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Eating in your room - it's more than just economical, no?

RS himself and contributors to the forum often suggest picnicking or eating in your room now and then during a trip as a way to economize, especially in pricey locales. True enough.

But there's other reasons to put together a meal there in your hotel room or rental spot besides, or on top of, saving some expense, no? What has motivated you to do so?

For instance, folks have mentioned how they like the chance to shop in a local grocery or market day. Or it could be as simple as being too tired to go out. Or not wanting to search for a restaurant that caters to your particular preferences/requirements.

My immediate motivation for this topic thread is a recent stay at a Residence Inn - the uppitier version of Marriott's all-suites sub-brands. I can't get my head around one item in particular in the furnished kitchenette in the room: there was a vegetable peeler in the cutlery drawer. This stopped me in my tracks, and I can't get past it easily -- who is not just cooking dishes that involve peeling veggies while they're on vacation, but is actually buying things like carrots and potatoes, or even crazier, packing them along?
Is that even a vacation?

The Residence Inn suites also have fancy dishwashers, but I can take that in easier than I can a vegetable peeler somehow, even though I don't own a dishwashing machine, and since moving out of my parents' place many decades ago have only ever had one briefly. So answer the question about your motivation(s) for eating in the room, but also help me understand Marriott putting a peeler in the drawer in the kitchenettes.

Posted by
2113 posts

I refuse to cook while on vacation. I hate coming up with different meal plans each night so I take a vacation from any type of kitchen duty! We did some takeout back to our room this past fall while we were in Portugal. That was because we were tired and for Covid reasons. If I were going to cook, I’d not need a vegetable peeler so I can’t answer your question as to why one was in your drawer. It’s a mystery for sure🤔

Posted by
15723 posts

I stay in many extended stay hotels--Residence Inn, Staybridge Suites, Hyatt House, etc.

You're on vacation. Not everyone is. Many of the people staying are there for work. Sometimes long term projects. It has become their temporary home. They don't want to eat out every night.

I've met construction workers, project engineers, health workers, and even an attorney in town for a long trial. In some areas there are those who are getting medical treatments.

During the pandemic, I lived in a Residence Inn for 16 months. I ran into someone I knew from the area because she had a fire in her home and was living in the hotel while her home was being repaired.

I'm currently in one for an extended stay (one month). If you looked in my refrigerator you'd find all types of produce, meats, cheeses. This is my down time from traveling and I'm glad I don't have to eat out all the time. It's like having my own apartment but with hotel services.

So the peeler comes in handy.

These hotels also have washers and dryers which is an extra plus.

Posted by
86 posts

We often prefer to picnic or cook while we’re travelling. Admittedly we are slow travellers, preferring multi night stays with plenty of ‘down time’, but we just don’t enjoy eating out every night. For a combination of reasons, but mostly because we just don’t enjoy sitting in a restaurant every evening, especially if it’s busy/noisy, and find it hard to get healthy food combinations in the quantities we prefer.

I quite enjoy cooking and don’t find it particularly onerous to pick up a few ingredients to make a simple meal, I even used a peeler to make mashed potatoes the other day.

Posted by
2403 posts

My husband is more adventurous with food than I and my 16 year old are. My husband detests the idea of cooking while on vacation. But we like to rent apartments. Inevitably, about a week and a half into the trip, my son and I are tired of playing menu roulette: will we like what we order? So we get stuff for sandwiches (usually amazing sandwiches!). Sometimes we’re just sick of eating out 3 meals a day and want some cereal instead. I’m not used to eating out every day, so eating out multiple times a day is just way too much food. Or you just want something familiar.

Posted by
4308 posts

It saves a ton of money and time to eat breakfast in our room and our first choice are hotels with free breakfasts or at least a fridge so we can bring in fruits, yogurt and drinks. We also like to sample local cheeses and appreciate a fridge if we find something we like for a snack of cheese and crackers.

I doubt we'd ever miss not having a peeler, but we may take advantage a have raw carrots on hand for a healthy snack.

Posted by
4950 posts

I am regularly a solo traveler. I have zero qualms about dining alone in restaurants...I enjoy the experience.

I do not enjoy cooking at home alone (I do utilitarian style cooking) and I generally say that something has gone very wrong if I find myself cookimg on vacation.

A fridge in my hotel room can be handy, but a recent kitchenette went completely ignored.

No vegetable peelers for me on vacation!

Posted by
6770 posts

It can also save a lot of time. I would never build my day around dinner in the evening, as I want to maximise my days, and my timings during the day can be very volatile.
Later this week I am on what is supposed to be a vacation, with gentle day trips. At the moment it is degenerating into a working trip with potentially 2 or 3 very long days. If, as looks possible, I have been out from 0830 to 2230 on two or even 3 of the days (having travelled well over 200 miles in the day) all I want to do is to grab something quickly in the evening, at Tesco or wherever. I have a "free" Scottish breakfast (more accurately included in the rate) so that will give me a good start to each day.
I am also often an early riser, so frequently don't necessarily want to be hanging around for an included breakfast at 0800 or even later in guest houses.

