According to you: The essential road trip snacks

Brandan Gillogly

There are a lot of important decisions that have to be made when embarking on a road trip. The destination, route, vehicle, schedule, and passengers are all variables that can make the difference between a drive to remember and one you wish you could forget. Another important variable? Your choice(s) in snacks.

Sajeev Mehta, one of our Senior Editors, posted a question in the Hagerty Community asking for our readers’ go-to road trip snack, and unsurprisingly, we got a lot of delicious answers. People are nearly as opinionated about their choice of grub as they are about their automobiles.

Audi TT interior driving
Brandan Gillogly

Team Sweet

Chocolate candy was a big winner in this camp, with standard candy bars making a number of appearances. In a hot climate, however, chocolate can spell disaster for your fingers—and eventually your steering wheel and/or upholstery. The natural artificial solution to this predicament is, of course, the M&M. These timeless treats were designed with high temperatures in mind, and their candy shell provides not only a protection from melting but a convenient way to enjoy a small, uniform portion at a time. (We suppose you could also share them.)

Notable mentions: Tootsie Pops, granola bars. Take caution with Fig Newtons.

Freedom Road Rally New York map scouting lifestyle
Cameron Neveu

Team Salty

The MVP here was clearly beef jerky, as the popular protein-packed snack tends to be a lot less messy than chips. Fritos were another suggestion, but the problem there lies with the Honey BBQ Flavor Twists—the undisputed best flavor despite fierce competition from Chili Cheese—are only available in a single serving size, no matter how big that serving size may be. Open the bag and it’s all over. Alas, they’re too good for their own good!

Other popular items in this category were sunflower seeds and pistachios. Another potential messy snack, both of these labor-intensive choices are a road trip must-have for those preferring less processed foods. Finding a place to keep your bottle of empties is just a part of life on the open road.

Pretzels and bags of snack mixes are another excellent go-to, as they’re easy to handle and not messy.

Our dark horse in this category is Sabritones. The crispy chile-lime-flavored wheat snack, hailing from Mexico, may leave your fingers covered in a bit of fine powder, but it’s worth it. Tough to find in some parts, these always make an appearance when the Hagerty team heads west.

1949 Cadillac Series 62 sedan interior driving action
Cameron Neveu

Team Both

There were several proponents in the community that advocated for mixing salty and sweet. Trail mix combining nuts, raisins, and the road trip stalwart M&Ms was an excellent suggestion.

Corn Nuts mixed with M&M was another suggestion that seemed strange at first. We must admit, now we’re curious. This could be a game-changer.

Team No Food in My Car

A few community members were staunchly opposed to food or beverages in their car, which is fine. I just now know not to expect an invite from any of these people to ride shotgun. Considering one suggestion of worst road trip snack among this contingent included an alarming allusion to a “chili dog incident,” which—though vague—sufficiently explains cause for caution. People in this camp prefer roadside stops for food at Wawa, Waffle House, Whataburger, and presumably other less alliterative locations. What’s important is that you’re hitting the road!

Porsche GT4 road trip gas station
Grace Houghton
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    No snacks in the car please. Find a good place along the way to eat and make that a destination!

    Oreos! They come in about 40 million varieties and are great for the driver to just pop in the mouth. Passengers are allowed, no – encouraged – to unscrew them and lick out the sweet, gooey middle.

    Few cars are really worthy of the “no food” rule.
    If a car is that pristine, or if you’re that worried about it, you probably would not be driving it on a road trip.
    So leave the “avoid the crumbs” rule to the concours crowd or Porsche worshipers.

    If I can find a real Drive in; then that’s my go to. If not, Tortilla Chips, and a nice Mexican Coca Cola. Then maybe some cookies from my buddies wife. She makes the best most yummy cookies! 🙂

    Snacking in an Packard with new wool upholstery is out of the question. Especially if your wife is riding shotgun and she is the one who did all the upholstery work!

    During my ‘younger’ years I made many a solo road trip between Chicago, IL and Anchorage, AK. Aside from two very good restaurants in Alberta and BC that were mandatory stops the main road fare was 1) giant bags of Doritos; 2) a case of Snickers; 3) at least one case of Pepsi; and, 4) a box of A & C Grenadier Darks. My wife later got me hooked on those awful orange colored Cheetos. The Pepsi and Snickers remain but I gave up the cigars. I cannot count the tens of thousands of miles we have logged eating nothing but junk food. Throw in the occasional ice cream stop and I am in heaven. Granted we never eat like that at home or at our destinations. As my old buddy Harry Chapin told us; “It’s got to be the going, not the getting there, that’s good.”

    On shorter trips I usually grab a little bag of Ritz Bits – the cheese ones, and a soda. No snacks in my Bricklin, though – there’s no console cubby holes or cup holders. Along with no lighter or ash tray, it was all part of the “Safety Vehicle” idea.

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