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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    eastern North Carolina

    Default Food on the Road...Stop by a Grocery Store

    Another tip that we've learned is that it's smart to stop by a grocery store on your travels rather than grabbing fast food or going out to eat. This isn't just for when you're camping or staying in a hotel and able to cook, either.

    The deli section at your average grocery store is a great choice for affordable (and often healthier) food. The subs are usually much cheaper than Subway and are good. Pre-made salads and such often come with the dressing and a fork included. 8-piece fried chickens are usually much cheaper than KFC and the like. Wraps, popcorn chicken, etc. are often available, too. Plus -- my favorite -- is the fresh-cut fruit. It's obviously not as cheap as buying the fruit yourself and cutting it up, but it's still a healthy choice.

    Plus, while you're there, you can stock up on other things for the road. Buying chips, granola bars, snack cakes and other snacks at the grocery store is much cheaper than grabbing them at a convenience store.

    It does take a little longer than running through a drive-through or stopping at a convenience store, but it doesn't take that much longer. It is a good way to stretch your legs, at least, and you can save a LOT throughout the course of an average road trip if you make your question, "Where's the nearest grocery store?" vs. "Where's the nearest McDonald's?" You might not pack on as many pounds, either. :)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Other benefits.

    Quote Originally Posted by lmking1224 View Post
    It does take a little longer than running through a drive-through or stopping at a convenience store, but it doesn't take that much longer. It is a good way to stretch your legs, at least, and you can save a LOT throughout the course of an average road trip . .....
    As well, you have the opportunity to meet many more locals, have an opportunity to engage with them, and who knows what local gems they will reveal to you.

    Using grocery stores, I have been able to keep my food cost per day to $15 - leaving a little in my budget to splurge occasionally. But the benefits of meeting the locals is the main benefit.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Certainly, grocery stores are a great place to save money on the road. If you spend any time looking around this forum, stocking a cooler with groceries is often the first thing mentioned when talking about easy ways to save some cash, and be a bit healthier while on the road.

    But when it comes to saving money, I would urge some caution when it comes to many of the ready-to-eat items you'll find, especially around the deli. Yes, there are some deals - fried or rotisserie chickens can be fantastic values - however, many of the other pre-cooked items in the deli have some of the highest markups in the entire store. Frankly, many of the items you'll find in the "hot case" for example, can be just as expensive or even more expensive than restaurants. The pre-made sandwiches are one of the things I specifically avoid, as the freshness is typically questionable, and if you look closely, they end up costing more than what you'd pay at a Subway/Jimmy Johns/etc type chain. Buying cold-cuts and bread and assembling the sandwich yourself, on the other hand is a great way to save some money.

    Similarly, pre-cut fruit certainly can make things easy, and having fresh fruit on the road can be nice, however, you're really end up paying for it. Typically pre-cut fruit has about a 500% markup over what you'd pay by buying the same items uncut.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Another way to save using grocery stores is if you travel with an electric fry pan or griddle, some utensils, and a few dishes. We travel in a pickup with a camper shell (just a shell) so we have the space for a plastic tub with "dinner supplies". At the grocery store, we can pick up things to make our own meals, and then cook them at the motel ourselves. You do have to include carrying some paper towels and a little dish soap, and some way of cleaning your dishes, though.

    Among meals we have enjoyed -- fresh hamburgers, hot dogs (I know, not the healthiest, but definitely fast and cheap), salads (buy the bags of torn lettuce that come with carrots and cabbage added), fry pan "casseroles" (i.e. Hamburger or Chicken Helper; don't read the ingredients).

    I will add one more thing to this idea: some motels are adamant that you not cook in the room. It is something that they can and probably should control, for the sake of the people who rent the room next. If you break that request, many times they have the right to charge your credit card (if you reserved or paid by CC) for the cost of cleaning the room. So - don't cook in the room if they don't want you to do so.

    Yet other motels are not so picky. Some even go so far as to provide some BBQ grills for you to use outside, or the motel room's microwave oven is one of the larger varieties with more settings than just beverages.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    eastern North Carolina


    You're is probably the most expensive part of the grocery store...but I've found that it's cheaper than eating out, and usually healthier.

    Making your own sandwiches on the road is a better choice, but my husband is 100% against making food or cooking food on the road. He's such a picky brat sometimes. If it were up to him, we'd alternate between fast food and expensive steakhouses the whole time. This is kind of our compromise.

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