Snacks really help the budget if you are at the airport for any amount of time - which seems to happen a lot. The prices are so high there and you will save a ton if you break out your soggy sandwich and warm string cheese instead of getting a nice fresh plate of nachos and a cold beer at the sports bar. ;)
Especially being vegetarian, there are times when I have relied on that baggie of roasted peanuts I brought from home lest I go hungry when there's nothing but food stalls full of fried meat.
For the most part, you want things that:
- you can get through airport security (only if flying of course; you can bring anything you want on most foreign ground transportation - bringing back the visual of a little kid messily eating belut next to me on a bumpy truck )
- won't go bad too quickly (or at least as much as you can stand)
- won't get smushed or crumbled (or rather that is still edible once it does inevitably get smushed)
As with all of your packing, make sure not to take along any excess packaging that bulks up your luggage. Most snacks do well in a ziploc baggie. Then once you finish the food, you can either use it as a sealed bag for your snack trash (until you get somewhere you can throw it away, then it helps keep bugs away from the trash can), or wash it out and use if for storage during your trip. Sealable sandwich bags always seem to come in handy at some point.
Some people go all out and put together an elaborate charcuterie-in-a-craft-box, which might get you a few envious glances from your fellow passengers, but then what do you do with the empty box?
Fresh fruit, veggies, meat, and cheese should be eaten before you go through customs. Some other snacks might be iffy depending on the country and mood of the customs officer but I have never been stopped (knock on wood) for nuts or other snacks.
Though this is mostly focused on food to take with you on the airplane, let's not forget about local travel, too. Don't be afraid to try the snacks being sold on (or out the window of) local buses and trains! For long rides I usually buy at least a few bananas. If there is nothing else vegetarian, a snack of bananas and peanuts is never a bad thing.
- Empty Water Bottle
Make sure to bring an empty water bottle with you to the airport. You can fill it up in a drinking fountain once you're through security (assuming you are in a country with potable water!).
- Powdered Drink Mix
If you get sick of drinking plain water, bring some of those little individual drink mix packets (you can get a box of them at the 99 cent Only Store), or if you have a regular hydration mix you use, put some in a ziploc baggie.
- Cold Brew Tea Bags
You can find hot water in some airports, but it's best to be prepared with a few cold-brew tea bags.
Great Snacks on the Perishable SideYou'll want to eat these before you go through customs. They'll either go bad after that or you won't be able to get them through.
- Hard Boiled Eggs with a tiny bit of salt in saran wrap.
I pre-peel my eggs because I can't stand even the chance of not being able to rinse them off and biting into a tiny bit of shell, If you pre-peel, they put off a lot of water so put a paper towel in the ziploc with the egg(s).
If you don't mind eating a soggy PB&J or an egg salad that hay have oozed out the sides, a sammy is great for planes. Keep it well wrapped or it could turn into a mess! Don't pack tuna or lunch meats that will go bad quickly. I have also had good luck with simple lunch-meat sandwiches (with vegetarian "meat" of course LOL).
- Cheese & Crackers
Have it all pre-cut and eat it during the first day (or two!). Make sure you bring hard crackers like wheat thins and not something like a ritz that will easily crumble.
- String or BabyBel Cheese
It doesn't necessarily stay good any longer out of the fridge than other cheeses, but they're in nice sealed little packages.
The sturdier the better. Think carrot sticks and jicama. I'll pass on the celery.
Pre-cut some apples or whatever fruit you have on hand. Make sure your plastic fork is handy if you pack easily-squished fruit like nectarines.
Snacks That'll LastAnything that will go bad within a day or two will only be good for your flight or immediate transportation. But stuff like dried fruit, nuts, and granola bars are great to keep in your bag until you run out of them. Do make sure you keep them as wrapped up as possible though so you don't attract roaches or mice in your room!!
Of course you don't want to pack all of this! But one or two snacks stashed in your bag is a good idea until you get used to the local food.
- Dried Fruit
It keeps well and doubles as dessert! There's healthy fruit leather out there too if you prefer that.
A bag of peanuts is my travel go-to. They are filling, have some protein, and don't go bad at all. Some flights disallow peanuts if someone onboard has a severe allergy but they *should* tell you on the flight. I usually carry these with me for up to a month of travel.
- Trail Mix
You risk the chocolate pieces melting (yes, my trail mix always has chocolate), but it otherwise a good hearty travel snack.
- Power/Granola Bars
Another go-to I like to keep in hand in case of "emergency" (aka hunger). There's almost always at least one of these crammed into a pocket of my backpack somewhere.
Chips will turn into crumbs, but something like peanutbutter filled pretzel pillows are fantastic.
- Hard Snacks
Anything you like like cornnuts, wasabi peas, or flavored sunflower seeds! You can find some really good (and sometimes odd) snacks where you're traveling.
- Beef Jerky
Okay, something for the meat eaters. Portable and no need for a fridge. A great snack!
Steer clear of chocolate that will melt. Usually hard candies, mints, jelly beans, and gum travel pretty well.
It's nice to have dessert after your veggie sticks. Again, pack something that won't crumble.
Airport FoodSometimes you need to get food at an airport. First of all, hopefully you have the local currency! Here are your best bets on getting the most food for your dollar. Lucky (?) for you, these chains seems to be in almost every major city throughout the world.
Their sandwiches are usually cheaper than almost anything you can get at the airport and although it might not be a gourmet sandwich, it's still substantial and will fill you up. It's also easy to bring in the plane and is a winner when compared to the sad food you get in-flight.
- Pizza Hut
The individual pan pizzas are usually a pretty good deal. A bit of dough and cheese will fill the void any time. A bit messy and greasy to bring on the plane, but it can be done.
I hate to even say those words but there I've done it. I actually find it really interesting to see what they serve at the Micky D's throughout the world. You might even find a veggie burger of sorts for a few bucks!