Here are some of our Food and Cooking Ideas while Travelling, Camping, or Backpacking
When you’re traveling – either camping, campervanning, or hostelling – you get the opportunity to see amazing places and experience incredible things every day. However, the food you eat on these trips is often less than amazing in comparison. Especially when you’re trying to cook or eat with the limited resources that traveling usually entails.
It might be that you have a camp cooker but no fridge, a cool box but no stove, limited space to keep or carry food, or a very meager budget. So here I’ll share some tips on how to still cook and eat well while traveling.
Food and Cooking Ideas while Travelling, Camping, or Backpacking without a fridge
If you don’t have a fridge, it’s common sense to say avoid buying perishables. But this can really limit your options. So here’s some ideas for breakfast, dinner, and dessert.
If you’re camping, the likelihood is you have a stove of some sorts but not a fridge.
- You can buy a helpful toaster converter to toast bread, bagels, baguette, or muffins over a camping stove.
- Then add scrambled, poached, or fried eggs.
- Add jam, honey, marmalade, tinned beans, or tinned tomatoes.
- You can also make pancakes (flour, water, eggs) and add bananas or other tinned fruits.
- You can make omelets (without milk) and add tinned vegetables.
- Avocados on toast or muffins, with tinned salmon or scrambled eggs.
- Eggy bread (also known as French toast) with bananas or tinned fruit.
All of these options can be flavored with soy sauce, fresh ginger, fresh garlic, fresh herbs, salt, and pepper.
You can add tinned sweetcorn, tinned mushrooms, and other non-refrigerated fresh veg, such as butternut squash, peppers, and onions. You can also supplement them with tinned tuna or salmon.
- Stir fry: Simply cook up mixed veg and add tinned fish if required.
- Noodles: Opt for the healthy dried noodles, not the instant micro noodles and flavour them yourself.
- Pasta: Buy packets of dried pasta or spaghetti and jars of pasta sauce, or even better, buy passata and flavour it with herbs and veg yourself.
- Rice dishes: Simply add mixed veg to boiled rice, or fry it with soy sauce and add egg for egg-fried rice.
- You can make baked potatoes or baked sweet potatoes by wrapping them in tin foil, and add beans or tuna.
- You can make fries, mash (using water instead of milk, and flavouring with mustard).
- Spanish tortilla and patatas bravas: Omelette with potato and other veg, and cubed potatoes in tomato sauce.
- You can also buy tinned soup and tinned chilli, but don’t forget to check the labelling as some tinned soups can be very unhealthy, with high sugar/salt content, so this shouldn’t be an everyday choice.
- Take fruit that doesn’t need refrigerating, such as bananas (store separately to other fruit and don’t worry if the skin goes brown), lemons, oranges, kiwis, peaches, plums, and apples—for vitamins.
- Make s’mores by wrapping graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallow sandwiches in tinned foil and cooking over the bbq—for a sweet treat.
- A handful of nuts and dried fruits, such as raisins—for healthy fats.
- A few squares of dark chocolate—a great source of antioxidants.
Food and Cooking Ideas while Travelling, Camping, or Backpacking without a stove
If you don’t have a stove or cooker, you can just eat food that doesn’t require cooking – especially if you have a fridge, but it can get pretty boring living on cheese sandwiches and bowls of cereal.
Instead try to make use of your environment, such as using free public BBQs in parks and on beaches, or learn to build a campfire to cook over.
You can also buy disposable BBQs pretty cheap. If you’re camping for a while, it’s often cheaper and easier to buy a small camping stove as it can easily fit into a backpack. Then if you don’t want to take it home with you or can’t take it on the plane, you can simply leave it for the next traveler.
Food and Cooking Ideas while Travelling, Camping, or Backpacking without much space
If you’re limited on space because you’re backpacking, it’s best to buy regularly rather than stocking up. Although it’s cheaper to buy in bulk, it can weigh you down and cause you back problems carrying a rucksack that’s too heavy.
If you’re staying in hostels or camping in one place for a while, you can simply work out a meal plan for the time you’re there, and then buy just enough for your stay, rather than trying to lug it from one hostel or campsite to the next.
Tip: If you’re moving from hostel to hostel, you can keep food temporarily cool in a cool box or cool bag by packing them amongst bottles of frozen water if you really need to.
Food and Cooking Ideas while Travelling, Camping, or Backpacking without a small budget
While traveling, you’re likely to be on a budget. To save money, the following tips should help:
- Buy in bulk if you can carry it, as bulk is often cheaper.
- Utilise shared ingredients in hostels.
- Ask others if they’d like to share the costs of bulk shopping with you.
- Utilise “swapping” shelves in campervan rental locations.
- Avoid buying multiple bottles of water by reusing one bottle—though ensure you’re filling up from safe and sanitary sources.
- Check the back of your supermarket receipts for local offers.
- It’s usually cheaper to buy the ingredients and cook it yourself, rather than eating out. But this isn’t always the case—so check local food costs for both.
- If you’re working while traveling, some WooFing jobs offer free food as part of the working conditions.
Whether you’re travelling on foot or in a campervan, staying in hostels or camping—the important things to remember when cooking and eating are:
- Be creative with your food options (you may even come up with a new dish)
- Try to eat as healthily as possible considering the circumstances
- If necessary, you can always supplement your traveling diet with additional vitamins.
Finally, even though you might be on a budget, don’t forget that part of seeing new places includes savoring the local dishes and delicacies, so try to save a little money so you can afford to get the full traveling experience.
Thanks for reading these Food and Cooking Ideas while Travelling, Camping, or Backpacking.