Packing food for a trip has plenty of advantages: Bringing snacks can help you save money by not having to pay $5 for a candy bar from the mini-bar, and you can save time by packing breakfast items—muffins, fruits, nuts, etc. And for campers, packing food for cookouts is vital.
The potential nightmare is food spoiling, spilling, or escaping containers, which not only results in the loss of the food, it can damage clothing and other possessions you’ve packed in your luggage. Being smart about packing food pays off, so here are some tips on how to keep food in its place while traveling.
Take care of your liquids
Greg Boyle operations manager for Canada-based Great Escape Outfitters, which sells clothes and gear for outdoor adventures, says traveling with liquids is the biggest problem people deal with when packing food. “Stuff seems to leak and gets on everything,” he says.
Liquids mean more than beverages. For camping and hiking trips, he says he’ll pack condiments, salad dressings, and other liquids that are used to prepare meals. He says GoToobs, which are squeezable tubes, offer a great solution.
“I’ve used them all over the place,” he says. “When I go out trips out west, for a canoe or kayak trip, I want to bring condiments, like ketchup and mustard, and I want to throw them in my bag when I fly, but obviously that could destroy everything.”
There are many different types of containers for liquids you can get, and they also can be used for all sorts of liquids such as shampoo. If you are traveling with these, make sure they won’t leak.
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Keep Your Fruits Edible and Legal
Another tip Boyle offers is freeze-drying or dehydrating foods, such as fruits and vegetables. A lot of people might pack fresh fruit in plastic containers, but if the lid opens, the food can spill all over. Freeze-drying makes it easier to pack fruit because you don’t have to worry about spoilage. It’s also a big advantage when traveling internationally, because freeze-driving fruit makes it legal to bring it into different countries.
Protect Your Clothes
An extra step you can take is to protect your clothes with waterproof packing cubes, such as the ones made by Eagle Creek.
“You put your clothes in those cubes so that if there’s some sort of catastrophic failure of your system, your clothes will be fine,” Boyle says. “It’s just going to be the outside of the cubes that are wet and you can wash that off and your clothes will survive.”
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Bringing Food Home
Suzanne Garber is the CEO of Gauze, a global database of hospitals. Her work has taken her to 90 countries, and she loves to bring back food from around the world to give as presents to family and friends. Some of her tips include not buying anything in glass. “It increases the weight of your luggage tremendously plus there’s always a likelihood that if not wrapped correctly, could break,” she says. If there is something in glass she just has to buy, she wraps it in a pair of jeans because they are thick and absorb liquid or solid foods. And if there is a leak, stains in dark jeans aren’t all that noticeable.
Other tips she offers are to buy small cans of caviar, special fish, olives and such. They may not make for a major gift, but they’re easy to transport and offer people a taste of life in a foreign country. For spices sold in bulk at markets such as Turkey, India and China, she brings quart- or gallon-sized zipped plastic bags from home.
“The plastic sold in other countries is usually pretty thin so if I bring the thicker plastic bags with me, a disaster is usually avoided,” she says.
Everyone loves chocolates, but boxes of chocolate are tricky, according to Gerber because they can get crushed in luggage, so she packs them in the middle of a bag between at least two layers of clothes in each side. She doesn’t roll chocolate in clothes, as she does with other foods to maximize space because rolling can lead to creases in the boxes.
As you’re flying home, you might be dreaming about all the tasty food you’ll be bringing back from your travels. With some help from the LugLoc luggage locator, you can always know you’re bags, and all those delicious goodies, are on the right path home.
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