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Old 09-29-2005, 06:20 PM   #1
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General Road Trip Questions Answered Here

I've spent much of my life in the car on the nation's highways and byways, culminating in a 3-year full-time RVing (never more than a month in one spot, very seldom more than a few days). Any questions about how to plan road trip food answered here. What to bring, what to buy, how to store and preserve food. Anything from how to live in cheap motels to tents to .... and anyone having advice, chime in.

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Old 09-29-2005, 07:05 PM   #2
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I have more trouble knowing how to pack clothes than food. I always take too much and wish I could handle that better. At least you don't have to bring the food back home.
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Old 09-29-2005, 07:13 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by licia
I have more trouble knowing how to pack clothes than food. I always take too much and wish I could handle that better. At least you don't have to bring the food back home.
Same here. I always have clothes that I never wore but packed so I would be ready for anything.
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Old 09-29-2005, 07:29 PM   #4
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When I was a young punk in the 80's, my family traveled the four corners of the U.S. with a pop-up trailer. The food kit was basically a Coleman stove, Chef Boyardee and Tang and a wide variety of canned veggies. My dad can fish with the best of them so we always ended up camping near the water. Really cheap motels are always a hole in the wall in the middle of nowhere, the room and beds will probably be small and you might have warm water. The upside is that it probably won't cost more than $20 a night for a full room. I love to rough it and I could go on and on but this is Claire's thread, so I'll shut up now! Sorry, started reminiscing!
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Old 09-30-2005, 08:33 AM   #5
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Here's a quick hint for packing: Take 5 t-shirts shirts and lay them out on the bed. Then, fold their arms toward the belly (like the dry cleaners do), then roll them up from the bottom hem to the top collar. Do this with the rest of your tees. Then, put them in a ziplock (the big giant kind that they make now for clothes, etc), zip them almost all of the way, and suck the air out with a straw. Seriously, you can have all your shirts in a teeny tiny place, and since you've rolled them, they really don't wrinkle.

As for food, jerky is always a good car snack, imo :)
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Old 09-30-2005, 01:54 PM   #6
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DampCharcoal, it isn't my thread, it's everyone's! Your response really brings back memories. My father was an Air Force sergeant with 4 daughters, so budget was always tight. We took all our vacations in a pop-up and had so much fun. But even down to the chefboyardi (in our case cans of spaghetti were always on hand as a side dish for supper or a lunch) and the cheap motels. Dad used to pull up to them, go in and check to make sure it wasn't a hot-sheet joint and the cockroaches weren't too bad, then would either get back into the wagon with a sigh and start looking for the next vacancy sign, or we'd go in. Often we'd spend the first few minutes peeling oranges (always a staple) and putting the peel in corners to offset foul smells. Mom always carried an electric skillet and a percolator with all the guts removed to boil water for coffee, tea, cup-o-soup, hot chocolate. Needless to say, as far as us kids were concerned, the pop-up was far better!
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Old 09-30-2005, 02:07 PM   #7
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My packing method is to start a week or two before a vacation. I clear a space (usually a bed in the guest bedroom, but if you don't have that luxury, an empty laundry basket or even a table you don't use). Every time I do laundry, pick up the mail, go to the store, I put what I want to take with me on the bed. A few days before I need to pack, I stand there and add and subtract. I try to eliminate as many things as possible that cannot be worn together (no print pants/skirts/shorts that clash with print tops if possible). Count out underclothes plus 1 or 2 days. During this time I pick up samples of toiletries and toss them on the bed, disposable shavers, magazines and paperbacks (I'm a voracious reader). Obviously if you're going to a party/wedding, etc, you need to set out all you need for that, plus extra hose. Extra set of batteries for anything that needs them (they can be prohibitive in tourist shops if that's your destination). But mostly at this time I cull out as much as possible from my side, and add to hubby's ("Well, you can do some washing, can't you?" "What part of the word Vacation do you not understand?" ... after 23 years, he does 'get' it now, but I still have to add underwear and socks and an extra pair of slacks!). By packing day all I have to do is grab the stuff I wear 'til the last moment and fold. SHoes are the hardest for me. We tend to walk a lot, but I'm not one who likes to wear athletic shoes everwhere. So I try to find some walking shoes that will go with regular clothes as well. Also it is tough when you're starting in one climate and travelling to an extreme opposite. When it's 90 out, it's hard to picture what you'll need at 35 and vice-versa. Layers, layers. If doing strictly hotel vacationing, especially overseas, I try to make the clothes as lightweight as possible so if I have to wash them out in the sink they'll dry overnight. If you have to wash out jeans, trust me, you wear or carry wet jeans for weeks.
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Old 10-01-2005, 12:06 AM   #8
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When it comes to packing, two trips in particular stick in my mind. When my mom died, I had to hurry and get a plane back to California. I packed quickly and left. It wasn't until I got there that I found out that I hadn't packed any pants! Another thing that was memorable about that trip was that there were about 20 pilots, in uniform, on that flight. They must have been new, as they all had extremely thick manuals with them.

