Primal Road Trip: Tips and Tricks for Staying Healthy While Traveling

Road TripThis is a guest post from Steve Kamb of


Are there two greater words in the English language?

Well, yeah probably. I mean, “free money,” “Royal Rumble,” and “grassfed steak,” just off the top of my head. But work with me here!

Anyways, everybody loves a good road trip – piling your friends into a car, picking a far-off destination, rolling down the windows, and singing Katy Perry at the top of your lungs (no on the Katy Perry? Okay cool, yeah me neither).

Whatever reason you have for putting rubber to the road, it’s important to not fall into the dreaded road trip trap that would make Grok weep: a backseat full of empty Red Bull cans and Funyun bags, enough candy wrappers to make Willy Wonka legitimately concerned, and the flexibility of a steel girder.

Let’s learn how to turn your road trip into a Primal adventure that would make Fred Flinstone proud.

Plan Ahead

Before going on a long road trip, you probably have a list of things to do:

  • Clean out the car
  • Get gas
  • Plan the route
  • Pick places to stop and places to stay
  • Load up the road trip playlist on your iPod
  • Make sure somebody feeds Spike, your pet cat/dog/tarantula

But everybody forgets the “plan out my Primal meals” part!

Which is why you end up stopping at Taco Bell at 10:00 pm as it’s the only place open, which results in you spending the next day in cruise control, curled up in a ball, feeling like there’s a brick in your stomach, driving 800 miles across Texas.

(Yes, that happened to me on my cross-country trip six years ago. Good times!)

Anywho, if you’re going to road trip, it means understanding ahead of time how long your trip is and what your current fitness goals are (weight loss? mass gain? maintenance?). Once you’ve got these things planned out, you can prepare ahead of time.

Here’s a sample list of Primal foods you can bring with you, with more Primal snacks here:

  1. Fruit – A bag of apples? Pears? Bananas? Whatever floats your boat!
  2. Beef Jerky – Not that processed junk you find at a gas station, but legitimate jerky! If you’re resourceful, you can even make your own.
  3. Protein powder – Pick up some Primal Fuel or protein powder, get a mixing container and you will always have a meal. One scoop, fill up with water, shake, and chug.
  4. Almonds – I never travel without a bag of almonds these days, as they’re delicious, nutritious, and filling. They are higher in calories than normal snacks and high in omega-6s, so aim for small servings. Almond butter is a great option too – a small amount spread across some apple slices might be the best snack ever invented.
  5. Baby carrots and other veggies – Vegetables are fantastic because they’re loaded with nutrients and incredibly low on calories. They fill you up the right way.
  6. Water – Apparently this stuff is pretty important.

If you have a mini cooler, you can toss it behind your seat or in the passenger seat and use that to keep your food cold and fresh.

Know Your Restaurants

At this point I’ll assume that you won’t just be eating snacks for the entirety of your trip…You’ll also be swinging through establishments of consumption called “restaurants.”

Here’s the first rule of healthy road-tripping: If you’re getting food from a drive-through window, it’s probably not good for you. Instead, identify a few choice restaurants that you already know have healthy options, and plan your stops around those.

The best method I’ve found for healthy road tripping is using an app called iExit (for iPhone or Android), which shows you how far away you are from your favorite restaurants. Once you know which restaurants offer your favorite Primal meal (like Chipotle or In-N-Out), you simply check a box and they tell you when they show up. It’s also a great app for finding gas stations, clean bathrooms, places to stay, and more. Well worth the $2.99 (though it’s currently on sale for 99 cents).

No smartphone? Do the best you can with what you’ve got. Aim for restaurants that allow you to maintain your style of eating.

Super late night driver? Try a Walmart! It’s usually safe, open 24-hours, and often has a food section that allows you to grab a rotisserie chicken and salad. On top of that, Walmarts are generally very close to the highway and a much safer stop if you’re road tripping solo than a gas station or truck stop.

Have time to swing a bit farther off the highway? Look into a Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, or other grocery stores. If it’s open, try out the hot food section, grab one of their Primal-approved meals, and enjoy!

What if your ONLY option is a crappy restaurant? Do the best you can. Generally the grilled chicken options tend to be the least awful and processed. On top of that, most fast food places are starting to offer salads, fruit, and other healthy options. The toughest part will be smelling all of the amazingly disgusting unhealthy foods inside the restaurant. Instead, go through the drive-through, pick the healthy options, and move on!

Utilize Your Stops Effectively

There’s nothing worse than that stiff feeling in your legs, hips, and lower back after ten hours of driving. You walk around like a Lego character with no mobility for the rest of the day…not cool. Let’s try to avoid that.

I understand the importance of wanting to get wherever you’re headed as quickly and efficiently as possible. I know that sense of accomplishment you get from completing a trip in seven and a half hours when Google told you it would take eight. Swallow your pride, my dear friend, and spend a few minutes here and there taking care of yourself – your body will thank you.

Just because you’re on a road trip doesn’t mean you get to neglect your personal well-being by skipping out on your workouts. Remember that ANYTHING is better than nothing.

Fortunately, you’re versatile (right?), which means you can work out anytime, anywhere.

Road Warrior Workouts

Get your workouts done in the morning before you begin your drive. Yeah, you can do it at night once you get to your destination, but I find that an early morning workout outdoors or in your hotel room is much easier to complete than one after fourteen hours of driving.

Try one of these workouts:

In addition to that, you can also get back to nature by building a hike into your schedule. If you’re on a road trip through a particularly pretty part of the country, why not time your rest stop to coincide with a great hike? Here’s a huge searchable database of trails around the country.

Pressed for time? Try these five minute workout/stretch sessions every few hours to stay alert, limber, and strong.

The Gas Station Workout

While your gas is pumping, you can get your blood pumping too (see what I did there?).

Yes, I’m dead serious!

Who cares if everybody around the gas station thinks you’re a weirdo? You look good naked and they don’t. Follow up your workout with an ice cold protein shake and build some muscle.

