To many, the holidays symbolize friendship, family and fellowship. It’s also an excuse to eat – a lot. Whether you’re nibbling on grandma’s cookies or swallowing the last bite of ham from your dinner plate, it’s likely your family gathering will involve food.

So, what happens if you’re one of the 44.4 million Americans expected to travel this holiday? Well, if you’re traveling by car, you will want to be sure and plan accordingly. Not all food will travel well, so prepare certain food in advance that you know can handle the long ride. We’ve gathered a few ideas for your reference:


Certain dessert foods, like cookies, pie and cheesecake, can survive long distances in the car. As with any food preparation, be sure to store your dessert in a safe, cool location. A cooler works well. Other dessert foods, like peppermint bark or caramelized popcorn for example, do not require any additional preparation.


Fruit is another food that travels well. Apples, cantaloupe, pineapple and grapes are both healthy and travel-friendly. Additionally, fruit can either serve as a snack or as a side dish for your holiday gathering, as in a fruit salad, for example. Pro Tip: Freeze the grapes in advance for a delicious roadside snack.

Mashed Potatoes

A traditional side dish for almost every holiday dinner party, mashed potatoes also make an excellent food for road trips. However, just be sure your mashed potatoes don’t have bacon in them, as meat should not be left to stand in room temperature. (Pro Tip: Unless you have a thermal casing, you will likely have to re-heat the mashed potatoes upon arrival.)

Nuts and Berries

Not only do nuts and berries make an excellent host gift, but they also serve as the perfect road-trip snack. To ensure you don’t eat the gift intended for your host family, bring an extra can of nuts for the road. Nuts and berries are also great pre-dinner snacks, especially when paired with wine.

Wine, Champagne and Sparkling Grape Juice

In most American households, it’s traditional to deliver a bottle of wine to the hosts of the dinner party. As an alternative, champagne and sparkling grape juice work well, too. Travel cases are available to ensure your bottles don’t break en-route, and many cases serve dual purposes, as they can also make an extra special gift for your host family.

With a bit of advanced planning, any holiday food can travel well. What’s your favorite food over the holidays? Share your ideas with us in the comments below!