When we traveled to Norway and Sweden last year, we had our first experiences with Airbnb. They were all great! I know that’s not always the case, but we were fortunate to stay in some lovely spaces that fit our needs and budget.
One Airbnb in Norway was a mountain cabin with a sod roof. The cabin slept 12, which was perfect for my family, my brother & family, and my parents as we took our trip of a lifetime together.
In this part of Norway, farmers let their sheep loose into the mountain during the spring & summer, and round them up in the fall. Whenever we were at the cabin, our background noise was sheep grazing and strolling past our cabin. At night, we fell asleep to the sound of cowbells (in this case, would they be called “sheepbells”?).
We created so many memories at that cabin.
When we go on extended trips, we like to make sure we have access to a kitchen. Our Scandinavia trip was 20 days long and we only ate in restaurants twice. On our 12-Day Disney World vacation, we ate at restaurants 3 times. On a 13-day trip to Colorado we never ate in a restaurant.
On our Disney trip, we were able to pack enough food for our family of five to spend 12+ hours at the parks without buying restaurant food. I explain how in this post.
Cooking our own food allows us to spend more of our vacation budget on experiences – admission fees, add-on excursions, etc – and less of our budget on food. We typically end up spending the same amount of money on food while on vacation as we would if we were at home.
When we cook on vacation, we like using ingredients where we don’t have to buy a large container, knowing we won’t possibly use it all up while we’re on vacation. I’m not a fan of checking out of our hotel with food left behind in the fridge!
That’s why I’ve found 9 fast, easy dinners while traveling that use up ALL of the ingredient, so there are no ingredients left behind when you head home. Each of these meals take less than 30 minutes to make – because who wants to spend all of their vacation in the kitchen? Not me!
I love starting our vacation with a kitchen full of food and leaving at the end with an empty fridge and cupboards, knowing nothing went to waste — including our money!
We pack at least one meal & snacks in our suitcase.
We like to head to the grocery store when we first get to our destination, but that can’t always happen. I like to pack at least one meal & some snacks in our suitcase, just in case.
Nothing fancy, but just enough to tide us over until we can get to the grocery store. I choose items that are small and can get shoved in any available suitcase space. Examples of what I pack include:
I also pack a bunch of my own baggies in snack, sandwich, quart, and gallon size. We need them every day on vacation, but not enough to justify buying entire boxes of baggies at our destination.
Have a shopping list and (try to) stick with it.
Once we can get to the grocery store, we work through our shopping list and try our very best not to deviate from it. It’s easy to get distracted! I need to remind myself that anything we end up leaving behind is money down the drain. A few tips on making your grocery run easier:
Take a brief inventory of the kitchen before you shop.
Is there a crock pot? Storage containers? Colander? Muffin tins? Double checking what you have (and what you don’t have) may adjust your meal plan. I typically assume there’s not a crock pot, but I’ve been proven wrong before. If there are no storage containers, I may buy some extra gallon-sized Ziploc bags for leftovers.
Behold the wonder of rotisserie chicken.
If I’ve planned dinners with chicken, I like to buy rotisserie chicken. It is so much easier & faster to shred a rotisserie chicken than to prepare my own. It already comes seasoned and I don’t have to buy any seasoning. It saves a lot of time, and they are yummy!
9 few-ingredients easy dinners while traveling:
Oil, onion, garlic, and cheese are optional. We usually skip the optional ingredients but use shredded cheese (we use shredded cheese for several meals)
We typically don’t buy oil, but sometimes have a little butter or use sour cream to brown the tortillas.