The other trip that stands out is my honeymoon. We didn't think we would be able to go anywhere, as we had no money. We got married at 6:00 p.m. on a Friday. Some people at work, and James's boss gave us some money as a wedding gift, so we were able to go. I was at work when we found out we could go, so James went and packed my stuff so that we could leave right after the wedding (very small wedding--just a few friends). Once again, when we got to Myrtle Beach I discovered that I did not have any pants! So that seems to be the theme of my trips! It is a good excuse to go shopping though!

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Old 10-01-2005, 04:54 AM   #9
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When our kids were home we always went to the beach for a week while they were out of school. It was always up to me to pack for everyone (huh?) Once I didn't pack dh any underwear. For a week he washed out his underwear before he went to the beach and left it on a chair on the balcony to dry. I can't understand why we didn't just buy him more, but we didn't. I've never had to do his packing since. All I do is make sure all the laundry is done so he can choose whatever he wants to take. I should have caught on earlier and saved myself some trouble. After that I let the kids do their packing and I just looked to make sure nothing was forgotten. Even when I went to Europe I took too many things, plus I bought too many also.
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Old 10-01-2005, 05:56 AM   #10
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Early on in our relationship we went on a weekender trip to Annapolis, MD. Hubby was already giving me grief because of my forgetfullness. We weren't even living together then. We got about an hour outside of DC and he realized he hadn't packed any extra jockey shorts. We had to stop, look for a store in a strange town, and buy him a three-pack to get him through the weekend. So much for romance. If he'd even mildly suggested I wash his underwear every night, we wouldn't be married to this very day (that was 24 years ago).
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Old 10-01-2005, 05:58 AM   #11
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Two subjects I'd like to see addressed here: Cooler hints, and Cooking (sometimes illicet) in odd places (like hotel rooms).
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Old 10-01-2005, 06:02 AM   #12
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Here's one in the cooler category. If you're a bottled water oficionado, buy your favorite water. If not, save a few plastic bottles from other drinks (pop, juice, etc). 1 litre or less is best. Fill the latter 3/4 with drinking water (if using bottled water, pour off a couple of ounces and drink it). Put the bottles of water in your freezer with a slightly loosened cap. When frozen solid, take out, tighten the lid, and put in your cooler. For a day or two you will have lovely ice-cold water to drink, and it will keep your food cold. This is great for weekender trips.
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Old 10-02-2005, 02:02 PM   #13
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For 5 yrs. I drove from NC to AZ every 6 mos for my job. I purchased a Manifold cook book 2 men wrote it's terrific. I have tried it and it works great. Actually I stopped and ate the local fair in every state. But I did make Shrimp Scampi on the manifold. Very much fun.
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Old 10-03-2005, 06:49 AM   #14
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I've heard of manifold cooking, but never tried it... I used to road trip a lot with college buddies and this was the list of our staples: 3-4 boxes frosted mini-wheats (to this day I can't go on a road trip without them), a couple pounds of swedish fish, beef jerky, 1-2 boxes saltine crackers, and anything canned from my parents storage that we could get away with (peaches, pears, chili, etc...). Personally I've never really had a hard time packing clothes, I think I'm a minimalist in that area, I'm always a little short-handed rather than found in abundance! I would rather find a laundromat and throw in a load than bring extra!
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Old 11-12-2005, 07:02 PM   #15
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We used to drive to Florida a lot. We always had sandwiches and our favorite snacks. Nuts are great, and pringles are too since they have a lid. I also recommend soda in a plastic bottle, not a can. We pack this for plane rides too, no matter how short or long the distance. It really helps because when I'm hungry, I need to eat ASAP, and not eating meat really limits the options. Plus, this way I don't feel sick after I eat, because I know the food is fresh.
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Old 11-13-2005, 10:54 AM   #16
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I love road trips! I don't drive, but I'm a great passenger, and you can count on me to have what you want/need in my milk crate, tote bag or cooler.
I always make a bag up with prescription meds, tums, pepto bismol, and aspirin. In the milk crate go wet washcoths in a ziplock bag, paper towels, kleenex, snack crackers, squirt cheese, cookies and fruit.
I fill the cooler with bottled water, sodas, beer, a jug of milk, another of iced tea, and sandwiches in small ziplocks, then packed together in a big ziplock.