Here’s the Gas Station Workout:

  • Jumping jacks or jump rope – one minute
  • Walking lunges – one minute
  • Push ups – one minute
  • Body weight squats – one minute
  • Plank – one minute

The Rest Stop Yoga Routine

Spend just five minutes doing this routine every two hours and you won’t feel like a miserable human by the end of the day. Who cares if you’re not very bendy yet! Get started now and you’ll be surprised how much progress you can make in just a few weeks.

Here’s your Rest Stop Yoga Routine, holding each for 5-6 deep breaths (learn about the different movements here):

  • Stretch and reach for the sky with your hands WAY above your head.
  • Downward dog
  • Lunge into Warrior
  • Repeat with other leg
  • Downward dog
  • Lunge into Triangle
  • Repeat with other leg
  • Chaturanga (push up position)
  • Downward dog

Alternate the Gas Station Workout and the Rest Stop Yoga Routine every one to two hours (neither of which should take more than five minutes) and combine it with healthy eating, and you are going to DOMINATE your road trip.

Other Primal Tips and Tricks

Put an emphasis on sleep and rest! Stop for your meals so you’re not always eating off your lap while driving, and switch out driving when you’re too tired. You’ll be far healthier and most importantly, a lot safer on the road.

Caffeine – Bring your own green tea bags, and stop for hot water at gas stations. If you’re going to need heavy doses of caffeine, go with black coffee…but really put that focus on only driving when fully rested and completely alert.

Practice your posture – We all have a tendency to slouch when driving, and it gets worse and worse as the hours go on. Adjust your rearview mirror once you’re sitting properly (head up, shoulders back), so you can quickly tell once you start to slouch – the mirror will no longer be aligned with the back window.

Books on tape – If you’re on a long road trip, why not exercise your brain too? Snag a book or two on tape, or some of your favorite podcasts to pass the time. Unless you want to hear “Somebody That I Used to Know” 75 times in a row on the radio. Your call.

Roadside produce – Depending on which part of the country you’re in, you might be able to find some roadside stands selling fresh produce. Snag a great deal, support the local economy, and score fresh food? Everybody wins!

Avoid “healthy” foods and drinks – Just because those Naked Juices are six dollars and claim to be healthy doesn’t mean they’re good for you. In fact, they’re terrible for you. Yeah, they might have some nutrients, but any of the good stuff is negated by the ridiculous amount of sugar. For example, the “Green Machine Superfood Smoothie – no sugar added” has 50 GRAMS OF SUGAR in one bottle, more than a can of Coke. Read those labels!

Skip the continental breakfast at the hotels – Just because it’s free doesn’t mean you need to eat it. Grab some of their fruit and maybe the eggs and bacon if they don’t look awful. Avoid the mountains of cereal, muffins, bagels, toast, and every other carb-heavy option.

Drive On, Grok On

Armed with this knowledge, you are now able to become a true Primal Road Warrior.

I wish you the best of luck – drive safe, be happy, live well.

What other tips do you have for your fellow road trippers?

What are your favorite snacks or resources?

Let’s hear it!

Flickr Photo (CC)

When he’s not doing pull ups on tree branches and exercising around the world, @SteveKamb helps nerds, desk jockeys, and average Joes level up their lives at

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144 thoughts on “Primal Road Trip: Tips and Tricks for Staying Healthy While Traveling”

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  1. Lucky enough to drive down Lake Michigan last weekend, so it was pretty much IF a few brief swims (not as cold as I would like it!). I realized that being fat-adapted meant a 6-hour drive with coffee, water, and great tunes is no hardship without food! But the steak when I got home was a revelation…

    The posture thing is huge–I used to suffer, but a few mindfulness adjustments, keeping elongated, makes a big difference. Of course, I lost most my back pain when I went Primal, but good posture + primal living = less pain, more fun.

    1. Totally agree! working on posture while driving can be huge. KStar does a nice job of explaining some of this. He says that if you pull your shoulder blades together, by externally rotating your hands, and then flipping your hand over onto the steering wheel, you will be in a solid driving position!

  2. I travel for work in the region relatively often – so there’s a lot of highway miles. Outside of packing a cooler (which I’ve done a few times)meals from Grocery stores tend to be one of my best options.

    Some of my favorites are smoked salmon over spinach and avocado, or a selection of freshly cut premium deli meats (read the ingredients!)

    Almonds or other tree nuts are a good Convenience store snack, but watch the quantities! It’s easy to get way too many.

  3. Just plan your trip around Chipotle. Get the chopped salid with barbacoa, grilled peppers and onions, pico and guac.

      1. According to their website, the carnitas does not contain soy oil, others do. (The carnitas is the only meat that doesn’t go right through me- coincidence? doubt it.)

      1. Me three! I often ask for more of the fajita veggies (bells and onions) and a bit extra guacamole. Sometimes it feeds me AND my wife. Not a bad lunch for $7.50-$8 for two!!…water with lemon.

      2. NO NO NO 🙂 Panera restaurants, yes, PANERA BREAD. They’ve got a chicken cobb salad that’s got bacon and avocados…or you can do their steak salad and add avocados on the side. Panera is my go to place for healthy meals…of course i stay away from the bread and stuff.

        1. I used to work at panera. The chicken comes pre-sliced and pre-cooked in plastic bags. No idea how they prepare it, and the dressings are full of bad oils and sugar. I wouldn’t suggest them, personally.

        2. Panera bread is not a terrible option but I would not call it the best.

          Moe’s and Chipotle seem to be the best 2 options. Moe’s promotes their 100% grass-fed beef. They make cook with soybean oil but consuming soybean oil once per month is NOT going to harm your health. It truly is not a worry unless you are eating it all the damn time.

          Evolution Burger is another great option as well as In N Out but these places arent available nationwide yet.

          And Primal _____ will be the best option when it opens within a decade!

        3. I recently discovered Hero Burger, which has a bunch of restaurants in the Toronto area. Solid, non-chemical-y beef, gluten free buns (if that’s your thing, I just skip it altogether), and sweet potato fries.

