When you’re travelling abroad it’s so tempting to eat out for every single meal, whether it’s coffee and cake for breakfast at a cute cafe, lunch at the local eating hotspot, or a delicious dinner looking out to the sunset (with a glass of vino of course). We understand completely and know how hard it is to avoid popping into every delicious restaurant or cafe you see. When you’re at home it’s different because you know you’ll always get another chance, but on holiday it’s hard to miss out on all enticing places to eat, because you never know when you’ll next be back.
What we suggest is a compromise: eating out for some of your meals, choose breakfast, lunch or dinner out, each day of your holiday, but then all the other meals cook at the hotel or resort you are staying at. Ultimately the goal here is to be able to save you money so you can enjoy even more amazing holidays abroad! Here are some money and time saving holiday cooking tips:
Stay somewhere that offers self-catering kitchens
This may seem obvious, but the first step is choosing a hotel or resort that offers a self-catering option. This means you will have a kitchen where you can cook food in your room, rather than having to go out and spend a lot extra eating out. Otherwise the most you can expect is kettle and maybe a mini-fridge.
Many timeshare resorts and hotels offer self-catering rooms in their apartments, so take a look at this list of our members for different options around the world. It might not be the same as the kitchen you are used to back home, but we’re sure it will have all the equipment you need to rustle up some great meals.
Try to plan what you’re going to eat before food shopping
This tactic also goes for when you are food shopping back at home, but applies even more so on holiday. The best way to avoid impulse buys and things you don’t really need, like that huge bar of chocolate or tasty looking pack of cookies, is to plan what you are going to eat for the next couple of days or even your whole trip. This is especially true when you are on holiday as you will probably come across a variety of interesting products in different languages.
If you don’t have a plan, before you know it you’ll be walking out the shop with bags of goodies and nothing to make a proper meal. So before heading out food shopping, have a list of what to buy for your breakfasts, lunches and dinners, and whatever you do, don’t go shopping when you’re hungry! This will save you money on not buying unnecessary items and time on not wandering aimlessly around the shop.
Don’t forget the basics
There are basic items that are essential if you want to be able to cook delicious meals when you are at your holiday destination. These include salt, pepper and olive oil and should preferably be purchased on your first food shop after arrival.
Many resorts or hotels have their own supermarket which sell practically all of these basic items you will need for a self-catering holiday, and are often sufficient to do all of your food shopping for your entire stay. This means you can save time not needing to head out to other supermarkets or food stores, plus the resort shop will often offer a discount for guests, saving you even more money in comparison to eating out.
Buy locally produced items
While this is certainly not always the case, very often the food products that are produced within the country you are staying will be cheaper than buying foreign imports. This of course is because there has not been import costs added onto the final price. So while it can be tempting to buy products that you used to back home such as baked beans for British travellers, you will often find that these are at a premium cost as opposed to what you would normally pay.
Instead it is much more cost effective to stick to products that the locals eat themselves. These will not be seen as novelty items by the food shop or supermarket so the costs will be much cheaper.
Plan to make simple and tasty staple meals
As you are on holiday, you don’t want to be spending all your time cooking of course, so plan to make simple and tasty meals. This will keep the costs down and the time you need to spend in the kitchen.
In the mornings cereal or toast is a great option, as these are filling, cheap and easy to find and prepare. For lunches you could prepare baguettes with fillings such as salad, cheese or meat which also have the added benefit that you can wrap these up and take with you to eat while you exploring the local area or lounging at the beach. Add to this some items of fruit, a bag of nuts and a bottle of water and you have an easy, healthy lunch. For dinner you could cook a delicious pasta dish with a salad to share, or other meals that are quick and yummy like rice and vegetables. All of these take minimal time to prepare, can be relatively tasty, will fill you up and save you money.
Don’t waste your leftovers
Ideally, in the self-catering apartment that you are staying in there will be tupperware where you can store any food you don’t finish to eat the next day. If not you can always head out to buy cling-film to wrap over the dishes to keep things fresh in the fridge such as salads.
Food waste is a massive problem across most developed countries in the world, so by cutting this out on your holiday this is good for both your holiday budget and the environment. It will also mean again that you can save time as well. If there is something you didn’t finish for dinner the night before such as pasta or rice, you could eat this the next day for lunch. If it’s in a tupperware container you can take it out with you for a picnic on the beach.
We hope this simple tips have given you some great ideas on how to save money and time on holiday cooking. If you have any other suggestions, please let us know via our social media channels! If you enjoyed this post and think it could benefit your friends and family then please share it. Enjoy your next trip!