One time, in bumper-to-bumper traffic on a cross-country road trip, my sister and I cracked open a can of olives. We'd actually been traveling for three days and had gone through as many cans, if not more.
See, olives are the perfect travel snack. They're packed with flavor and super filling, and they offer a jolt of decadence. Olives always feel like a treat, and that's so often what I need when I'm on a plane with my contact lens drying into brittle discs, or on the fifth hour of a road trip with six more hours to go. They're also shelf-stable and always yummy, even when you're flying and everything starts to taste like cardboard.
The only thing holding olives back is that they are not particularly portable. Have you ever delicately poured the remaining salty broth from a can of olives into an old coffee cup while trudging along the highway? It's one of those moments where you quietly think I've made a huge mistake right before a pothole turns said olive juice into tie-dye for your T-shirt.
Luckily, I never have to do this delicate olive dance again — and I can still eat olives while I travel — thanks to advancements in olive-packing technology. Now, whenever I'm catching a flight or hitting the road, I always bring a couple packs of Oloves.
Buy: Oloves, $15 for 12, 1.1-ounce packs
I got hooked after a friend pulled a pack out of her bag and handed them off when I was halfway to hangry. It was like snack sorcery, being gifted a handful of juicy, seasoned olives when I was anticipating a bland granola bar or bruised apple.
Oloves are peppery and salty, flush with that green olive tang. They're slightly softer than your typical green olive, but packed with flavor. Each package has a serving size that I would define as a small handful of olives. It's technically two servings, but I always eat the whole thing.
My favorite is the chili and oregano pack, which is super herby with a spicy kick. Not a chili fan? There are three other flavors to choose from, and two of them aren't spicy. Pick between basil and garlic, lemon and rosemary, and chili garlic (these are black olives!).
Everything about this snacking experience is streamlined for when you're traveling. The olives are pitted, the servings are reasonable, and they don't take up much space. The saltiness always reminds me to drink more water, which is important yet so easy to forget when my brain is stuffed with travel tasks. But they don't give me the dry-mouth feeling that a lot of healthy travel snacks — like almond butter packets or dried fruit — sometimes do. The kick of pepper also wakes me up a bit when my energy is lagging.
Oloves also make me feel weirdly fancy and relaxed. I eat them slowly and savor the treat nature of one of my favorite foods. I remember to be grateful to not have to carry a can opener or nervously decant olive juice in the passenger seat.
Oloves are available in a few grocery stores. Your best bet, though, is to get them on Amazon, where you can pick a pack of your ideal flavor or get a variety box and try them all out.
What's your go-to travel snack?