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The Daily Dish Top Chef

5 Food Rules for Making Road Trips Fun... and Delicious

When it comes to road trips, it's about the journey after all.

There's nothing worse than being stuck in your car for what seems like forever with nothing to kill the growing in your tummy. And if you're actually driving somewhere for a vacation, why not think about the opportunities to make the food that you eat along the way not just sustenance, but a meaningful — even the central — part of the journey?

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Packing the right snacks and plotting the best food stops on your route can transform an ordinary road trip into an incredible memory-making adventure, and just a little bit of smart planning in advance can bring your entire experience to the next level. Getting ready to hit the open road and let loose? Consider strategizing in these simple ways:

1. Design a food-centric route.

The quickest route isn't always the best or most rewarding, depending on what your goals are for your road trip; unless you need to make time, your trip is about the journey... so make it as delicious as possible. Consider taking a longer route that has more interesting food stops such as farm stands or mom-and-pop restaurants. You may even design the whole trip around hitting the high points of a known foodie region's most epic offerings.

2. Give it a theme.

To that end, how about planning a bucket-list trip to hit as many purveyors of your favorite food as possible? Whether you're riding on a highway through the ice cream-producing farms of Maine or traversing the apple pie capital of California, identifying possible thematic food stops on your journey is a surefire way to make a memorable trip.

3. Fuel up before you go.

This rule applies not just to your gas tank, but to your belly too. If you hit the road hungry, you have no chance of enjoying the journey — and you're just about guaranteeing yourself a stop for whatever gross gas-station-fare is available, rather than a more purposeful and pleasurable meal.

4. Make a foodie playlist.

Making a playlist of food-themed songs in any genre to play in the car will help set the mood for a tasty trip. Some ideas to get you started: "Sugar" by Maroon 5, "All You Can Eat" by the Fat Boys, "Bon Appetit" by Katy Perry featuring Migos... and "Eat It" by Weird Al Yankovic.

5. Make a plan to avoid carsickness.

Riding and sitting for long periods of time can be tough on your digestive system, especially if you actually stop and have a full meal along the way. Don't forget to bring along your preferred stomach-settler to keep everyone comfortable.

Catch Bravo's Top Chef cheftestants on a high-stakes road trip — tune in January 24 at 9/8c.

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