Posted by
2017 posts

As another solo traveler, I do a 50/50 split.I often pick up food or dinner from a supermarket and some vegetables from the farmers market. People who talk about living like a local and then go to eat every day aren't really doing that.

Plus it saves a ton of money that I can save to go some actually nice trips.

Some people are foodies. I'm not and I rather sample the local markets. Neither is bad.

Posted by
7727 posts

We often try to find a place with a refrigerator, if it has a few other kitchen items, great. I hesitate to say we "picnic" in the room, rather we will have some fruit, juice, or yogurt for breakfast, before heading out for coffee; maybe some mid-day snacks, and often wine, beer, some cheese or other market finds for a late afternoon mezze or tapa.

A full meal? Rarely, not even takeout. We did do a wonderful pasta in Sicily at a house we were staying in, only because sitting by the pool, as opposed to going to a distant restaurant, sounded nice.

Posted by
4355 posts

Well my reason is never the money, but I will echo what CW said. I don’t like cooking at home and it isn’t part of my fun while traveling.

Only reason I would eat dinner in my hotel room is that I am completely worn out, can’t think about food or getting to a restaurant, and am not particularly hungry. It occasionally happens.

But if a place is going to have a kitchen for cooking, a vegetable peeler would be very welcome. Like a good knife. Or a cutting board.

I do stay about 1/3 - 1/2 the time in apartments, where I will make coffee. But almost never cook.

Posted by
2744 posts

We love to eat in our room or apartment, especially if it’s a nice place or has a great view. We normally get takeout rather than cook. Saving money is a big part of it, but it’s also more relaxing. Our days can be very busy and tiring and in those cases, we are not really interested in going out for dinner.

Posted by
7468 posts

I traveled several times a year for work - usually a stay of 1-2 weeks at a company site. I was glad when the company hotel choices included something with a mini-kitchen. I would stop at a grocery store and pick up produce, packaged nuts, baked chicken, etc. to eat in the evenings during the week. I usually had some work on my laptop in the evening, and it was nice to have a quick healthy meal vs. something fast-food or a dinner out that took too much time. When traveling for a week, it was important to keep the same type of food routine, so I felt good.

On vacation trips, I probably wouldn’t be using a vegetable peeler because I just wash the carrots roughly with my hands and don’t peel them. But, if I’m traveling solo, I pick up something at a grocery store for about a third of my dinners.

Posted by
11497 posts

Like Ethel, we have multi-night (sometimes multi week) stays when we travel and apartments allow us to settle in and avoid restaurant fatigue. For example, the restaurants in small mountain towns in Switzerland have a sameness to their menus and we tire of those choices. We like being able to cook something healthy, something in a flavor profile we are craving, and saving a bit of money while relaxing “at home” after a busy day. I will sometimes make sandwiches for the train when we are having a long travel day.

Yes, I have used the veggie peeler. I even bought one once for an apartment that had a crappy one. And on our two month trips I take a set of 3 inexpensive knives, those multi-colored ones you see with the safety sheathes. I am a cook and I enjoy it, although when I worked I did far less cooking when we traveled so I get it for those of you on faster-paced.

Even when we have a hotel room without a proper kitchen we will sometimes do a selection of salumi, bread, cheese, and fruit as a light in-room feast while watching a movie.

Posted by
2267 posts

Echoing what others has mentioned, I can find eating out three meals a day for up to three weeks can be repetitive, exhausting, and sometimes boring. A picnic of a dinner in my accommodation can be the break I need. (The cost savings is a bonus.)

Heck, there are times I have a picnic of a dinner at home. An easy sandwich or cheese and crackers, especially after I've had a larger, later lunch.

Posted by
3995 posts

If I found a peeler in my hotel kitchen, I’d be thinking of cocktail citrus peels if I had a fantastic view from my balcony…. Seriously I’ve spent more than 2 years in hotel rooms over the years, eaten plenty of room picnics and never seen in Europe nor wanted a peeler. For all of the reasons Frank II mentions above I could see them being a very useful tool to have on occasion.

Oh and our reasons for most, past picnics were working in the room and restaurants not open or too tired to go out.

Posted by
294 posts

The last several times I've stayed in a residence type hotel in the US with an advertised "full kitchen", the "full kitchen" meant a microwave, utensils and dishes including microwaveable cookware, a bar sink and either a mini-fridge or full size fridge with freezer. You could ask for a hot plate and skillet from the front desk.

I remember when motels with kitchenettes actually had an apartment size range.