          Likely anything not made at home is truly “healthy,” but I was pleasantly surprised to find them.

    1. Both Chipotle and Moe’s are great for that. I like Moe’s better, especially since they have the salsa bar — I load my salad with salsa!

      If there’s a Moe’s in sight, my husband and I make a detour, no questions asked.

  4. HAHA I love the gas station workout. I always feel like I should be doing push ups while getting gas. Just getting down from the car and walking to the gas station restroom doesn’t give me enough stretch!

    And love the suggestion about doing yoga at the gas station!! My to-go yoga stretch would be 5 Surya namaska A and 3 Surya namaska B. 😉

    1. And I do as well. I’ve had thoughts in the past about doing some push-ups or something while at the gas station but have yet to do it.

      Ah those stupid fears.

      Next time I’m doing this exact workout. Steve is right, if you look good naked and the rest don’t then you certainly have no excuse!

      Even if you aren’t there yet… do it!

      1. No gas station required. I just finished this workout. It’s lunch time on the east coast? What are you waiting for?

        1. haha you are funny. I have a long road trip coming this weekend til next weekend. I will bring my jump rope and bust this workout out along the way. No gas station required!

      2. I did pushups at the rest area on the way to see the in-laws. I REGRET NOTHING.

        1. On one of my road trips, I tried to do 25 burpees at each rest stop. Yeah, got some funny looks. But it beats caffeine any day!

      3. I did a mini-workout yesterday at the amusement park while my hubby took the kids on the rides.. at age 41 I rock my bikini so I couldn’t care less if people stare! We brought a purely Primal lunch too and it was awesome. The SAD overweight people who stare can keep their corn dogs, nachos and 64-ounce sodas…

        1. Last summer I watched a well toned gal do exercises during a museum tour. She raised one foot back to engage her hamstrings and glutes as long as possible.

    2. When I did jumping jacks (as many as could do, which at the time was 70-100) at each rest stop, I felt so much better on a very long drive.

  5. Great post, thanks Steve and great posts on NF! Good to have other portable primal food ideas, tins of sardines feels like a good shoot too as the whole fish, but somewhat antisocial.

    Gas station workout… might as well have fun with these since you’ll be driving off into the sunset and unlikely you’ll ever see those people again!

    1. You thought so? I found this post very unimaginative, actually. Bringing fruits nuts is like “Duh” and neither is really an ideal food since both in excess can cause problems. How about hemp seed? They destroy almonds when it comes to nutrition, especially considering that they don’t have the anti-nutrients almonds have. Plus they require no soaking or other annoying preparation to eat. I just wrote a post on these on my blog. I’m in Japan and don’t know if they’re easy to find in the States, though… Another awesome way to get fat on the go is to combine shredded coconut with raisins and a little sea salt. Tastes like a cinnamon roll! 😀

      1. Yes info like bringing fruits and nuts seems like a “well duh” idea. Remember that not everyone who has been living the primal lifestyle has been doing it for very long and needs this kind of info. Everyone I have turned onto this diet has questions and needs to adapt to new situations. So while I didn’t find this post packed with options I wouldn’t already think of I think that those who haven’t been primal for long appreciate this info.

        That being said thanks for the post, I appreciate the mini workout ideas, they will definitely be appreciated.

        1. Thank you Christine, we are indeed all at very different stages on our primal journey and good to see ideas from TokyoJarrett.

          Its great to support one another constructively with ideas/ comments. Sometimes a guide with more basic ideas is what’s needed, especially as the community grows daily with new members who will be turned off and shy away from some of the advanced content! I’m speaking from personal experience here and that of my friends.

        2. Point taken. I guess I was just disappointed after the two preceding posts which I thought were fascinating, original and full of useful info. Easy to forget that Mark’s fan base is always growing (for good reason!) and new comers are reading the blog as well.

  6. Great advice. When road tripping with my kids I use the gas stations to do “challenges” with the kids – who can run to the desert first, who can walk backwards the fastest, who can jump on & off the railroad ties, etc. (these work better in the open roads of the Southwest, where there’s lots of space..)

    The corollary to the Road Trip is the Business Trip, full of big food & free drinks! I wrote a piece a couple months ago on surviving a business trip.. (

  7. Don’t get me started on the “continental breakfast”, ugh! I was disappointed with those even before I went primal. The only saving grace I see every so often at these is the bowl of “boiled eggs” they are whole eggs (unlike the yellow goop for the “egg” patties).

    I’m a big fan of bringing the cooler with all the items mentioned but also grill up a bunch of chicken or some steak on skewers or porkchops with the bone (great for eating while driving), all great cold.

    I also like to make a big container of premixed iced coffee. Brew up some double strength coffee put it in an old V8 bottle with some heavy whipping cream and your favorite sweetener and your in good shape.

    I also love some quality deli meats (emphasis on quality) and good cheeses. Make some salami/provolone rollups and dip em in mustard.

    1. Yeah, I made the mistake of eating the free continental breakfast for about 5 days straight while on a fishing trip last year. I stuck like glue to the ‘scrambled eggs’, the questionable sausage and cheap, rock hard bacon. By the end of 5 mornings eating this way by metabolism was an absolute wreck. I looked and felt awful. Took me an entire week to get over it. Now I know better. The eggs are usually powdered, the sausage probably has more additives and grains then it does meat, and everything is absolutely crawling with cheap vegetable oils. NOT WORTH IT! NOT WORTH IT! The one freebie that I did enjoy was their cocktail hour every night….:)

      Hard boiled eggs are my ‘go to’ for a convenient snack on the run. Their easy and satisfying and they each come in their own neat package. 🙂

      Enjoyed this guest post! Thank you.

    2. Damn! I wish I liked coffee, because your iced coffee sounds wonderful!

    3. It was at a continental breakfast that I first contemplated eating butter with a spoon.

  8. Oh! Nerd Fitness and Primal Blueprint/Daily Apple all in one place? So. Much. Happy!

    Brilliant article. Love the gas station workout!

