A lot of you will be travelling during Christmas, which means planes, trains and automobiles and while you are hurtling towards your destination, you will probably get hungry. Eating while on the move isn’t that hard, but eating while travelling in a way that is actually pleasurable can be tricky. Here’s how to make the experience a little more tasty.
Pack a Picnic for the Plane
Aeroplane eating is perhaps the trickiest, as you are limited by both physical space and airline regulations. Convenience is key, and a little planning will go a long way. The most important part of packing a meal is making sure you pack it in a way that prevents your food from being confiscated. Always check the customs guidelines beforehand and keep dips, spreads, liquids (duh), and yoghurt under 100mL and packed in the required plastic bag.
You could throw your food into any ol’ carry on, but a bento box is a great way to give yourself a well-rounded meal with a variety of treats, and protect it from getting smushed. As someone who can’t read on planes due to motion sickness, it’s important that I keep myself entertained by food, and lots of little treats (and drinks) is a good way to do that. It isn’t necessary, but I enjoy picking a theme for my in-flight meal. Some ideas for picnic themes:
- Rustic Picnic: Piece of crusty bread + good, but not stinky, cheese + grapes + salami + good chocolate
- Make your own Lunchable: Deli meat + sliced cheddar cheese + crackers + fun size candy bar (maybe two)
- Mediterranean Munchies: Hummus (pack according to airline regulations) + mini pita bread + olives (drained of liquid) + sliced capsicum
In addition to your bento, I would throw a couple of pieces of fruit in there. Easily-peeled citrus fruit (such as mandarins) will instantly elevate your flying experience. Not only does the water-heavy fruit help combat dehydration while tasting fantastic, but the act of peeling an orange or mandarin infuses the stale cabin air with the bright, refreshing smell of citrus.
Thanks to beverage service, drinks aren’t something you really need to worry about, but if you want to have a decent adult beverage made with your brand of booze, it’s worth buying little sample-sized bottles and making your own cocktails using of the free mixers. Vinepair has some great ideas (the Kalimotxo is inspired), but I’ll share a few of my favourites with you, because I am very nice:
- Spicy Bloody Mary: One mini bottle of your favourite vodka + Bloody Mary Mix + free lime wedges + tiny bottle of hot sauce (you will have to pack this). Pour the vodka over ice, squeeze in a couple of lime wedges, throw in a couple of dashes of hot sauce, top with mix and enjoy.
- Italian Greyhound: Mini bottle of your favourite dry gin + mini bottle of Campari + free grapefruit juice + free lime wedge. Pour the entire little bottle of gin and half the little bottle of Campari over ice. Top with grapefruit juice, squeeze in a lime wedge, stir and enjoy. Mix the remaining Campari with soda water.
- Irish Coffee: Mini bottle of your favourite Irish whiskey + free coffee + two free sugar cubes + free half & half. Throw everything in that little coffee cup and stir, stir, stir.
- Tom Collins: Mini bottle of London dry gin + as many free lemon wedges as the flight attendant will give you + free sugar cube + free club soda. Ask for an extra cup and place the sugar cube inside it. Crush the sugar cube with the butt of your mini gin bottle and sprinkle it into the ice-filled cup with the gin. Squeeze a whole bunch of lemon wedges in there and top with soda water.
I could keep going, but I think you all get the idea.
Carry Car-Friendly Cuisine
Eating on a road trip is a little easier than dining in the sky, but there are still a few road bumps. Since you’ll be driving, it’s pretty important that you keep yourself fuelled and alert, so a small amount of thought and care should be given as to what you’re putting into your body.The most important health tip? Don’t eat while driving; it’s dangerous, and you know better. If your route contains rest stops, pull over and enjoy a picnic at an actual table. You’ll get a chance to stretch your legs, and some rest stops are actually quite pretty.
Since you won’t have to worry about liquid restrictions and the like, you’re free to pack pretty much whatever suits your fancy, just make sure it’s tasty at room temperature or colder. If your car is too full of luggage and presents to fit a hard sided cooler, grab an insulated shopping bag from the supermarket. They’re pretty cheap, and can be folded up and slid into the backseat pocket once you’ve emptied them.
If you’d rather not pack any food at all, you’ll probably end up eating fast food at some point or another. It can be a challenge but, there are some options out there that aren’t too terrible for you. Stick to grilled items, vegetable sides, rice and bean bowls and salads (though be careful here: some are just croutons and bacon).
Of course, depending on where you’re travelling, fast food may not even be an option. Gas station food may seem daunting, but there are a few options that won’t completely wreck you:
- Pieces of fruit: there are always bananas at gas stations, and bananas are good.
- Trail mix, mixed into yoghurt: GORP mixed into yogurt gives you a good mix or protein and carbs, plus it’s really tasty.
- String cheese and pretzels: The cheese will give you some protein, and hard pretzels are a lot less greasy than chips.
- Sour Cream and Onion Pringles and Pretzel M&M’s: Because they are delicious, you have to live a little, and you deserve them, you roadwarrior.
- Water: Those Diet Coke tall boys are tempting, but they will give you a headache. (Well, they give me a headache.)
Hopefully this gives you some ideas on how to make travelling a more tasty and enjoyable experience, but if all else fails, and you simply don’t have time to plan for your flight or road trip, don’t freak out. Even if you have to order the crappy plane wine, you’re still drinking alcohol in the sky, and that’s pretty amazing.