I've been disappointed lately that the mini-fridges in the rooms no longer have a freezer compartment. In the summer, I would always put several plastic water bottles in the freezer and use them to keep the other drinks in the cooler cold for the next day's outings. It was also nice to have a really cold drink of water when they thawed out by the end of the day.

Picnicking in the room? Usually if it's late, I'm pooped and just need something to eat before going to bed. Or would rather eat breakfast in the room instead of the free fare offered by the hotel.

Posted by
88 posts

Our reasons for eating in the room are wanting a smaller dinner/snack as we eat our main meal at lunch and I have reflux so can't have a big meal too late in the day. Also, we prefer to have simpler, healthier options and if the hotel doesn't have breakfast included or it is only a roll or pastry and coffee, we'd prefer to get our own food and not hassle finding an open café early in the morning. Plus, as others have said, shopping in local markets can be fun and educational!

Posted by
467 posts

I am a mostly solo traveler who eats in more often than not on vacation. I tend to eat breakfast in my Air BnB, eat lunch/snack/coffee out, then eat in again for dinner (often, not always).

When I travel with my husband we'll eat dinner out more often, but when I'm solo, I don't want to linger over a long, leisurely dinner. I'd rather be out sightseeing, and then just fix myself some pasta, or salad, or cheese, bread and fruit in my kitchen. I don't do heavy duty cooking on vacation - I'll pick up fresh pasta and make a simple sauce, or put a couple of sausages in a skillet and sautee some greens, or have them over a salad.

I really enjoy visiting grocery stores when I travel and seeing what I can buy. Often the breads, meats and cheeses, even from some chain, are much better than what I get at home. I picked up some prepared saffron risotto from a grocery store in Florence and had it in my Air BnB with an arugula salad and a glass of wine. It was some of the most delicious risotto I've ever had.

There's something about being on vacation, when I don't HAVE to cook, that, perversely, makes me want to cook. It's when I'm at home, it's 5:30. I have nothing planned, and people are telling me they're hungry, that makes me not want to set foot in the kitchen.

Lastly, about the peeler: I'd use it if I were traveling with my husband and assembling a salad for a meal. He hates skin on his cucumber, though it doesn't bother me. I'd use the peeler on a cucumber, but in its absence, I'd just use a knife.

Posted by
15723 posts

The last several times I've stayed in a residence type hotel in the US with an advertised "full kitchen", the "full kitchen" meant a microwave, utensils and dishes including microwaveable cookware, a bar sink and either a mini-fridge or full size fridge with freezer. You could ask for a hot plate and skillet from the front desk.

Sounds like Home2Suites by Hilton.

Posted by
8662 posts

Sometimes you just don't want a three-hour cultural experience, you just want to eat.

Posted by
31 posts

Don't laugh - but we always travel with a vegetable peeler when we go international. And with a day or two of arrival we buy a paring knive (we travel with carryon). We love our veggies and always buy carrots, oranges, apples, melons, tomatoes or whatever looks good at a grocery store or fruit market for afternoon snacks or when resting in our room before heading out for dinner. We are big veggie eaters and generally is hard to get a big serving a good veggies with lunch and dinner. We used to just buy a peeler upon arrival but sometimes they are hard to find so now we just carry one with us.

We are also big snackers and often stay in Airbnbs for the extra room. I enjoy wandering and shopping in grocery stores in other countries. It can be a challenge to find exactly what you want even with Google Translate up on your phone. Ever try to find decaf coffee is some countries?

Posted by
18 posts

Luv2travel2,
I am not laughing! I do the same as you, regarding the vegetable peeler. I eat a lot of carrots, even when I travel, and when I am solo (about half the time) I don't generally go out to dinner. So...it's carrots and a chicken sandwich at night in my room.
Once, I found a tool somewhere in Burgundy that was a combination of peeler and knife. Left it behind because I was not checking anything going home. Thought that surely I could find another one...never did.

Posted by
8656 posts

Am I the only forum member that struggles with weight issues? Small picnic meals are part of a strategy to make sure I come home without gaining any more weight. I still eat out, but I need sensible healthy meals to counteract splurges and gelato.

Posted by
5144 posts

We rarely eat in our room while on vacation; usually it would be because we're just too tired to go out for dinner. In those cases, we'd either get takeout or pick up a few things at the local grocery store. But it's a rarity. We both enjoy relaxing meals cooked by someone else. When we tire of that, we know it's time to go home.

But with regard to the Residence Inn and the vegetable peeler- I can echo what Frank said. It's not just tourists who stay there. Many are there for longer stays and for reasons other than pleasure. DH frequently stayed in one while away for weeks at a time on business, and we, as a family, have stayed on several occasions when moving long distance into a new home and waiting for the moving van to arrive. On those occasions, having cooking utensils were very welcome.

