When travelling you usually set yourself a budget. One of the fastest ways to burn through that travel budget is by eating your meals out all the time. Yes it is great to try the local cuisines but it isn’t always good for your bank balance. This is why I am a firm believer in cooking while travelling. Don’t get me wrong, not all of the time as I like to enjoy local delights myself, but a lot of the time. Here are some pointers for making cooking while travelling as easy as possible on your next journey.
Stay in accommodation that includes kitchen facilities
Before you go and book your accommodation check firstly if there are kitchen facilities available. Having access to kitchen facilities, even if they are only basic will help save you money. Many types of accommodation ranging from campervans, caravans, apartments, houses to hostels all have cooking facilities available. Knowing your accommodation has kitchen facilities available, even if you don’t always use them, gives you the flexibility to decide whether or not you will cook your meals to save blowing out your budget.
If you are thinking of staying in hostels during your travels check out HostelWorld before your book. Here you will be able to see what services, including kitchen facilities hostels have.
If you are looking for other accommodation such as a hotel that offers kitchen facilities check out Booking.com. I have found they have the largest range of accommodation with cooking facilities available. Simply read the description of each place to find out what facilities they have available to you.
Ask a new found room-mate to share a cooked meal
Preparing a meal with new friends
If you decide to stay in a hostel but are worried or embarrassed about cooking a meal on your own, then why not ask your new room-mates to share a cooked meal. Shopping and cooking together is a great way to form new friendships, even if they are just for one night. There is no harm in asking, all they can say is no!
Plan your menu/s and buy the basics
Thinking about what you would like to cook, planning your menu and buying the basics will help you save while travelling. So when you know how long you are staying in each place you can work out how many, and which meals you will cook. If you are just staying one night you might want to enjoy a meal out but if staying longer in the one place then I suggest you cook.
You don’t necessarily want to be carrying around large amounts of food with you as you travel so it will be wise to locate where your nearest supermarket or market is as soon as possible. By shopping in the local markets and supermarkets you may find yourself eating some of the freshest seasonal local ingredients around. Foreign grocery stores and markets can be confusing places but can also be fascinating and provide you with interesting tales to tell, plus great food to cook!
Easy to make meals
My easy peasy Spaghetti Bolognaise
One trick to cooking while travelling is to stick with easy-to-make meals that don’t require a lot of ingredients and utensils to make. One of my favourite meals is Spaghetti Bolognaise. Here is my Easy Peasy Spaghetti Bolognaise recipe. By the way, more suggestions can be found in my cookbook Travellers Fare – Fast and Fabulous Meals for Travellers).
I suggest you think about your favourite meals, the ones you know you can cook and work out how you can cook them with limited utensils and ingredients. My suggestions for easy meals include omelet’s, stir fries, noodles and pasta dishes. I also throw together some mean salads from the fresh supplies from the local markets.
One thing you can do is travel with easy to prepare dried foods like rice, noodles and pasta. Then all you need is some hot water and bit of flavouring and voila!. May not be the most nutritious meal around but will be a lot cheaper than going out for a meal, particularly if you are on a tight budget.
What to do with Leftovers
Having leftovers from your meal can be a problem however, hopefully the leftovers can be eaten the next day or will be able to travel with you. So think about the food before you cook it. If you are making an egg dish and won’t be using all the eggs, maybe consider boiling the leftover eggs and taking them to eat as a hard boiled egg the next day! Travelling with some Tupperware or sealable lunch bags will be a great idea and come in very handy here. Or you if you have leftovers can you turn them into ‘Bubble and Squeak’? It is easy to be creative and frugal when you have to be!
Travel with some basic and Utensils
If you have the room in your luggage I would suggest you travel with some basic food and cooking utensils. Why? Because you just don’t know what will be available in the place you will be unless you have done loads of research. Some food I often travel with is pasta, noodles and rice. They are easy to cook as I can usually find some hot water and some flavouring to add to them. Add some salad or veggies and voila, a nutritious and cheap meal.
I also travel with some basic cooking utensils. Here are some of my favourites that don’t take up too much room and helped me prepare a great meal to save my money while travelling. Top of my list is my spork. You can read my review on sporks here. Next on my list is a collapsable bowl followed by my cup and some Tupperware so I can carry leftovers such as eggs I might have boiled for my lunch the next day.
Spork and Collapsable bowl that turns into a plate
To purchase from Amazon Australia click here. Or to purchase from Amazon US store click on the image.
I hope this information on cooking while travelling will help you on your next trip to save you some money while you travel. If you are in need of some recipe inspiration check out my ebook Traveller’s Fare—Fast and Fabulous meals for travellers. I wrote it for the times I am travelling and want to cook my meals. All meals have been created using limited utensils and only a few ingredients – but are still nutritious. Bon appetite!
Sharyn has travelled most of her life thanks to her dad who worked for an airline. In her 20’s she went overseas and spent 4 years living, working, playing and travelling through many countries. Her travels inspire her ‘Live Work and Play’ series of working holiday guides and LiveWorkPlayTravel where she shares her knowledge of travel, being a digital nomad and blogging. Sharyn continues to travel and currently calls Melbourne home.