Best Travel Snacks for Families on the Go

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The easiest way to keep children’s hands and mouths busy on road trips or flights is with snacks, snacks and more snacks. Travel snacks keep kids content during the journey and fueled up for fun on the go. Let’s dig in to these snack tips and food suggestions that are as delicious as they are helpful for family travel!

Travel snacks for families

Travel snacks for families (Photo credit: daniel.draghici.gmail.com, Depositphotos.com)

1. Pack snacks in separate, colorful containers.

The key to happy travels with children is bringing a wide variety of snacks in separate, colorful containers. Then dole them out slooooowly. If you hand over all of the travel snacks to your kids at once, they will munch for a bit and soon start whining, “Are we there yet?!” Remember: the longer the snacks last, the longer the silence lasts.

Colorful travel snack containers

Colorful travel snack containers (Photo credit: mrsiraphol)


2. Choose healthy snacks that kids love.

Start with healthy goodies like whole grain crackers and cereals, trail mix, and sliced fresh fruits. Goldfish Crackers are always a big hit with kids. As a gluten-sensitive eater, though, personally I’m partial to Simple Mills Almond Flour Crackers.

Protein bars or drinks and bean-based chips also make good choices to squeeze in some protein and keep blood sugars balanced. For road trips, pack a cooler with items like hard-boiled eggs, cheese sticks, yogurts and baby carrots.

If food allergies aren’t a concern, get cocoa-dusted almonds for a healthy and sweet, low-sugar option for bigger kids. Sahale makes some interesting nut and dried fruit mixes in flavors like Tangerine Vanilla or Pomegranate. Keep in mind that airlines may not allow items containing tree nuts or peanuts on board planes for safety reasons, so pack alternatives to avoid hunger in the air.

healthy snacks for travel

Healthy snacks for travel (Photo credit: AngelaRohde, Depositphotos.com)

3. Avoid messy snacks.

In choosing your travel snacks for kids, stick to items that are easily packed and won’t make a big mess. Yogurt drinks are probably better than yogurt cups, for example. And, although healthy and delicious, veggies with ranch dressing, or fruit with yogurt dip, may not be the easiest snacks for children to manage in the backseat. Instead, sprinkle a tasty seasoning blend over cut vegetables before leaving home. Or, add a dash of cinnamon sugar to fresh fruits for a fun burst of flavor.

Vegetables with spices

Add interest to vegetables with a sprinkle of spices (Photo credit: AntonMatyukha, Depositphotos.com)

4. Choose easy food solutions for babies and toddlers.

Scooping baby food with a spoon from a jar into a wiggling mouth can be difficult on the go. Squeezable fruit and vegetable blends, like those offered by Peter Rabbit Organics and Plum Organics, make easy and yummy feeding solutions for traveling babies and toddlers.


Baby food pouches make travel easier for families

Simplify feeding baby while traveling (Photo credit: belchonock, Depositphotos.com)

5. Pack your own meals for travel days.

After snack-time, make a travel craft or play travel games for awhile before pulling out mealtime items. You might want to pack sandwiches on whole grain bread or wrap, or a pasta salad with lots of fresh veggies. If flying, always bring your own snacks and meals rather than relying on the airline to provide food that may come later than anticipated, or never.

Pack your own snacks instead of relying on airplane food

Pack your own snacks instead of relying food provided by airlines (Photo credit: KucherAndrey, Depositphotos.com)

6. Eat on the road and stop to play.

To save money and time during a family car trip, consider eating meals on the road and then stopping at a park or nature reserve to allow children to run around and play. Plus, kids who have been stuck in a car for hours may not be good at remaining still and using their “inside voices” during a meal in a restaurant.

Children playing during travel

Eat while traveling, stop to play (Photo credit: AllaSerebrina, Depositphotos.com)

7. Bring travel snacks to eat at the destination, too.

Beyond snacks for the journey, you should pack some convenient foods like packaged fruit cups and your kids’ favorite crackers to eat at your destination. This is especially true if traveling with young children to faraway places where the cuisine may be very different from what your family is used to eating. Of course, you want to encourage your children to try new foods and expand their palates, but you don’t want them to go hungry either. A few familiar foods from home can feel comforting to children. Plus, snacks for purchase at theme parks and near tourist sites can be very expensive.

A familiar snack from home can feel comforting to a child

A familiar snack from home can feel comforting to a child (Photo credit: YAYImages, Depositphotos.com)

8. Get kids to buy into eating healthfully.

It’s important to eat healthfully while traveling to stay regular (ahem!) and to ward off illness. Model for your kids by making good meal and snack choices. Sub out fries for fruit in restaurants. Get the brown rice instead of white. Choose flat or sparkling water over soda or wine. (Okay, let’s not get too crazy!)

