I'll be driving almost non-stop (no hotels). I have some frozen curry and other things I'd like to heat up as I travel on down the line. Where is it possible to use find a microwave to use?

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    will they just let me walk in and insert my bucket of food into their heating unit? Commented Jan 30, 2015 at 20:19
  • you are an hero. Commented Jan 30, 2015 at 20:23
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    You want a gas station that has an attached "mart" or a 7-11 or something like that. They usually sell some food that you can heat up (like burritos) so there should be a microwave.
    – mkennedy
    Commented Jan 30, 2015 at 21:15
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    @mkennedy Some convenience store microwave ovens don't actually have timers on them, but presets (e.g. 1, 2, 3, 4) and you have to guess how long the microwave will actually run. Commented Jan 30, 2015 at 23:35
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    I asked for it at a 7-11. They were very helpful.
    – JordanBelf
    Commented Nov 24, 2015 at 0:18

8 Answers 8


You can buy a microwave that operates on 12 volts. They aren't as powerful as mains voltage ones (600 watts or so, compared to 1500 watts) but they do the trick. You can buy them from places that cater to RVers or mail order.

Here is one example

Note that even at 600 watts, the current draw is 55 amps. You should plan on wiring it directly to your car battery (bypassing the car's fusebox) and also make sure your alternator is up to the task. I.e., if you plug it into the cigarette lighter (which is usually 15-20 amps), you will blow the fuse.

I would also be negligent if I did not take the opportunity to introduce you to the wonders of under-hood foil cooking. Perfect for tandoori chicken on the road.

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    I could kiss you. Commented Jan 30, 2015 at 21:56
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    Note that these may be designed for trucks and campers. The current draw on a car may be too much (and you might blow a fuse). Check the manuals for both the car and the appliance first.
    – user13097
    Commented Jan 30, 2015 at 23:08
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    @MichaelT - I said that in my answer and you won't blow a fuse if you wire directly to the battery although you might hurt the alternator. Not sure why you any upvotes.
    – RoboKaren
    Commented Jan 30, 2015 at 23:33
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    @RoboKaren maybe the wording? or that people wanted to up vote that comment to again highlight the importance of it. There's also the bit that I was partially mentioning this after SztupY's comment and that was fresh in the minds of the readers (mine too - I had mostly forgotten you mentioned it in the answer when reading the preceding comment)? Lots of options.
    – user13097
    Commented Jan 31, 2015 at 20:23
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    You can buy a propane stove on Amazon for around $25, a canister of fuel around $10. Then you just need matches, water and a small pot.
    – copper.hat
    Commented Jan 31, 2015 at 20:43

TA Travel centers and similar truck-stop like facilities might be your best bet. They cater to people spending lots of time on the road. They often have showers and other facilities that go beyond regular retail restaurant/gas station stops

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    You are an also an hero. Commented Jan 30, 2015 at 20:35
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    There are other chains with similar services, also. Commented Jan 30, 2015 at 22:32
  • @LorenPechtel such as?
    – Ben Creasy
    Commented Feb 2, 2022 at 2:03

In addition to the other excellent answers, from personal experience when you are farther away from larger highways there are less likely to be large "truck stops" and travel centers. However, gas stations are generally run by clerks who are usually bored and generally friendly, and they rarely if ever object to you using the gas station microwave for your own bring-in food.

Just as when stopping to use the bathroom, it's polite to buy some small item like a bottle of water, soda, souvenir, snack, etc, or just to top off your vehicles tank with gasoline. That way you are officially a "paying customer", and it is extremely rare that anyone objects (or cares) if you use their sink, microwave, bathroom, etc.

Indeed this can be a good way to save money and eat healthier while on the road, while still respecting individual business owners hospitality and good will. When in doubt, just ask something like "do you mind if I use the microwave to heat up my lunch/snack while I'm here?" If you do this while in line to pay for your gas/small items, I have never been turned down or given a disapproving look. Just clean up after yourself and you should have little to no trouble, and if they say "no" then you can likely just drive a block or so and try again at another station.


I bought the Microwave and we use it on long trips. It was a little tricky getting the connection to the battery, but once that was done, it works very well. It also can be used in motels when you stop. I went back to find a link for you guys, but the AC/DC model is now marked as discontinued. They still sell the DC only model. Here is the link. http://www.roadtrucker.com/12-volt-microwave-wavebox/12-volt-microwave.htm. It's not cheap, at $300, so before spending that kind of money you might want to take a look at the other cooking items they have which are much cheaper. Also they do take a lot of power, but with the high output alternators in the cars today you should not have any trouble. There was a little stove that we bought about 5 years ago that was only about $30, maybe $40 bucks and that worked pretty good. You could plug that into the lighter. It took a little time to heat up food, but you could keep driving until the food was ready.


Whole foods almost always has public microwaves in the eating areas of the restaurant. Next sentence I also have found 7-Eleven sometimes have customer accessible cents next sentence I do that I'd eat healthy on the road all the time and I'm always looking for my Ruede since I bring my own food next sentence courteous and buy something that's expensive specially at whole foods next sentence another place it's another sure when our place is college campuses we have public microwave for student so if you go to a college campus somewhere and find the cafeteria specially community college there's always a microwave there so to summarize since I do this all the time and I'm all stars in my car for lunch Whole Foods always has them and college campuses always have them so I make a point of working at those places also some employers have accessible cafeterias that might grocery store


Some coffeeshops may also have them. For example it seems that some Espresso Royale branches (Midwest) have microwaves.

For chains like Espresso Royale, I don't think the staff there will really give a damn if you microwave your curry for a few minutes; indeed, they probably won't even notice.


I found one at Arco gas station with a food mart. I bought some drink and they let me use the microwave oven. It's so much better than to buy food from some shitty restaurants: healthy, economy, good taste from own cooking.


I don't know if this also applies in the US, but I've notices that Mcdonald usually have a microwave in their fast food restaurants. I think they are meant for heating baby food.

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    In which country(ies) did tou see a microwave for customers inside a Mcdonalds?
    – gmauch
    Commented Feb 1, 2015 at 13:49
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    I don't recall ever seeing this in the US. Commented Feb 1, 2015 at 17:34
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    Many McDonald's are run as franchises, so it's conceivable that somewhere in the US there are McDonald's which make available such microwaves. But I've never seen one.
    – user8803
    Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 15:44
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    I've never seen this but it's not a bad idea.
    – DA.
    Commented Feb 3, 2015 at 1:28

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