A fun part of any holiday is the food. Whether you're all about home cooking or you prefer food that comes hot in a styrofoam box, chances are you'll be eagerly anticipating each and every meal on your vacation.
The road trip is a bit different, however. You've hired a car from Sydney or Melbourne or the Gold Coast, finally finished packing and you're ready to hit the road.
But with long stretches of tarmac (or gravel, depending on where you are) in front of you, there will be times when your stomach is rumbling for what seems like hours, with hardly a McDonald's in sight.
For these situations, it's best to plan ahead and prepare some tasty treats to tuck into on the road.
1) Mason jar anything
You'll recognise these if you've been to a wedding in the last year. While the mason jar is a Pinterest favourite, it could also be a meal vessel for your next road trip.
They come with lids, meaning you won't have to deal with any spillage, plus they can be easily resealed when you've finished with them, unlike those awkward fast food bags. As an added bonus, you'll be able to store them in your cup holders, so you won't have to deal with any food messes on your nice new rental.
Food-wise, if it can fit in a cup, it'll fit in your mason jar. This may make it seem like your options are limited, but really they aren't. Berry parfait, cheesecake, banana bread, even pasta salad – all of these can come in mason jar form. All you have to do is decide what you feel like eating, pile it into a jar and you're set.
2) Bistro boxes
These homemade lunch boxes are the ultimate in food freedom, since you can put anything you want in them. Compact and easy to transport, all you'll need is a container (preferably with compartments) and your favourite foods.
Bistro boxes are perfect road trip meal receptacles not just because of their portability, but also because they can essentially pack an entire meal. You can fit a sandwich, a couple of sides and even a dessert into a single box. They're typically packed with light, high-energy foods to keep you alert, which is especially important if you're going to be driving.
Bistro boxes are packed with light, high-energy foods to keep you alert, which is especially important if you're driving.
A typical box consists of a sandwich or burger, some fruits or vegetables with dip and a brownie or other sweet treat. However, you don't necessarily have to stick to this. Tacos, corn ships and salsa make for a great Mexican-themed box, or use burgers and jerky for the manly-man in the car. If you have a box with definitive compartments, you could even go for cold pasta or a rice dish.
If you're travelling with a group of friends, encourage everyone to bring their own bistro box. When you take a break from driving to stretch your legs, sit down for a primary school style lunch swap and see what you can trade.
The great thing about bites is that they can be literally anything (okay, maybe not soup, but that's what the mason jars are for). All that a food needs to qualify is that it's cut into small parts.
Ideally, these should be foods that already taste good cold, like Indian style meatballs or mini quiches. Pack a good range of bite-sized foods and you'll find all occupants of the car snacking throughout the day.
Particularly suited for an Australian summer are yoghurt bites. Slap little dollops of your favourite fruity yoghurt onto baking paper, pop in the fridge for an hour then put them in a zip-lock bag in the freezer. Both healthy and easy to snack on, these sweet little treats make the prefect road trip accompaniment, although you're best off eating them early in the ride before they melt.