    Buttered coffee is a reasonably easy one to put together on the road… also guaranteed to net you a few weird looks! (Maybe you could just make a road trip game of how many different places and ways you can get people looking at you funny just for keeping your health in check?)

    Easy enough to just do without food for a bit if you’re struggling to find something right to eat, though.

    1. Rachel, an IF is always an option on the road! Just make sure to keep busy and not to think too much about eating. listen to some tunes, podcasts (robb wolf’s paleo solution podcast??), or books on tape!

      1. Max, that is perfect. I brought a bunch of Robb’s podcasts along on my last roadie.

        1. Its a great listen. Especially when Robb goes a little off topic, or goes on rants every once in a while. But lots of good info on the podcasts

        1. wow coffee & butter, nectar of the gods! thx for the link ashley! i’m a coffee fiend but afraid of trying his $18.95/lb brew for fear of getting hooked lol…pricey habit!

          love the recipe, thx much..

  9. I’m going to give this a shot. We have a diving trip to go on this weekend, and we will be with 12 other people. It may be challenging, especially with that many other non primal friends ( just me and the hubby are primal)…but I’m up for a challenge and hopefully we can do it. 🙂

  10. What great timing! I am planning to drive from Northern Utah to Central Missouri and back during the first two weeks of August. I will be using these tips and have already downloaded the iExit app to my iPad! Thanks Mark!

    1. Good luck with that trip. Having made it a few times and currently living in central MO. Its easier to pack a cooler, because there is very little through wy and nebraska.

  11. Great advice, thanks, Steve!

    One quick addition: Be sure to read the ingredients if you buy a rotisserie chicken. Our local grocery stores (Kroger, among others) inject them with a brine that is not gluten free. My poor gluten sensitive husband got very sick from eating one.

    1. For our recent road trip to see the in-laws, I baked a batch of chicken thighs to eat with apples and carrot sticks for my lunches on the trip. It was a life saver! Going to do the same thing for the return trip.

  12. I love the gas station workout! I have no immediate plans for a road trip, but this idea is gold! I shall most def do that next time I fill up. Awesome post, as always, Steve.

  13. Hmm….

    A guest post by one of my 2 favorite bloggers on a blog that is also one of my 2 favorite bloggers…

    And, well, this could not have come at a more perfect time!

    I’m thinking about where I want to go next. I don’t have a car but just yesterday had the thoughts of buying one and road tripping it around the country with fellow Primal folks who want to join me.

    Anyone interested? Give me a hollar here in this comment thread, contact me via my website ( or straight up email me – Todd @ Primal Toad . com (no spaces of course).

    I’m 100% serious about this. If you are even somewhat interested let’s talk!

  14. Just recently did a road trip by myself. I have no choice in having to bring my own food, as I’m gluten and corn intolerant so eating either one would have me too sick to drive. A cooler is essential. I bought a larger one so I could bring along some treats for the family. For on the road I made a smoothie and put it in a thermos and that went in the cooler.
    – Meatballs. My boyfriend thought it was weird but they’re a great finger food. I also packed mustard to go with.
    – Boiled eggs. Another easy finger food.
    -Prosciutto and cheese. They make great roll-ups. Add chopped up roast red peppers, marinated in olive oil and garlic which is easily spooned in the center before rolling. Shredded lettuce and fresh basil is good here too. Very tasty.
    – Kefir or yoghurt.

      1. I’m pretty limited on what fruit I can eat, so it was frozen strawberries, plain whey, tahini, cream and stevia. Fortunately I love strawberries.

    1. We do boiled eggs as well, cheese and cold meats with a few nuts. In Australia, there is often not much out west, so byo is essential. Also if you have kids, or even if you don’t, bring a soccer ball, or football. When we travelled with the kids we would stop and play anywhere, get everyone puffed, and then they would settle well for the next leg.
      Also look for cages that serve all day breakfasts, I always go for wilted spinach, poached eggs, grilled tomatoes and bacon, with a coffee, keeps me going all day. We are road tripping down to Victoria, my home state soon, I can’t wait,

    2. Great ideas! My husband and I eat primal and my son is on the Gaps diet, which is even more restrictive than primal. We now plan our vacations renting houses and bringing a lot of our own stuff (organic butter for making ghee, a juicer for our juices, almond meal for making pancakes, a ceramic frying pan for healthy non-stick cooking…). On the day of travel I bring a thermos filled with scrambled eggs accompanied by a banana, a thermos of homemade yogurt and organic raisins. It makes for a complicated vacation and a lot of cooking, but we cook all the time anyway. The few times I go to a restaurant it all tastes terrible anyway.

  15. So nice to see the guys from nerd fitness here! It’s almost like when you see two of your best friends start hanging out together: It’s just so pleasurable and convenient!

  16. How awesome was it for me to discover in my inbox this morning that Steve had written a guest post for Mark today! NerdFitness and MDA – better together!

  17. Make sure you read the labels on those rotisserie chickens at Wal-Mart and other stores. In my experience, they all contain wheat flour. It might be small enough to overlook for most primal eaters, but the Celiacs need to know this stuff!

  18. What a great post! This is so useful. I have practically lived in my car lately and it has started to show. This will reverse the trend for sure.

  19. wahoo!!! i have dogs that seem to tolerate my road trips – I men they jump in the car enthusiastically enough 🙂 So I am now “forced” to take breaks for their walkies. I’ve gotten good at packing snacks & eating on the go – I use the Walmart option a lot. In a pinch you can park & rest in the parking lot even! My next trip is over seas. mmmm, foreign road trip. Hurray for yummier cheeses, fruits & veg!
    thanks for the gas station work out. I’m gonna use that in airports & train/bus stations 🙂

    1. Where are you going overseas? I’ve done a bunch of road tripping in Europe, although most of it pre-primal.

  20. Wow Steve! You nailed this one today.

    You have a way of telling me what I already know but don’t act upon. And then once I read your stuff the urge to take action kicks in.

    Well, except for taking a road trip. I’ll use these principles on shorter drives to the in-laws and not on the cross-country trip I no longer have a desire to do with a toddler in tow.