Seeking out restaurants that serve healthier fare makes encouraging good eating easier. Don’t just demand, “Eat your vegetables!” Talk to your children about why it’s important to eat healthy, focusing on how it will help them feel better and have more energy to play and have fun during their vacation.

You may also want to employ the one bite rule. Everyone, including parents, needs to try at least one bite of a new dish before getting any dessert.

KIds eating healthy while traveling

Encourage healthy eating while traveling (Photo credit: AndrewLozovyi, Depositphotos.com)

9. Allow some forbidden treats.

Reserve some “forbidden” treats to share as you get closer to your destination for bribery purposes. Dole out small, colorful candies like mini M&Ms one at a time for good behavior. With young children, play the “who can be quiet the longest” game with small treats for the winner of each round. Lollipops are a good travel treat for older kids because they take a long time for kids to eat. Ginger candies come with the added bonus of soothing motion sickness.

Seek out exotic treats during your travels as well. What better way to get kids to try new flavors and understand a new culture than by tasting gelato in Italy, trying mochi in Japan, or eating flan in Mexico? Vacations are a time to live in the moment and enjoy life to the fullest, after all!

Colorful mochi dessert in Japan

Colorful mochi dessert in Japan (Photo credit: oilslo, Depositphotos.com)

Save these travel snack tips!

Be sure to save keep this list of the best travel snacks for future reference. Simply pin the image below to Pinterest. I hope you’ll follow Travel Mamas on Pinterest while you’re at it!

Best Travel Snacks for Kids

Best Travel Snacks for Kids

If you liked this story, then I bet you’ll love our tips on how to get children to love fruits and vegetables and this list of the best travel toys for kids of all ages!

What are your family’s favorite travel snacks? Let us know in the comments below!

About Colleen Lanin

Colleen Lanin is the founder/editor-in-chief of TravelMamas.com. As the author of her book, "The Travel Mamas' Guide," she teaches parents not only how to survive a trip with children, but also how to love exploring the world with their offspring. Her stories have appeared online and in print for such outlets as the "Today" show, NBCNews.com, Parenting Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, Chicago Tribune, Expedia, San Diego Family Magazine, and more. Colleen gives tips on television, radio, and as a public speaker. She has a master’s degree in business administration with a background in marketing. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two kids.

Comments
  1. Amy Whitley says

    Placing snacks in smaller, brightly colored containers is a really good tip, and good for portion control for Mom and Dad, too!

  2. We love the Smuckers sandwiches. Can’t get them here so they taste like vacation to us 🙂

  3. These are all great snacks and I love how they are all available on Amazon too 🙂

  4. Thanks for this! These tips are great for families and single travelers as well!!!

  5. These are such great tips! We are always on the go and traveling, so this is perfect!

  6. i still love goldfish and wheat thins and trail mix as an adult. good list of snacks! good for the whole family.

  7. for some reason, fruits and sandwiches are always my go-to snack for on the go.

  8. Matt Taylor says

    Those are all great travel snacks! I remember Lunchables as a kid. I was always jealous when my friends would get them in their lunch and I would have my peanut butter and jelly sandwich. haha.

  9. Ntensibe Edgar Michael says

    Hhhhmmmmm….actually, I don’t have any favourite travel snacks! I simply wing it out till I arrive. Now that I think of it, a bit of carrots would do the job for me.

  10. Emman Damian says

    Wow! These are great ideas for kids who are very picky during travels. Also, make sure that they have healthy ones. Not just junk foods or candies.

    • Colleen Lanin says

      Healthy foods keep everyone feeling good physically & emotionally while traveling. (But we do like a few of those forbidden treats, too!)

  11. Carrie | Clean Eating Kitchen says

    Some great ideas here! It’s so easy to pick up junk snacks, always best to be prepared!

  12. Melanie williams says

    There are some really good tips and ideas here. It is all about choosing easy foods for sure xx

  13. This is an awesome list! I know that we’re on the go every so often and I could use these tips and ideas.

  14. Great list of snack for families on the go! I definitely agree to not have messy snacks!

  15. So many great ideas! I so agree that the key to happy travels with kids is bringing a wide variety of snacks! That´s a lifesaver for us when on the road!

  16. These are some handy ideas and also healthy to eat. Avoiding messy foods is also important when out.

  17. Myrah Duque says

    I totally agree with you. Being prepared for a trip is the secret. Loving these ideas for picky eaters.

  18. Super Busy Mum says

    What a great list! I am forever adding snacks into my bag when I’m heading out with the kids!

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