6 Compact Airplane Snacks for Frequent Fliers
Those who spend a significant amount of time on the road know that being stuck on a plane with no food service after running to make it through security and leaving your house at oh-crap-thirty in the morning does nothing but suck. Being prepared with sustenance without cutting into precious luggage space can be tricky. These six suggestions for compact and easy airborne snacking will satisfy your craving without over-stuffing your carry-on. (See also: Precision Packing Tips for the Frequent Business Traveler)
1. Powdered Drink Mixes
One of the more efficient travel uses for water is the preparation of powdered drink mixes on the plane. You can either mix them in your own reusable water bottle by pouring the drink mix in along with the free water provided by the flight attendants, or mix portions of your drink powder at a time in the smaller drinking cups the airlines make available. Adults might prefer a fitness drink powder such as Propel or a low-calorie lemonade mix packet like Crystal Light. Alternatively, you can add this to your list of tips for frugal family travel by packing drink mixes more suited to young people.
2. Instant Oatmeal Envelopes
There are also numerous savvy ways to use hot water while traveling, including being able to enjoy a hearty serving of oatmeal on the plane. My secret strategy for doing this involves one of my favorite Whole Foods bargains for travelers, the 365 brand boxes of organic instant oatmeal envelopes. Remember, the airlines make hot water available for coffee and tea just like they make cool water available for basic hydration. By mixing your oatmeal packet along with hot water in an insulated coffee cup, you’ve got yourself a healthy bite to take the edge off. You can sip the oatmeal from the cup, use the flatware from the plane, or pack your own if you’re the type of indie traveler who usually packs your own zero-waste lunch kit anyway.
3. Individual Soup Mixes
I pick these up at the grocery store and use them the same way I use the individual oatmeal packets above. Simply pour them into the insulated coffee cup the attendant gives you and add the hot water to make soup instead of tea. There are a number of varieties for you to choose from, but if you’re going to be mixing them up in the coffee cups anyway, why take up the extra luggage room with those soup-in-a-cup products? Simply purchase the ones in the flat envelopes to maximize your carry-on space.
4. Cracker Sandwiches
You can buy individually wrapped cracker sandwiches by the case at Costco or your nearest Sam’s Club. I’ve seen cases go for $8 or less, resulting in a multi-trip supply that’s within most people’s budgets. They may not be the heartiest option, nor the healthiest, but they will take the edge off without costing a great deal of dough.
5. Power Bars
Personally, I’m pretty much a power-bar girl when it comes to being prepared for long flights and missed connection drama. Both my daypack and my main bag have zippered pockets at the top that allow me to easily reach in and grab one when my head starts to pound from hunger. You can pay $2 to $3 a pop for them, or you can make the case for an Amazon membership to your significant other and order them by the case to be delivered to your home. When I’m on the road for a few weeks at a time and run out, I can order replacements on my Kindle Fire and have them delivered in advance to the next hotel I’ll be staying at.
6. Trail Mix
You can certainly bring some from home, but as I covered in a previous article on how to score free travel food, trail mix packages are a great way to use the free meal vouchers that come with delayed flights. Often, the next flight availability is unpredictable, making a trip to the nearest restaurant a no go. Using the shorter time slots to grab snacks for the plane is a savvy way to handle a flight delay and grab some in-flight snacks at the same time.
Do you have some favorite airplane snacks that also help save space?