  21. Awesome post Steve! I spent most of last summer on the road and I can definitely attest to many of these primal tips. One other tip, not so much having to do with primality, If you ever need a nice pick-me-up, there are some really nice showers and bathrooms that you can use at most truck stops. Most of the showers are surprisingly pretty nice!

    1. This is the 5th or 6th time you’ve responded to this thread already. Yes, we get it that you and Toad want attention. Enough already.

      1. Way to be a jerk, Kathy. Max and Toad are chiming in with good tips. If they want to add more to the conversation, then more power to them! If you don’t want to read them, then skip ahead. The rest of can enjoy their good ideas and enthusiasm.

    1. No, but I made raccoon soup last year. I still have some of the coon grease, It is real liquidy, like chicken grease. Even in the fridge it will not firm up.

      Makes The. Best. Biscuits and Gravy.
      But of course flour is off the menu for paleos. I guess I could make chickpea-flour biscuits?

  22. um whole food stores? I live in the mid-west what are these- haha good luck finding them around here- all we have is Wal-mart and Kroger


    My addition to the list:
    Take your foam roller with you on the trip

      1. or, if your strapped for space, a tennis ball or lacrosse ball can also do wonders on hips, back and shoulders

        1. Big fan of the lacrosse ball, I also use a lot two of them tied with duct tape.
          Very good space wise, what do you think of this addition if space is not the issue:

          Take with you your private masseuse! 🙂

  24. I did a roadtrip in May! Man, if you’re in California, you can stop every few minutes and get strawberries and almonds and cherries. The rental car had red streaks all the down the sides when we got done (throwing seeds and green tops out the windows). I did a website on it because we didn’t tell our son what was up
    We were also on the train! A TRAIN! How quaint! That bag of pistachios I bought on the way back from Yosemite made it all the way to New Orleans–and let me tell you, you can EAT in New Orleans! Crab stuffed red fish and vegetables in butter! Crab claws, shrimp! Man oh man! And I lost 5 pounds because of all the walking! I almost made my own yogurt on the road but for my 24 hour yogurt–too tedious. The rest of you can totally do it in a thermos. I did the rest stop yoga and totally lost the pressed penny from the Winchester Mystery House. Must have fallen out of my pocket.
    Hey, there’s an app out there that gives a farmer’s market locator map. I almost had to use it in Chicago.

  25. Timing could seriously not be more perfect- I’m leaving for a roadtrip in 2 hours!

    Thanks Steve!

    Will definitely be doing the gas station workout (if only to freak out my travel buddies hehe)

  26. We did two organized bike “road trips” this summer, and I’ve got to say it was a big challenge, since we couldn’t pack along our own food and certainly couldn’t take a cooer We overnighted in very small towns (Chipotle – what’s that) where they’ve never heard of salad that isn’t made with pasta or potatoes or a vegetable that isn’t baked beans.
    Nevertheless, we managed with the hamburgers and steaks at the bar and grills and eggs and bacon at the diners. We stayed in ketosis (we are both ketogenic “athletes”) and had plenty of energy and strength to handle hills, wind, and heat. At ages 59 and 70 respectively, not bad!

  27. I’ve just done Bratislava to Medliaborce (the Andy Warhol museum town)and back in two days (600 or so miles). My friend was driving, pretty hair-raising drivng, but I travelled with a bag of almonds, water, and nakd bars (dried fruit and nuts, nothing else added!) and at each stop, which were fairly numerous as he was a heavy heavy smoker needing his ‘fix’, I moved about doing qigong and yoga and spent 5 minutes lying on my back with feet elevated!

    See http://www.cavegirl-goes-east.blogspot dot com for the extended version!

  28. I don’t know about the safety of Walmart. According to the movie Walmart: The High Cost of Low Price (streaming on Netflix), those giant parking lots are high crime spots, and what appear to be security cameras may be remnants of the last union busting effort, and not in use. Ladies, be careful getting from the car to the store in the middle of the night.

  29. I recently travelled from England to California to do a state-wide theme park trip. I couldn’t bring food with me but bought jerky and almonds to snack on (and yes, I did go to a Walmart at night – no problem!) and was able to find healthier options in most of the parks. At restaurants I went for salads (Cali is good in that calorie counts are on the menu, so I avoided falling for the high calorie salads) or things like meat or fish with veggies. I didn’t gain weight on this holiday so I figured I did pretty well!

  30. I hear that song on the radio 75 times in a row commuting to university this morning… and it’s only a 35 minute drive.

    These are also decent ideas for food to keep on hand during my long school days, or a ten-hour work day if anyone has one of those (yuck). Great idea for those of us who have to hang out at school or work all day while all you cool kids go on road trips! In fact, I didn’t have time to pack my Big Ass Salad this morning, so I hit up a publix for some beef jerky (as clean as I could get) and a couple Larabars (a little carb-y, but most are just nuts and dates with no added sugar or garbage!)

    I’m considering getting a small cooler and a reusable ice pack or three to keep in the backseat so I can just run back to the parking garage for a snack instead of lugging my lunch on my back.

    Not that I don’t like lifting things… I just have a bad case of “student neck” and “global ligament hyper-laxity” it all gets exacerbated by too much crap in my bags.

  31. “Make sure somebody feeds Spike, your pet cat/dog/tarantula…”

    Having owned two pet tarantulas in my lifetime, they are the ideal pet for travellers. Tarantulas can go up to two years without food.

  32. Fun and informative article, thanks!

    Best line: “Who cares if everybody around the gas station thinks you’re a weirdo? You look good naked and they don’t.”

  33. Good timing on this post, I’ll be trekking up the California coast to a MovNat workshop pretty soon.

    I would also add to the gas station / rest stop workouts idea – plan ahead with Google maps to find neighborhood parks somewhat along your route. Then you can get some quick field sprints in, or pull up bar / dips etc at the jungle gym. Maybe climb a tree or two while you’re at it. Plus the terrain would be likely less littered than at a rest stop or gas station.

