Packing some food with you on your travels can save you having to buy food en route, plus it can be necessary when exploring more remote areas. A challenge that many travellers experience is keeping food fresh. Below are some tips on how to stop food from going off, whether you’re backpacking or on a road trip.
Put your food in a cooler box
Cooler boxes are boxes that are insulated to stop warm air getting in. This can keep food fresh. You can keep your cooler box cooler for longer by placing ice packs in it.
There are large cooler boxes you can buy that are ideal for taking in a car. There are also smaller and lighter cooler boxes that you can buy to fit in a backpack. You can even buy small cooler containers for single foods like sandwiches or fruit. Consider also looking into insulated water flasks that stay cool.
Invest in a refrigerator
For long road trips, you could even consider investing in a portable refrigerator. These can be charged using your car battery or they can be charged via solar power. Portable refrigerators will keep food fresh longer than a cooler box, providing that they don’t run out of battery.
Buying an RV could allow you to make use of an RV refrigerator. These can run off electricity or gas and can come in all different sizes depending on the design of the RV. An RV refrigerator can be a temperamental appliance - check that it’s working before each trip and know when to look into repairs.
Freeze food before you go
Freezing food is another way to keep it cooler longer. Prepare your food the day before you set off, place it in the freezer and then take it out in the morning.
Just make sure that you get the timing right when you do decide to finally eat it - it may still be semi-frozen if you eat it too early, but if you leave it too late to eat it the food could defrost fully and start to get warm.
Stick to foods that won’t go off
There are many non-perishable food options that you can pack when travelling. These won’t need to be kept cool, allowing you to eat them at any point during the day.
Good examples of non-perishable foods include dried fruits, dried meats, potato chips, crackers, nuts, seeds and snack bars. When it comes to things like milk, consider packing some powdered milk.
Eat perishable food first
It’s worth understanding the rate at which food perishes. While all fruit will go off if not refrigerated, some fruits will perish faster than others. Typically berries do not last long unrefrigerated, whereas an apple or an orange will last the whole day before it gets too hot.
Foods that do not last long at all include yoghurts, hummus, fish and eggs. If you want to pack these, plan to eat them in the first few hours. Avoid foods like chocolate that will melt, unless you’re exploring somewhere relatively cold.
*Post contributed by Ross Matson, a food and travel writer based in the U.K.*