How do you eat when you're away from home? We are traveling a lot this fall, and most of this traveling involves hotel rooms - as opposed to visits with friends and family. Even worse, the most recent hotel was one of those "resorts" with a restaurant onsite and very little else within easy distance. Even the fast food chains were a car drive away.
What's a food-lover to do? Bring your own food, of course.
We find that traveling is often hard on the tummy and the wallet. Restaurant and fast food portions are huge, and they leave us feeling a little yucky when we're eating prepared food three times a day. Plus conferences and meetings are usually located in places with outrageous prices and terrible quality. (Anyone been to Chicago's convention center lately? $15 for a half sandwich, anyone?)
But we have also learned that it's not so hard to eat healthy and cheap while traveling. It's not about food snobbishness (we like a good In-N-Out burger when we're in California); it's about saving money and eating a little healthier.
Here are a few ways we like to eat better in our hotel room.
• Bring your own coffee - This isn't for everyone, but we just about go crazy without a good cup of coffee in the morning. Those weak bags and hotel coffee pots just don't cut it. We bring a little bag of our own good coffee, and sometimes even the handy and portable Aeropress. (We draw the line at bringing our own grinder, unlike the very committed Intelligentsia barista we recently met.)
• Bake before you go - A home-baked muffin or some homemade granola are great additions to the suitcase. It helps us feel a little more centered, a little more connected to home to carry our own home-cooked food. Plus - cheaper.
• Find a farmers market - Our favorite thing to do when traveling is to find a local market and pick up a few lunch items. It helps us feel more connected to the town; it's the best form of tourism! On this trip we ended up at the Santa Monica farmers market (tough, right) and we walked away with a block of sage cheddar, some very sweet figs, tiny yellow tomatoes, a loaf of olive bread, and some ornamental kale to brighten up the hotel room. This fed us a good lunch for several days, and we felt much more nourished and cheery about our food each afternoon.
What are some of your habits and ideas for better hotel room eating? Do you have any favorite ways to keep your health, budget, and morale intact when traveling?
(Image: Faith Durand)