Never Compromising on Good Food When Travelling
Self-catering holidays are a great way of feeding the family without having to rely on local restaurants or pay a premium for meal packages, especially if cooking for your group is something you enjoy. It is important to make it a highlight and not a chore.
However, it can have its downsides. If you want to cook but don’t want it to ruin your break, read on to discover some of our top tips for travel cooking the next time you head off on a self-catering adventure.
Pre-Planning Before The Trip
Research & Planning
Don’t stress too much about replicating your diet at home, especially if you’re travelling in another country. You will save money, eat the freshest seasonal ingredients, and spend less time cooking if you imitate the local eating style as well as incorporating some home comfort foods in between.
Do some investigation in the following areas:
- Ingredients, spices & staples – Find out what the local supermarkets have to offer in terms of available and acceptable produce and ingredients. For example, black beans are a staple in Brazil, but it is not uncommon that some members of the family/group will not touch them with a barge pole even if they were starving. Or, fresh fish is available in counters all over Los Angeles to make some good sushi/sashimi, but not all LA supermarkets stock light soya sauce or wasabi.
- Get in touch with your self-catering accommodation hosts to find out what they have stocked in their kitchens as it can range from absolutely nothing, not even salt & pepper to fresh ground coffee beans. While you send over an email to find out, enquire what kitchen equipment they have available for use from a proper kitchen knife to BBQ equipment
This one is particularly useful as it will be the basis for a successful cooking trip. With what you’ve found out from your research, make a list of To-Buy and To-Bring for both food and equipment.
Pack any must-have gadgets. If there’s a kitchen gadget that you simply can’t do without and you doubt they’ll have one at your holiday accommodation, then don’t be afraid to pack it in your case along with any other must-have items.
The same goes for food items, prioritising those that you really cannot be without and those that are too expensive to buy at destination.
Use our LeanPac® System Combination Bundleslike our multi-purpose extra large wash bagand travel cubesto keep essential kitchen and food items separate from the rest of your packing or use our VacPacdry/wet bag for picnics as a cooler bag.
Creating Away From Home Menus
Don’t be afraid to experiment. One of the best bits about travelling somewhere new is that you get to sample their culture and food. Trying out new national dishes using local produce isn’t just great fun; you might discover a few dishes that you’ll be able to recreate when you get home.
With the information available from your research produce a matrix system of available produce & ingredients, based on e.g. food groups to aid in creating simplified menus using whatever is available. For example, from the table below, one can have a meal of BBQ fish marinated in oil, salt/pepper, with grilled potato & vegetable mix of garlic, onion, peppers and carrots or hamburgers made from bread mince meat patties & fresh salad using mashed can tomatoes as ketchup or egg based frittata for a lunch picnic!
Wash Before Use
If you’re staying at an apartment that has everything you’ll need to prepare your own meals, we’d highly recommend washing anything you’ll be using as part of your kitchen creations before you get started, even if they look clean at first glance.
Guests are expected to wash anything they’ve used during their stay before they leave, but on occasion, there can be some food residue left on pans, plates and cutlery. They may also have been sat gathering dust or cleaned with something you wouldn’t normally use, so make sure you give them a thorough wash before you start to prep, chop and mix.
Take It In Turns
You might love cooking, but doing it more than a few time or daily while you’re on holiday can become a bit of a chore.
If you’re travelling as a family or part of a bigger group of friends, take it in turns to be the chef so that you can spend the extra time enjoying the usual holiday activities that your destination has to offer. If so, make sure you plan the menus as a team.