    1. not sure how far up the cali coast your going but i used to live in far nor cal (redding area) and our rest stops were huge around there. lots of space to sprint and plenty of tree’s to climb too. by far the best rest stop in california (that ive visited) is the klamath river rest stop just before the siskiyou summit and oregon border. it runs along the river, has huge grassy areas and picnic tables galore. lots of beautiful big trees. at the base of all the gorgeous mountains. and if you look for it, across the way after the high way entrances (if your heading south, it will be before you turn into the rest stop if your heading north) theres a more private area, no facilities, but you can walk straight to the river, and theres a 4wd track a long side it. we used to run our dogs out there and let them swim in the summer time during our road trips north into oregon a couple of times a year

      1. You’re too right! I love that rest area. Upstate New York, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, Washington, Ohio have great stops too. There are others, but I’ve forgotten where they are. City parks are rarely an option when you drive a 72′ truck. Most grocery stores are rather hostile, too.

  34. Another great Steve!

    I have Vega One (berry flavor) for breakfast so I take it with me wherever I go. If you are travelling with a laptop, a GSP RushFit dvd might be a good idea. I have been on this training regimen for 4 weeks and it is the best dvd work-out I have done because I don’t need any fancy equipment except a pair of dumbbells (10-15lbs). Mostly body weight exercises.

  35. excellent ideas! i was pretty clear on the food tips, but i really thought the road trippin’ exercise tips were great. it’s always nice to stretch the body out a little while on the road.

  36. I’m still working on changing my mindset.
    To me the best two-word phrase in English has always been, “There’s pie”.

  37. Any suggestions for a 12-15 hour flight? Im flying to the Philippines next year.

    1. boy, will your arms be tired!

      I’m envisioning some kind of container you would wear on top of your head, filled with liquified coconut, with a tube down to your mouth..

    2. depends on which airline you fly but air nz had some gluten free options and their food was surprisingly good.

  38. We do 5-7 day bike trips every month during the summer. We eat most meals out, and I stick to grilled steaks/chicken/fish for lunches/dinners, veggies/cheese on dry-as-I-can-get-’em hashed browns (I add the butter back in), and coffee with cream and “jet fuel” (coconut oil, raw honey, and crushed cardamom) for breakfast.

    For snacks on the bike: water, of course; almond butter and apple slices; homemade beef and turkey jerkies. I’m fat adapted…that’s all I need.

  39. We just had a big day out and cut up and cooked like 10 chicken breasts and 5 pork loins. Spiced them up a bit and threw them in the lunchbox with some fruit, lightly steamed veggies and just stuffed our face with those on the way.

    Worked pretty well, shame the green tea I bought had f**king wheat in it!

    Gotta be careful out there, if you did not catch it and kill it (or buy it I suppose) then try your best not to eat it!

  40. My neighbour’s on a serious road trip (Alberta -> Ontario) and he mentioned what I think is a great idea: listen to the comedy channel on satellite radio (if you have it), it’s impossible to feel tired or fall asleep when you’re laughing your head off!

  41. I just completed a 50-hour cross country trip with my husband and 4 young children and managed to maintain our primal lifestyle the whole time. It took planning every meal and snack in two coolers worth of primal fare, but we made the drive there and back without falling off the primal wagon. I found I had to rely on fruit a bit more than I would have normally (cabbage and broccoli doesn’t travel well, but bananas and organic applesauce does.) We also ate a bit more dairy than I’d prefer, but I figured grabbing a cup of greek yogurt for everyone for breakfast at a gas station was preferable to a bagel. We avoided fast food and drive thrus completely. Chipotle, Chiles, and Ruby Tuesdays were reliable places to forage. Ultimately, we were rewarded when we arrived at the beach and ate fresh seafood caught that morning and produce from the many local farm stands. Totally worth it. If I can do with with a minivan load of little primals, anyone can!

  42. I love that it’s mentioned to not forget about rest and sleep. It’s so easy (esp when in an exotic local) to home from a vacation needing a VACATION! My favorite roady food is strips of beef, chicken and jumbo shrimp chilled in the cooler with mct oil mixed with hot sauce in a wide mouth jar for dipping. Gas stations are getting better at offering fruit too. Great article!

  43. Wow, nice post. I’ll add stopping at those lovely rest areas with security and walking trails. My dog and I may often be found charging up and down landscapes hills and jumping narrow drainage ditches. My snack of choice are.hard boiled eggs. Mostly though, I use my drive time for IF. Since I drive about 3200 miles a week, I have some experience. I don’t have the healthier choices that most of you have, but I still have some success. I’ve lost about 68 lbs since September.

  44. Just got back from a long drive (across Texas, no less). I did ok on the food part, but I didn’t stop for stretching enough. My right hip hurt during the drive.

    Then the day after I got home, I was getting down off a chair that I was using as a ladder, and my right knee just buckled. I fell and caught myself with my right hand, and now my right wrist is sprained, and my knee hurts too. All this might have been avoided if I had stopped every hour or so I think.

  45. I use powdered green tea I get from TenRen tea company. About two grams a serving, works great! Add it to primal fuel or it makes great iced or hot tea.

  46. I am currently living off of safeway rotiserrie chicken. They have a delicious broccoli salad (w raisins and nuts) to go with it. I made the drive non-stop from LA to San Jose (no traffic)w/o caffiene. I ate a total of 3 ginseng herbal energy tablets. I am staying for a week in a hotel (no kitchen) and jogging 1 mile to the safeway store for food. They are also selling roast turkey alongside the chickens. Anyways, cannot wait to get my own kitchen again!

  47. Nice post. Lots of good ideas. Thanks.

    One thing I’m surprised isn’t here is FASTING. Since traveling involves so much sitting, it seems like a great time to multi-task a little and get in some good fasting hours.

    You know – fuel the ride on caffeine. Works great on a bike and in a car as well. I’ve done both.

    P.S. No Walmart for me – ever, for at least 2 reasons: 1) they’re a major retailer of firearms; and 2) they treat their employees abominably (hence all the pending litigation against the company).

