This is about traveling without small children. Although I'm sure it could be made to work even if there were small children along. I like to stop when necessary and it would be possible to make these tips fit even for a small child. As the Marine Corps says; "Improvise, Adapt and Overcome."
I don't usually stay in rest areas for sleeping. I have been known to do so. If you choose to do so then that will work too.
I did a trip once where I had a loose plan, more like a destination really. That was pretty much the whole plan I knew where I was going and I knew when I had to be back and those were my only limitations. I stopped when I saw something interesting and I ate when I got hungry. When I got tired I looked for a place to sleep. Turns out that was one of the best trips I had ever taken. I wasn’t stressed about having to drive so many miles or anything else. When my vacation was over I wasn’t in need of extra time to recover. I was in fact relaxed and refreshed.
Since that trip I’ve been trying to do the same thing when I travel. Over the years I’ve made some modifications and additions to how I travel. Some changes in how hotel / motel chains get people to stay is by offering breakfast. The selection of food offered is rather limited.
So that part of how I travel changed by itself. If the hotel provides a ‘breakfast’ then I breakfast eat there. I figure why not I’ve already paid for it in the price of the room. More and more hotels are now providing microwave ovens and refrigerators. This helps with storing perishable items that I’ve brought along.
The second change I made when I realized that eating every meal in a restaurant was very expensive. At today’s prices you will spend an average of $30 per meal for two people. Food selection is usually rather limited to hamburgers, steak and fries. I like to think by staying out of restaurants I’m eating a little bit healthier because I can control my fat and salt intake.
I now have a 24 gallon cooler that I pack with some basic essentials. I put water, apples, cheese, bananas, lunch meat and yogurt in the cooler. I sometimes get something like a potato salad or a tuna salad sandwich spread. I fill some smaller squeeze bottles with mustard and mayo and put those in the cooler also.
I have a milk carton style box that folds flat and I use this when I travel to put a bowls and plates along with some real cutlery. Dry groceries go into this box also. I like to keep my cutlery together in a small storage box. I have a small paring knife and cork screw puller in there as well. I have also a military style C-Ration opener in there in case I need something to open cans.
I would suggest that if you do eat in your room with food that you’ve prepared just make sure that you don’t dump anything down the sink. I spent many years in building maintenance and I can tell you that those food particles will clog up the sink. I wipe any left over’s directly into a trash or zip lock bag. You can leave the bag for the maid to pick up in the morning.
Take care be well.