! Road trip treats of choice: Kyle = Fig Newtons, Owen = Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies from our grocery store bakery, Meera = Fruit Snacks. I also always pack single-serve bags of Smartfood and at least a couple boxes of cereal bars/granola bars.
  10. Drink containers. bottles and sippy cups are no longer needed by us J-Ms. :( but we still pack a “straw cup” for Meera, and our kids’ Camelbak bottles are our steady companions (whether we’re traveling or not). this way we can re-fill the containers as we go, and we don’t need to worry about car or hotel-room spills.

hotel dinner

Fri Nite Hotel

Cheers 3  


  • Ashley says:

    Wow Heather, these are some great ideas! Thanks! When you travel by plane, do you still bring stuff for the kids, or just shop locally when you arrive?

  • Hope Stevens says:

    Awesome! Thanks for these ideas! We are about to take a big driving trip with our two kiddos and this list will come in so handy! Great ideas!

  • Cheryl says:

    Thanks for this post. We have similar styles in that our family does #2-10 when we travel by car. However, I learned something new with #1 packing the penne pasta. I LOVE this idea. I usually don’t pack cooked food but our kids would definitely eat this. We usually freeze our yogurt tubes and then put them in the cooler so they can keep other things cool and transfer them to the fridge at the hotel. In addition to the fresh fruit, we also pack fruit purees pouches like Plum Organics or Ella’s Kitchen. If we travel by plane, we usually research grocery stores or local places to shop for things we might use like organic milk, fruit etc.

  • Shirley Stanton says:

    Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you! Hope it is special and filled with love, hearts and lots of Valentine’s !!!

  • Phyl says:

    I’m a little worried that we haven’t heard anything in ten days. I hope that you are all well and just busy. I miss reading about your adventures and seeing your great photos as well.

  • Nicolle says:

    Okay, I’d like to register official blog-reader concern… it’s been almost two weeks since a post… are you guys okay???

  • Kate says:

    Great tips, we’ve followed these too all through Roadtripping adventures in Malaysia….I fondly remember eating snacks and sandwiches from the cold box while stuck in standstill traffic in the Causeway link (thankfully the traffic jams have subsided significantly now!) into Malaysia from Singapore.
    – Kate

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