    Fasting on a road trip, you can travel with just your break-fast food, and have a pre-made plan for where you’re going to stop for the feast (which can include a restaurant or food store you’ve plotted out, if you prefer).

    Works well. I’ve done it. 🙂

    1. Walmart cut back drastically on firearms sales. Not enough profit in it. The few that do sell them do so because of the demand from hunters. Hoplophobia is treatable once you will admit the problem.

      As to the employee treatment, I have no clue, have never worked in one. However is they are guilty of worker abuse the courts will help them see the error of their ways. (Walmart can’t stand to lose money.)


    2. These ideas work for all persons going primal, regardless of political leanings and firearm viewpoints. Wal-Mart is NOT my favorite store for a myriad of reasons, but in many areas where we travel, it’s about the only non-drive-through food option available.
      So, when we travel this weekend across the great state of Tennessee to the Smoky Mountain area to look at properties for our new Bedrock Tea Room, which will be Primarily Primal – and TOTALLY grain and soy free! – we will use some of these ideas, and those that have been working for us.
      And we will stop often for strong black coffee — at places that welcome both us and our concealed firearms 🙂
      Maryjean Gregory

  48. I’ve just done Bratislava to Medliaborce (the Andy Warhol museum town)and back in two days (600 or so miles). My friend was driving, pretty hair-raising drivng, but I travelled with a bag of almonds, water, and nakd bars (dried fruit and nuts, nothing else added!) and at each stop, which were fairly numerous as he was a heavy heavy smoker needing his ‘fix’, I moved about doing qigong and yoga and spent 5 minutes lying on my back with feet elevated!

    www . cavegirl – goes – east . blogspot . com for the extended version!

  49. Great post….I’ve been car tripping for years as most of my family is anywhere from 5 to 13 hours away. Bringing my own food has always been a must but in the past 5 years I’ve been making use of the ‘rest stops’ along the way and Walmarts/Menards/Targets. I can either walk outside or inside and a little retail therapy is always fun. I don’t feel like I have to stop at all the fast food chains along the highway any more. Yeah!

  50. Perfect timing once again. Saturday, I start a 16-17 hour drive (moving to Georgia) by my lonesome. Have my apples bought but couldn’t keep up with the homemade beef jerky as the DH and I ate it all.Baby carrots, almond butter-check. Planning to stop every two hours-check. Loved the gas stop workouts!

  51. So this will sound funny, but sometimes we head up to “the land” (two hours away, roughly) where we raise chickens for meat and eggs. We get a late start and realize halfway there that it will be too late to let a fire burn down long enough for the grassfed steak or pastured pork we brought. The dinner becomes the next days lunch and we stop for something quick. There is no Chipotle (did you know you can order their bowl with no rice, fajitas, and just meat and guacamole?) and while Arby’s or McDs seems fast the tummy objections cancel it out. We stop at Smiths for a salad, some decent cheese, and reasonable deli meat. While its not the best meal ever, the local grocery can provide a selection that is a lot closer to primal than any main stream fast food joint.

  52. This post has some great suggestions!
    My Fiance and I are driving Route 66 for our honeymoon. As primal eaters (from London) we don’t really know the states that well. If anyone has any good suggestions for eateries that are primal friendly along route 66 that would be awesome!

    1. I don’t have any eatery suggestions but will tell, (warn) you there is a LOT of wide open spaces between cities from California thru Texas. Sometimes hundreds of miles. Do take the detour up through Santa Fe New Mexico if you can. It will be worth it. Also if you can detour to the Grand Canyon, do that.

      I would say bring food and water, not much of anything to pick from during some of those long stretches of road except for the scenery and even that is lacking in some places. Eastern NM, the panhandle of Texas and probably most of Oklahoma is pretty flat. Sky country for sure.

  53. A great way to prevent all that fruit from spoiling is to buy a dehydrator and use it to make yummy snacks when the fruit is at low prices.

  54. Great post guys, as a guy who drives around Australia a lot (and that’s a wole lotta drivin’!!) I’ve had my fair share of crappy meals and snacks on the road. I’m printing this out for next time!

    Cheers Mark and Steve

  55. I have been on the road a LOT recently. Most recently, I was trapped on an Air Force Base with no viable food options except the grocery store.

    I had a microwave and a refrigerator in my room, so here were a few of my solutions:

    Hard-boiled eggs in the microwave.
    Berries and baby tomatoes for snacks.
    Packets of tuna.
    Canned red salmon.
    100 calorie packets of Wholly Guacamole (portioned so the avocado doesn’t turn black, not because I’m worried about 100 calories!)
    Cans of sardines in olive oil.
    Jars of salsa.
    Baby carrots.
    Homemade kale chips.
    Macadamia nuts. Except that I found out I wasn’t digesting them… the hard way…

    Anyway, that’s my solution. A small cooler of things like eggs that are mildly perishable, and then packets of fishies to give me protein. I did pretty well, if I do say so myself!

  56. Thanks for the post and all the great comments! I travel for work in the summer (4 months on the road) and we work as professional face painters at state fairs and carnivals! Talk about temptation! Truthfully though, watching the sad fat zombie people wolf down Krispie Creme Burgers (yes, it’s a real thing…fully loaded cheeseburger smashed between 2 glazed doughnuts) is really disgusting…Not to mention we do these fairs in the midwest so it’s pretty easy to look around and see why we live primal and aren’t “corn fed”. The hard part is keeping fresh healthy food alive in a cooler all summer when we ‘re too busy to eat it. We buy good stuff and stock up our cooler, but after being on our feet 12-16 hours at a time, we forget to pee let alone eat or exercise. We try to chug as much H2O as possible, but most days we end up IF on accident and all that nutritious food is warm or wilted and we definitely don’t feel like eating it. So we crash HARD, only to wake up and do it all over again for 10 more days, hit the road, and start another fair. We are sooo drained. We always start the summer with a plan to commit to keeping up our workouts, but sleep wins out.

