Road trip hack: the ultra-quick pit stop picnic

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I was pretty excited to get an invitation to Webster City, Iowa to explore a part of the world I’ve never been to. Sure it may not be the Maldives or a jaunt through Europe, but it’s new to me. That totally counts as an adventure!

The one problem, though? Webster City is over seven hours by car from Indianapolis. It’s in the realm of too-far-to-drive but not quite. In the end, I decided to make a real adventure of it and drive across the Midwest for my big trip.

Unlike my normal packing regime (ie. taking a 3-month trip with a 20L backpack), a road trip means I can stuff everything I might need in the trunk. I might be thankful as I go to pull it out the trunk at the right time. Or, I may curse myself as I drag the useless baggage back up the stairs to my third-story apartment.

Road trip packing

Still, I do try to edit myself โ€“ there’s that whole pesky trying-for minimalism thing I have going on.

But no matter how much or how little I pack for a road trip, one thing always stays the same. My ultra-quick pit stop picnic set-up. A pit stop picnic is just a collection of items that makes it possible to eat, snack and go. When you’re driving a long way, the last thing you want to do is spend a lot of time finding food and wasting time off the road.

The most important park of the ultra-quick pit stop picnic? Snacks!

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Pit stop picnic park

Do I have you convinced you need a perfect game plan to optimize your road trip, make good time, and get to your final destination happy and full of snacks? Great, so let’s talk about the ultra-quick pit stop picnic!


What you need for an ultra-quick pit stop picnic

  • a blanket or large scarf to sit on
  • 2-3 Mason jars for drinks
  • reusable cutlery
  • bag or basket for transporting food
  • plastic bag for trash
  • wet wipes for easy clean-up

That’s all you need! Easy, right? Whether you’re an over-packer or a determined minimalist, your fool-proof break kit won’t take up much room or waste precious driving time. After all, road trips are about the journey – but the destination is kind of important too!

Get the ultra-quick pit stop picnic check-list by clicking the image. Need even more road trip ideas and games? Try this! You can find them online or in your local Walmart aisle along with a coupon booklet for RITZ Cracker Sandwiches, BELVITA Sandwich Breakfast Biscuits (yum!), SWEDISH FISH Soft & Chewy Candy 1.9 lb. bags & TRIDENT Unwrapped Gum

Walmart picture

Along the seven hour drive (ugh), I stopped just a few times. One time was for my ultra-quick pit stop picnic. I pulled off the highway and found a beautiful, scenic stretch of land to stop on and have a break.

I pulled out my blanket, my basket of snacks, and enjoyed a quick leg-stretch snack from the trunk. Because I see road trips as an extension of my vacation, my snacks tend to be the fun stuff I don’t always grab at the store.

Road trip snack

Road trip picnic snacks

Road trip snacks

For this trip I chose a mix of snacks that were easy to snack on during those quick breaks. For larger bites I favor the BELVITA Peanut Butter Sandwich Breakfast Biscuits and Single Serve OREO Cookies. If you’re craving a handful of something, HONEY MAID Dippers Honey Graham Snacks and the traditional HONEY MAID TEDDY GRAHAMS Graham Snacks.โ€‹ You can grab a whole bunch of delicious snack options for your trip here.

After a fifteen minute break from driving, I was back on the road. Thanks to the ultra-quick pit stop picnic, I made it to Webster City in record time. I was lucky enough to enjoy the beauty of a Midwestern sunrise!

After the sunrise, I picked up an extra-strong coffee from the local coffee shop called Mornin Glory. Caffeine is a necessity after a seven-hour drive.

Finally, I was ready to stretch my legs and see what the quaint Midwestern town had to offer. The rest of the trip? Well that’s a story for another post!

What are your must-pack items for a road trip?

  • The long drive between places on the East Coast definitely stops me from planning trips to visit them, but I really should make the road trip a part of it all! I love the blanket you have, by the way.

    • Thanks, Emily! I actually have a new appreciation for the East Coast after driving through the Midwest – so many places where there are just NO exits or anything aside from farmland!

      (Blanket from TJ Maxx – some company that sources hand-woven blankets from India!)

  • I love road trip and love the idea of a pit stop picnic! (client)

  • I’m working in Kazan which is an 8 hour bus ride from Ufa. Luckily, they paid for my plane ticket so I didn’t have to worry about packing road trip snacks. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Jasilyn recently posted…The Abandoned Town of NovoaleksandrovkaMy Profile

    • Oh man! Bus rides are way more of a struggle! At least in your own car you make your own fun~

  • That’s cool! We recently did a road trip and definitely tried to have snacks on the go and such. Though in Scotland the weather doesn’t always allow for ‘outdoor’ picnics haha so inside the car it is ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Ray

    7 hours might be a long commute for driving, but I can only imagine what flight would cost to get there from Indianapolis. At least with longer road trips, you can see more interesting attractions/cities along the way.
    Ray recently posted…Coaches Tavern โ€“ Eating the Famous Indiana Pork TenderloinMy Profile