We allow ourselves one restaurant meal per day, and part of the fun is finding cool places to eat...like "Vince's" in central Illinois, an inconspicous little place that had wonderful gourmet food, including Shrimp Wellington that melted in your mouth...a little truckstop in Knoxville, Tennessee where a plump, rosy cheeked cook made biscuits that floated off your plate..."King Frog" in southern Georgia, where we were served plates piled high with tender, crispy frogs legs...and one of the best, an open-air bar on the beach of Anna Maria Island that served pitchers of beer with plastic bags of ice in them to keep the beer cold, and had fabulous fried grouper sandwiches, fresh shucked oysters and the like.

When it comes to clothing, I do always take too much, but I don't consider doing laundry part of my vacation. One must also take into account the possibility of weather changes. On two of our trips to Florida, we encountered unseasonable cold snaps, and I was really glad I'd included jackets and long pants. I use basically the same method as Claire. I roll up the t-shirts, and put socks or belts inside the shoes. I also make up an "overnight bag" with a change of clothes and necessities for everyone, so we don't have to drag in all the luggage for an overnight stay.
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Old 11-13-2005, 08:07 PM   #17
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We take a portable refrigerator with us on trips. It great for fruit, snacks, pop, water candy. It is also great for restaurant leftovers. You don't need ice because it runs on the car battery or on electric when you get to a hotel. It is great to have a snack at night in the room or finish eating your leftovers. There is only one problem. You have to connect the power cord properly because it can also be used to keep food warm. We once had melted cheese and chocolate and warm fruit because my husband plugged it in wrong.
We save money on food and can also buy produce to take home from our trip.
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Old 02-28-2006, 01:08 AM   #18
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One favorite when I was a kid was Mom would buy huge loaves of "French" bread and make subs. There would be all sorts of stuff on them that we didn't get in our lunch boxes -- exotic cheeses and meats as opposed to bologna and American. Even when we were at theme parks (I was at Disneyland in '59 and Disneyworld in '75, so when I say I don't care much to go to theme parks, you know I've done it all) we would go back out to the station wagon and eat these spectacular sandwiches, accompanied by big thermos jugs of kool-aid. To this day when I'm visiting my parents, the thing we do is go out and get huge loaves of french bread and make hoagies. Yummm yuummm. But the main thing is that they travel so well.
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Old 02-28-2006, 06:21 AM   #19
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WE take 4 outfits and if we need more we stop and do laundry or hit a wally mart.
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Old 03-05-2006, 04:24 AM   #20
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Hate to say it, but I fall back on doing laundry is not a part of vacation ... unless you're lucky enough to have someone to sit in the laundramat besides you.
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