Many budget and long-term travelers swear by cooking their own meals while on the road. But if you’re new to the game, it can be intimidating.
From sourcing fresh ingredients to packing the right kitchen appliances, you’ll have to be resourceful and creative to whip up good meals during your travels.
If you want to learn more about how to create homemade meals while on the road, here are a few ways you can step up your cooking game.
1) Create A Shopping List Before You Leave
Although many people find travelling fun and exhilarating, it can be tough to balance it with everyday responsibilities, especially if you’re with children.
A surefire way to make sure you always have the ingredients you need for your meals is to create a shopping list before setting off on your road trip.
This will help save time and energy as you won’t be wandering around the grocery store thinking up and looking for ingredients to buy. It also helps keep your budget in check so you don’t end up spending more than planned.
Moreover, having a list of ingredients will also ensure that there’s enough variety in your future dishes, which can help keep you from getting bored with the same meals over and over.
Travelling can bring you to places where your favourite ingredients may not be readily available, so having a list can help you prepare for these situations and plan for alternatives.
2) Find Inspiration in Local Markets
Being out and about exposes you to new ingredients that may be absent in your local market or grocery. If you’re low on ingredients, exploring local markets is a great way to stock up on fresh produce, herbs and spices.
Furthermore, you can take this opportunity to sample the local cuisine and find inspiration for your next meal. Local markets are usually filled with vendors selling fresh produce, so you can take this chance to learn more about the region and its food culture. Who knows, maybe you can bring home something new that you can use to make for your family and friends.
3) Simplicity is Key
You don’t have to go all-out and whip up some five-course meals on the road. It’s perfectly okay to keep your personal menu short and simple.
When you’re short on time and energy, opt for one-pot dishes like stews, soups and pasta. These types of dishes require minimal preparation and cooking time but still provide you with a delicious and filling meal.
You’re also bound to find local ingredients that can be used as garnishes for pasta meals, so you can take this opportunity to explore the local scene and sample the regional spices.
Microwavable meals such as noodles, rice, and jambalaya are also excellent backups if your vacation rental doesn’t have space for a small kitchen.
4) Pack the Right Kitchen Tools
A trusty travel kitchen kit is essential for any budget traveller, especially those who are planning to travel for months at a time.
This is especially true if you’re looking to cook most of your meals from scratch. When packing kitchen equipment and supplies, try to keep the items small and light.
Here are a few must-have essentials you should pack in your kitchen toolkit:
- Meat thermometer
- Chef’s knife
- Can opener
- Lightweight cutting board
If you have to pass by security checkpoints in airports and the like, be sure to check in this toolkit to prevent the security checkpoint from confiscating your items.
It’s also often the case that your rental space will provide its own pans, glasses, and plates, but if you want to be extra careful and have extra space to spare, you can bring your own personal kitchen and dining set.
5) Don’t Feel Obligated to Do All the Cooking
When travelling with a group of people, you don’t have to always be the one doing cooking duties. You can organise potluck dinners and share the load with your travel buddies.
And if your travel companions can’t cook to save their lives, you can always look outwards and find local caterers like Gathar to take care of the cooking.
With these catering services, you can get professional chefs to come cook for you in your own vacation rental kitchen, giving you a chance to taste your destination’s local cuisine without the hassle that comes with cooking and cleaning the kitchen.
6) Bring Some Spices With You
While you can’t bring your entire kitchen with you, you can bring a few basic seasonings that you can’t live without. Salt, paprika, black pepper, basil, thyme, garlic powder and onion powder should suffice for most recipes.
Having these items on hand can transform any dish into a classic meal that you and your travel buddies can enjoy.
While buying spices from a local market is an exciting way to sample the local fare, having a few trusty spices by your side can go a long way in brightening up any meal. And besides, salt and pepper are kitchen essentials no matter where you are.