    Any advice for how to live primal around this hectic schedule? I’m serious when I say WAY TOO busy all day, if any of you have ever stood in line with your kids for a face painter at a fair in 102 degrees and complained that it’s not moving fast enough, well…please don’t reply- I will have nothing nice to say to you. 🙂 But seriously, getting some almonds and water in my mouth while parents b*tch at me for taking a second to eat is an everyday occurrence for me. HELP! Even some good comebacks for those parents would be great! 😉

  57. Great post! I especially like the idea of getting in a quick workout at the gas stations, rest stops, etc. Thanks for the food list as well—my family and I travel often and snacks are a must, especially for the kids!

  58. We are heading to Lake Michigan this Friday with three small kids, a seven hour drive. Our favorite travel food is deviled eggs. They never last long. I also take some Applegate turkey lunch meat and wrap a little cream cheese and pickle inside them. Stick a toothpick to hold it together. We’ll be making skewers of ham and pineapple. I’m making some jerky this week from steak as well. A veggie tray is a must for us as well as I get the munchies sitting in a car all day. The good thing about traveling with three small kids is I get to practice my yoga moves as I stretch to the rear of the car trying to grab whatever it is they need to make it a bit farther. Fun times…not

    1. I’m soooo glad my drive to Lake Michigan is only about 1 and 1/2 hours 🙂 N, E, or W we run into large bodies of water living in the middle of the lower half of Michigan… In years gone past we found it easier to load up about sunset and drive while the little angels were all sleeping. Of course, that was before we learned all about Paleo/Lower Carb eating. We now know all about the carb/blood sugar cycle that drives parents insane right along with the kids when they eat sugar/carb containing snacks, no matter what the setting, particularly doing hours of forced confinement. Enjoy the water!

  59. I am heading into a 24 hour road trip in a few weeks so this is perfect timing. Great information too.

    Last time I was leaving from California and was able to stock up on quality buffalo jerky and a small cooler with a bag of apples and a bag of pre washed spinach. It’s going to be more difficult to find good food this time, but I am definitely going to try out some of the workouts.

  60. Great ideas, all. I’ll have to try those gas-station workouts too:)

    From my own road trips, I’ve found that bringing a cooler makes all the difference. Admittedly, I was focused on budget, as I had yet to learn of the Primal lifestyle, but the cooler made the difference on both counts. This way, we could bring meat and other healthy perishables otherwise off-limits. And of course, we felt better for it 🙂

  61. Travel centers are usually better than gas stations about stocking hard-boiled eggs and lettuce salads.

    I discovered a Sheetz gas station that made fresh breakfast burritos. I’m not sure if having a wheat-based layer to keep the paper dry is considered acceptable, or if you need to claim mild gluten allergy to get a bowl.

  62. My friend and I like to make a “Smoothie in a Jar” for long day trips.

    If you have an immersion blender, just toss some fresh or frozen berries into a 32 oz mason jar, a nice big glug of the creamy part of full fat coconut milk, and any other fruits we may have around for extra flavor. Lemon juice adds a surprisingly nice zing!

    Add water and ice and then stick the immersion blender in and blend! A 32 oz smoothie in a jar lasts us all day and keeps us full. We don’t drink it all at once, and the coconut cream keeps us full and satisfied. Literally, it lasts us all day long. (note to self: why haven’t we added protein to it? usually we take along protein rich snacks in addition to the smoothie).

    We eyeball the ingredients or I would be more specific as to measurements, but try it anyway! Great for long day trips, easy to make, drink, and clean. The lid on the jar means we can toss it in a bag and not worry about it spilling.

    Interesting note: We forgot to clean out a jar one day. Left it sealed and forgot about it for about two months. When we found it, no visible mold or fungus was seen in the jar! It did not smell funky! I don’t know if that’s because we live in Seattle where it’s cool enough that nothing gross would grow, or if it’s because of some amazing properties in coconut milk. Either way, it was an easy cleanup. 🙂

  63. Hmm the same thing happened to me while driving across Texas. I learned the hard way. :/

  64. Great post! The secret is tuppaware! 🙂

    Cook in great batches, get a big cool bag and put everything into tuppaware containers. Beleive it or not, I have lived like this on the road for three days and never bought a single meal! 🙂

  65. My Husband and I just recently did a 12 hour trip up north with our 5 young children. We packed a cooler with hard boiled eggs, cooked bacon (because we always need bacon), homemade trail mix (hit our local bulk store and grabbed raw nuts, seeds, a little dried fruit and voila snack in pinch), we chopped several bags of veggies and made dip, we filled a big water cooler with Ice and water it was still ice water 24 hours later. We are in ontario so many grocery stores have rotisserie chickens (not perfectly primal but Way better than fast food) doesn’t sound like on the go food but really 5 kids makes quick work of a chicken. We made use of road side stops to stretch, relieve ourselves and many of them are backed against forest or parks so we could take a walk or short hike and get the blood moving again. We also made sure we had pillows and blankets in case we needed to take roadside naps. (since we don’t have electronics in our car this was an often occurrence for our gang) We did the first 6 hours over night, so we did stop at a little Mom and Pop restaurant for bacon and eggs for breakfast and of course Coffee. We were deeply disappointed at how many family restaurants and roadside stops were shut down due to fast food places it was truly sad. In the Hotel, we had a small fridge and microwave (not my favorite cooking method but I am not doing take out for 7), I made use of those grocery store chickens, and would buy the salad fixings and make them up at the hotel (we used the ironing board as a counter to prep food on), we did hardboiled eggs in the coffee maker, and scrambled eggs and frittatas in the microwave. We made sure we packed a cup for everyone, enough plates for prep and serving and a few bowls to cook in the microwave. It turned out to be a great trip and the kids were super well behaved and happy, and we stayed pretty true to our newly adopted primal lifestyle. We were very nervous for this trip as we only transitioned in January. But it was a success, and has given us the confidence to do long and short road trips with our gang.

  66. Long traveling the most important part is to stay healthy and clean. Suddenly if you will get sick the travel plan get ruined. Taking more water can make sure of safe from dehydration on travel.