Spring starts today, in date if not in appearance, and with it comes daydreams and planning for sunny road trips. Easter weekend and the May long weekend will be here before you know it.
We’re on the road a lot, so we’re always looking for ways to plan and pack more efficiently. We’re also careful about where we spend money on the road, opting to save our pennies for the experiences that matter most to us. Small changes like proper packing and snacking make it easier for us to travel more, more often.
So when Sunnyside Mall asked us to help get locals ready for spring by sharing our favourite finds from their lineup of local vendors this month, our mind went to packing and snacking. We rounded up five of our favourite portable Sunnyside Mall finds and five of our favourite make and take snacks and meals below.
1. Fun Tea Infusers from World Tea House: $10
We always take our own coffee and tea on the road with us. A one-time purchase of a bodum (for coffee), travel mugs, and re-usable tea filters have saved us time and money on the road. So I fell in love with these adorable little tea steepers at World Tea House. These fun little guys would make a great, re-usable way to enjoy great tea on the go for your next road trip.
2. Organic Honey Sticks: $2.50
I like honey in my tea, and while I could pack a bottle for the road, transporting honey can get sticky fast. The honey sticks at World Tea house are portable and nearly package free. They’re made with organic honey and are just inserted directly into your drink – the heat from the tea melts the honey into your cup.
3. Loose Leaf Tea from World Tea House:
Not to get stuck on a tea kick, but you’re going to need something to put in your steeper. There are a few flavours at World Tea House that have me dreaming of spring days. My pick for my next road trip is White Guava Ginger, which literally makes my mouth water just smelling it. I also love the oh-so-tropical Kauki Cocktail and their Blueberry Pomegranate blend. Buy these in their re-usable tins, which make for easy and waste-free packing.
4. Roll-and-Go Sun Hat – Limoncello Lifestyle: $29.99
Hats are such an annoying but essential thing to pack. I’ve ruined many a hat (my own and others) from throwing them into a suitcase or car and subsequently crushing them with other items. So I’m loving this roll-and-go hat from locally owned shop Limoncello Lifestyle. I like the wider brim and bright colours, plus these literally roll up, helping them keep their shape and making them easy to pack.
5. Undercover Bear Pillow and Blanket – Limoncello Lifestyle: $29.99
These cute, portable, blanket/pillow sets are made by LUG and available at locally owned shop Limoncello Lifestyle. They were one of the first things that caught my eye when I walked in. I love the bright colours, and how soft and portable they are. I haven’t bought LUG products in the past, though my mom loves them because they’re portable and durable. Limoncello also carries an adult version of this if you are shopping for yourself and not for kids, though I love fun colours and shapes for myself on the road and these guys are way cooler than Drew’s neck pillow that I constantly steal on the road.
5 Easy, Portable Road Trip Snacks:
1. DIY Flavoured Popcorn:
Popcorn is our go-to road trip snack. It’s easy to make and pack, easy to mix together new flavours, easy to grab and eat on the road, and is a satisfying and slightly healthier alternative to chips (a road trip favourite for many of us). We make our popcorn on the stove with a little oil and popcorn kernels, then get creative with the spices and condiments we have on-hand. Our current favourite is sriracha butter (made by melting a little butter then adding enough sriracha to turn the butter red before pouring it onto the popped popcorn and shaking well).
Learn to make homemade microwave popcorn and two seasonings made with ingredients you probably have in your cupboard right now below:
2. Wrap kit:
Experiencing a new place is definitely enhanced by trying locally produced food, drinks, and restaurants, but eating out for every meal gets expensive fast. We make and take wrap kits for easy, healthy eating on the road. Being prepared means we can make the decision to eat out based on desire and not need, and we also don’t find ourselves choosing a drive-through for cheap eats.
Our kits are also easy to re-stock with a few farmers market finds as we go – local veggies, local cheeses, unique spreads and local ready-to-add meats are a much more affordable way to get a taste of the local food scene and customize road meals.
Our base kit includes:
Wraps (we make our own using a recipe found HERE)
Local cheddar from Foxhill Farm
Chopped tomato and cucumber (local when in season)
Hummus (we make a BIG batch of our own using a recipe found HERE)
Sub out wraps for Pete’s poppers if you like a little crunch or want to skip the gluten. Pete’s also makes a range of delicious dips and hummus if you’d prefer to buy your spread. They’re easy to pack and fill with the ingredients above. Re-stock with fun local cheeses, veggies, dips and condiments you find as you travel.
3. DIY granola bars:
Learning a basic no-bake granola recipe, and keeping a few basic ingredients on-hand can be a quick way to mix up tasty, healthy treats that store well on the road. We like Oh She Glows No-Bake Almond Joy bars. If you don’t have allergies or special diet needs, feel free to mix things up using what you already have on-hand. We switched out almond butter for peanut butter, the brown rice syrup for honey, and vegan chocolate chips for regular chocolate chips and the results were delicious.
4. Lemonade Concentrate:
Making a homemade concentrate makes it easy to add a splash of taste to your water wherever you’re at. A basic lemonade concentrate is easy to make, and lets you choose if you’d like to go for basic sugar, or use honey, raw sugar, a bottle of lemon juice, organic lemons… you get the point.
Lemonade concentrate is really easy to make but totally based on taste. Generally, equal parts lemon juice, sugar, and water heated slowly on the stove until the sugar has dissolved into the mix will do it, but we use a little less sugar (1/2 – 3/4 cup) with 1 cup water and 1 cup lemon juice. Store the concentrate in a glass mason jar or other jar with a lid. We also love this idea of adding a single drop of lavender essential oil into the mix which not only gives it a whole new taste, but helps keep nerves calm on the road. When you’re ready to add some to your water, one part concentrate to four parts water is a good place to start, then adjust to taste.
5. Homemade Beef Jerky:
This is such a great treat for the road! Find a marinade you love, pick up some fresh local meat, and get to work. The jerky will keep 4-6 months, but we’ve never been able to keep our fingers off it that long to test that timeframe.
Get the recipe HERE.
What are your favourite portable things that make packing easier? What is your favourite road trip snack? I’d love to hear your picks in the comments below, or tweet me @GillianWesleyNS to share!
This post was created for Sunnyside Mall’s eNewsletter and will be appearing both here on The Local Traveler and on Sunnyside Mall’s blog. We were invited to visit Sunnyside and share some of our favourite finds and are being compensated for our time.