Survival food: what to pack with you on trips

Survival food: what to pack with you on trips

It is nearing the second weekend in August, which means one thing in the R and B household: Braun Brothers Reunion. BBR is a music festival/camping extravaganza with great music and not so great food. I mean, there’s only so many hamburgers you can eat from the 4-H girls before you start seeing red. So, instead, we pack some snicky-snacks to help tide us over so we can minimize the burger consumption. As I was preparing for this year’s BBR, I realized that most of my choices make my travel survival food packing list as well. Below is a list of food options that can make all the difference when you just can’t eat another burger in Idaho, another bowl of nasi goreng in Indonesia, or another slice of pizza in Italy. Actually, scratch that last one. There is never a point where I get tired of pizza in Italy. Anyway….

Travel Survival Food: Protein

Beef Jerky

This is an easy way to get some solid protein. It’s easy to pack and you don’t have to worry about it spoiling. I just found these little gems at Costco; they are nice and little so I can finish the bag in a sitting.

Beef: it’s not just for dinner

Tuna Fish

This one might sound a little weird, but these little packets are compact and you just have to tear the corner to open it–no can opener required. I’ll eat this right out of the pack on some crackers.

Tuna packets and triscuits are great travel snacks
Tuna. Instant meal.

Nuts/Trail Mix

Nuts are a tasty way to add a little protein to your day. And if they also happen to have M&M’s mixed in, then that’s just a bonus. There was one really low point in Yogyakarta, Java, when we had had a long day of temple visiting and were waiting for a city bus that felt like it would never come. B rifled through her pack and pulled out a little baggy of salted peanuts that saved us from wasting away to nothing. We were sweaty, dirty and tired, and a bag of peanuts have never tasted so good.  

Travel Survival Food:: protein in energy bars and trail mix
Sweet or salt and packed with protein.

Protein Bars

I’ll be honest, I really don’t like protein/energy bars. The first bite tastes okay, the second one starts to taste like metal and by the fourth or fifth bite, I’m over it and can’t finish. But there are a few I can make it through; I think CLIF bars and LUNA bars are decent. You just have to make sure if you get one with chocolate it doesn’t melt in your pack in the Moroccan heat. During a trip to Europe, one of our group packed an entire case of energy bars with her. One of the recurring sounds of that trip was crinkle of the plastic bag being torn open.

Travel Survival Food: Fruits/Veggies

It can be difficult to pack fruits and veggies with you that will last you through an entire trip, but you can pack the little fruit packets shown below. Sure, they won’t have the same nutritional value as real fruit, but it’s better than nothing, right? B will probably brings some cans of V8 with her this weekend because ketchup and pickles don’t really count as your daily vegetable intake. I will not, because I think V8 is gross.

Another good option is dried fruit or even fruit leather. We prefer to make our own but you can easily find options in any grocery store. B has also tried drying vegetables with moderate success.

Travel Survival Food: fruit puree
Baby food for adults. Yum!

Travel Survival Food: Treats

You always need a little sweetness on your trips, no matter how short the trip is. My go to are Sour Patch Kids and I’ve yet to be on a trip with B when she didn’t have Swedish Fish. In Bali we found some chocolate covered peanuts in a hard plastic container called Cha-Chas. The candy is long gone, but we both like to refill them with M&Ms when we head out now. There was a funny night in Iceland when B groggily woke up at three in the morning to me rattling my Cha-Cha container as I munched away while trying to adjust to the new time zone.

ChaChas candy container
This can of cha-chas has seen more countries than most Americans.

Travel Survival Food: Local delicacies

We talked before about how much we enjoy visiting grocery stores while we travel and we usually make those one of our first stops. You can pick up all sorts of tasty treats and carry them with you throughout the rest of the trip. If it turns out to be gross, no worries, you can just grab something new. I saw some Oreos once that were green and thought they would be deliciousy minty. Instead they were a really unpleasant green tea flavor. More successfully, S and B sampled Seaweed and Shrimp flavored Pringles that they both very much enjoyed. One of the things I look most forward to when I visit tropical countries is the delicious selection of fruit. I remember as a Panamanian women laughed as I attempted to cut open a mango. Out of pity she took it and the knife from me and showed me how to do it, and boy howdy did that thing taste great!


Nobody likes to be hangry, much less be around someone who is. Since travel and trips can be unpredictable and you never really know when your next meal is going to come, it is always wise to carry some food with you. Bon appetit!


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