driver eating fast food

Photo by Darya Sannikova from Pexels

NEW YORK — Embarking on that long, boring stretch of road during a driving trip isn’t very exciting. However, it’s where you are going that makes it all worthwhile, right? Maybe not. In fact, it’s not the destination that matters most — more than two-thirds of Americans believe snacks can make or break a road trip.

A new poll of 2,005 adults reveals that aspects like the snacks (38%), the company (34%), and the stops along the way (30%) are some of the most important parts of a summer road trip. In fact, if given the choice, the top mode of transportation is a car (38%) as opposed to a plane (35%) or a train (18%).

Best road-trip snacks

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of HI-CHEW™, the results showed that seven in 10 (71%) agree that road trips give them a “hall pass” to eat as many snacks as they’d like. Respondents are grabbing chips (47%), cookies (44%), and candy (42%) in addition to traveling with friends (39%), kids (33%), and pets (30%).

Eating on the go is so important that 44 percent even say it is in poor taste to ban eating in the car while on a road trip. Sixty-one percent of respondents even admit they wouldn’t go on a road trip with someone who doesn’t allow snacking.

Despite that, the majority (52%) say each person should bring their own snacks as well as being expected to share, two-thirds (65%) admit there are some treats they would never share with the rest of the car. The snacks respondents are stashing for themselves are those that are chocolatey (49%), fruity (46%), and chewy (42%).

“No matter which destination you are headed to next, snacks are a very important element of a road trip,” says CEO of Morinaga America, Inc.,Teruhiro Kawabe, in a statement. “Whether you are keeping snacks for yourself or sharing them with your road trip company, select a new snack to try along the way. You might find your new favorite treat!”

Young couple snapping selfie while driving
(© Kar tr –

Most popular destinations

If given the opportunity, the most popular road trip destinations include heading across the country (40%), followed by trips up and down the East (38%) and West Coasts (37%). Others would be eager to take the scenic route and travel through the Appalachian Mountains (34%) or historic Route 66 (33%).

Regardless of the route, respondents would ideally like to stop every three hours to refill their snack stash. 

So, what is the golden rule of road-tripping? For many respondents (43%), it’s that everyone uses the bathroom before departure. The other top golden rules of road-tripping were found to be wearing deodorant, but not strong perfume or cologne (39%), the front seat passenger has to assist with directions (38%) and that the driver always gets to choose the music (31%).

“Road trips may look different for everyone – from the route, to the music, and even the snacks,” adds Kawabe. “But everyone can agree that the excitement along the way and memories created with friends or family make for an unforgettable experience.” 

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,005 general population Americans was commissioned by HI-CHEW between April 4 and April 12, 2023. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

About Sophia Naughton

Meet StudyFinds' Associate Editor, Sophia Naughton. Sophia graduated Magna Cum Laude from Towson University with a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication directly focused in journalism and advertising. She is also a freelance writer for Baltimore Magazine. Outside of writing, her best buddy is her spotted Pit Bull, Terrance.

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Associate Editor