As important and enjoyable as eating national dishes and trying new food is when you’re on a trip, we all love saving money right? Eating out for three meals a day adds up, especially if you travel often. Realising that food costs were getting a little out of control with the trips we have been on in the last year, I started looking for ways we could save money. I built a kit that not only helps the environment by eliminating the need for single use items, but it also saves us so much money by allowing us to prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner in our hotel rooms.
These six items are a game changer and now go on every trip with us:
1. Water bottle
Save money and unnecessary plastic waste by bringing your own water bottle. So many hotels provide water in the lobby now, so you can fill your water bottle. This way you have water to start the day with or you can take it back up to your room. You no longer need to buy bottles of water. I never realised how dehydrated I would let myself get by not having water to hand in my hotel room, keeping a reusable water bottle to hand has definitely changed my life, I’m never caught out thirsty.
2. Coffee cup
My KeepCup was one of the first reusable items I bought for my travels. Aside from my reusable Starbucks red cup (it’s the only way to drink gingerbread lattes on the go) it’s the only one I have and I take it everywhere.
In addition to saving the world from more single use wastage and saving you money in certain coffee shops who reward you for bringing your own cup with a discount, a reusable coffee cup also has multiple handy uses for eating and drinking on the cheap.
Save yourself from spending money on buying your morning hot beverage by making it up in your room before heading out. Ok it might not be as good but many hotels are stepping up their game by putting coffee machines in rooms or are offering complimentary tea and coffee in the lobby.
Sure, I’ve already mentioned a water bottle, but if you’re going somewhere hot or don’t fancy making another trip down to the lobby to fill up your water bottle again, then bring your coffee cup down and fill it up along with your bottle. Stay hydrated folks!
Pasta in a mug
Of course these aren’t the most nutritious of dinners, but they offer an easy and quick hot meal whilst travelling. Mug Shots are always on offer in our local supermarket so we pick up 6 (for £1) and take them on every trip. Accompanied with snacks, you won’t go hungry. Plus they’re flat and light so they’re so easy to pack.
You will need a kettle to make this and the following, but virtually every room comes equipped with a kettle now. If you don’t have access to one, head out to a coffee shop and ask them to fill you coffee cup with boiling water.
Another hot option is a cuppa soup. Like the pastas above they are flat and easy to pack, plus supermarkets have heaps of options for flavours. Pick up a bread roll from a nearby bakery or supermarket and you’ve got yourself a meal.
When I first started travelling more frequently and for long amounts of time, I used to stash plastic cutlery from the aeroplane to use in hotel rooms. Last summer I bought a metal camping cutlery set and I can’t tell you how useful they have been! I am now never caught short without cutlery in my hotel room so I can make sandwiches, eat pasta or yoghurts etc. Better than that, by swapping to a reusable set, I am saving so much plastic waste.
Whether they’re metal or bamboo, a reusable cutlery set will not only prevent the use/need for plastic cutlery but it will come in more useful than you could ever imagine. These three utensils are amongst the best travel products I have ever bought!
4. Swiss army knife
I bought Michael his Swiss army knife about seven years ago and it took him about two years to use it as something other than a glorified nail file. It now comes with us on every trip because you never realise how much you need something until you don’t have it. There’s always something that needs cutting or opening etc.
Before I bought us cutlery to travel with we were getting by with the knife in Michael’s Swiss army knife. We would sterilise it with boiled water from the kettle and use it to make sandwiches. It worked a treat!
Of course having a drink in a restaurant or bar is one of the joys of being on holiday/vacation, but marked up prices and tips mean that can add up pretty quickly. Say you have a lovely view from your balcony, well what’s stopping you from picking up a bottle of vino and enjoying that view? With a cork screw in your Stanley knife and a couple of coffee cups, you’re good to go.
For pretty much the same as the corkscrew but you can open bottles or beer, cider or soft drinks.
Honestly, I mostly used these to cut tags out of clothes when they annoyed me or thread if button needed stitching back on. They’re also super handy to open tricky food packaging such as cheese.
I both love and hate this can opener. When we were living in Paris we lived in a shoe box (no joke, our entire apartment was smaller than my current bedroom) and there wasn’t much in the way of kitchen utensils, I think it came with four plates, bowls and tumbler glasses. Michael was an intern and my job didn’t pay much either so we owned one saucepan, one frying pan, the smallest chopping board ever, one enormous sharp knife (courtesy of my chef brother) a serving spoon, three mugs and two wine glasses (which I bought when a friend came to visit and I wanted to look classy, of course). I digress, what I was saying is, we didn’t have a lot of money for a long time and as the sensible 21 year old that I was I would rather spend it on Monacos than spring for a can opener. So, I used the can opener on the Swiss army knife, it was character building to say the least, but it worked. I guess what I’m saying is, if you want to open a can of sweetcorn, you can…
5. Collapsible bowl
The biggest thing that I have saved money on by eating it in my hotel room is breakfast. Buying a carton of milk, which we keep in the mini bar fridge, and a box of cereal (or two because Michael and I don’t approve of each other’s cereal choices) and eating it out of our collapsible bowls with our metal spoons has saved us a ridiculous amount of money!
I started eating cereal in my hotel room for breakfast in 2016 when I did my round the world trip and was looking to save money anyway I could. When we were in America we were getting our dinners from the Whole Foods salad and hot food bars, whilst there I would put a couple of small cardboard soup containers in my bag and use them as cereal bowls until the bottom fell out and then I’d get a couple more. Eventually I developed a conscience and bought a couple of collapsible silicone bowls that we could take everywhere with us so not only would I stop using cardboard ones (or nicking them in my case) but I am also always prepared.
Cereal isn’t the only thing you can use them for, we also use ours to make up salads for dinner.
6. Beeswax wraps
Last year I realised I was using plastic sandwich bags on every trip. I only ever took a couple and washed to reuse them, but when I learnt about beeswax wraps, the switch was a no brainer! We have one each and use them to make and wrap up our lunch. I always pack up sandwiches in my hotel room and take them out with me.
Using the beeswax wrap as a surface and the cutlery mentioned above to cut the bread I make sandwiches. We usually buy a pack of bread rolls, butter/spread or mayonnaise, cheese, turkey slices and lettuce which we keep in the mini bar fridge (not the bread).
PFH Top Tip: If you have breakfast included in your hotel pocket a few peanut butters/butters OR if you’re really brave, and I’ve done it more times than I could count, make up a couple of sandwiches at the table then craftily put it in your beeswax wrap and drop it in your bag with a banana. Voila, lunch for the day!
Think of all the plastic waste you’ll be preventing by not using sandwich bags or cling film/plastic wrap. Plus keep them on you and anytime you need to wrap up something for later, you can!