When I travel by car I try to figure out how to cut some expenses when I do. Today's hotels and motels usually have at least a micro wave oven and a small refrigerator. Many establishments now also offer some kind of breakfast.
I've figured that one of the biggest recurring expenses while traveling is eating. Dining out can become rather expensive rather quickly. So if you eat something at your hotel that means that you can get away with one more meal and a snack the rest of the day. I've mentioned in previous posts that I bring a bag along with me when I travel by car. I have some health issues and eating at a restaurant every day can really throw not only my budget but my system out of whack quickly.
I have a 24 quart cooler that I put in my car. Usually I travel either by myself or with one other person. This means if I don't get carried away packing clothes I have plenty of room for the cooler. Keeping with my traveling light theory I don't put a lot of food in the cooler. Several bottles of water, some yogurt, lunch meat and maybe a couple apples to start. I have also a folding milk crate in my trunk where I put a few cans of soup, a loaf of bread. The milk crate helps to keep things in one area so the trunk is easily packed. I'll stop at a local store to get additional stores when I need them.
I have a small box that contains eating utensils,
hand operated can opener and a kitchen knife. I prefer regular eating utensils over plastic but you decide which you prefer. Only one knife, fork and spoon per person. I make sure that I put this into my folding milk crate. I have some cheap microwaveable plastic storage
bowls that I use to heat and eat my soup from. Make sure that you have paper towels and toilet paper. I never travel without toilet paper as it comes in very handy. I keep some always in my back pocket, just in case.
Don't forget that in large chain grocery stores there is a deli section where you can get cold cuts, cooked chicken, ready made salads and cheese. Personally I try to stay away from getting food that will take up a lot of space in the garbage or that can't be cleaned out of the container easily. I don't empty my food bowl into the sink. Liquids in the sink solid leftovers in the trash. This is why I have zip lock bags with me. Helps to control any food odors and makes it possible to put leftovers in the trash.
I find that by eating in my room at night I eat a bit healthier and cheaper than in the restaurant. I think saving those little bits of change helps the trip along.