Posted by
2597 posts

As CJean says, Frank II nailed it at the top of the thread regarding the peeler -- these all-suites hotels are not just for vacationers. The same drawer contained a spinner can opener and paring knives, but no corkscrew. This had me wondering if there was a hospital or prison or courthouse nearby where people had extended business.

On the larger question of why eat in, I appreciate the mentions of wanting something familiar, and also the reminders about not wanting every meal to be an occasion or learning opportunity --- I recall this past Spring how onerous it became to have to get dressed just to get a little bit of breakfast.

I also admire those here who don't use 'well, I'm away' as an excuse for not keeping to their healthy eating pledges :-)

Posted by
1530 posts

For the past few years we have been staying more and more in apartments. We like breakfast in our room, especially since one of us is an early riser. Having coffee, some type of bread, meat, cheese, and fruit or yogurt in our room without having to get dressed to be out in public is more relaxing and a nice way to start our day. As for dinner, if we have a late lunch we skip eating dinner out in favor of buying prepared food in a grocery store - risotto, soup, salad - the choices are sometimes endless and good. We're usually too tired to eat dinner out, especially at the late hour dinner is served in some countries. That being said, I may have actually cooked a dinner only once or twice. I'm on vacation!

As some others have pointed out, Residence Inn is just that. A short term residence for some for various reasons. They may be interested in preparing an actual meal.

Posted by
159 posts

My husband, teenager and I eat-in for at least one meal while traveling for many of the reasons already stated: convenience, affordability, consuming less calories. However, we also enjoy breaking the “rules” we have at home by eating in bed watching TV or a movie. This is something we NEVER do at home and it feels very indulgent. (We clean up crumbs from the beds before sleep haha)!

Posted by
4482 posts

If your room has a microwave, you can buy some of the yummy foods at places like Harrod's and reheat. And finding a washer and dryer in a hotel makes my day.

Posted by
1470 posts

Since we usually drive ourselves, we take a moving feast with us; usually from a deli or neighborhood grocery store. As we mostly stay in B&Bs we are full from Breakfast, so we snack as we go. We usually check-in after a day of touring, and then go out for casual dining We have been surprised by dinner or tea provided by the hosts and having drinks with the other guests. We also like to relax and eat a deli chicken and salad in the room and watch TV; which also gives you an insight on local culture.

Posted by
3073 posts

On most trips, we do cook an elaborate meal and eat in the room.

Appetizer: 1 glass vin rouge o crno vino
Starter: 1 glass vin rouge or crno vino with fromagio
Main course: 1 glass vin rouge or crno vino, with fromagio, pan, et saucisse
Plat de Fromage: 1 glass vin rouge or crno vino with fromagio

We make extensive use of kitchen implements that are knives

Posted by
6104 posts

I think it probably depends on the length of a vacation. Also, destination. When we are in Hawaii with family, we do eat half of our meals in.

In Europe, we try to stay at places that have breakfast. If not, except for like coffee and a pastry, we'll eat in our room. We typically have a frig, for yogurt and cheese, and I bring protein bars and oatmeal packets mostly for my husband.

We typically skip lunch/get by with a protein bar, unless there is a nice spot for a picnic. We typically have fruit, cheese, crackers, bread, some kind of meat and chocolate. Pretty much my favorite food is cheese. It does pair nicely with wine, too. . .

If we had cooking facilities and eating out wasn't appealing or restaurants weren't close, perhaps we'd put together some pasta and a salad. Also, I do love markets. Occasionally we do pick up fruits and vegetables, and that's when I could see a peeler coming in handy, though I typically wouldn't buy carrots.

Sometimes its just nice to do take out in the room, especially if it has a balcony with a view. If I've sprung for a nice room, I'd probably want to spend more time in it. Some pizza, wine, and cheese can be very relaxing. Or just wine and cheese, works, too. ;)

Posted by
7659 posts

There may very well be lodging with kitchens that don’t provide a vegetable peeler, but I bet that, at least in Europe, a corkscrew is ubiquitous. Hopefully there’s at least salt and pepper, too, but we’ve found many with an assortment of herbs in jars. Unfortunately, the knives have often been noticeably dull, and a dull knife, besides being much less effective, can be much more dangerous.

We’ve had a few meals in our room, in different countries and at different times of year, because it was absolutely pouring rain outside, and we had cheese/meat/olives that would need to be carried later, if they weren’t eaten sooner, so it worked well.

Posted by
11368 posts

We eat in after awhile as we get tired of constantly getting dressed nicely and leaving our hotel rooms. We just want to crash and be comfortable!

Posted by
1912 posts

My family and I burn out quickly on restaurants every meal. We can afford to eat out at our pleasure, but don't always want to eat in public with various interactions - sometimes we just want to cook something easy but vegetable heavy and relax and watch a movie. I eat iny room or apartment about half of dinner on an average Europe trip. Even without a kitchen you can get together a pretty good meal with salad kits, roast chicken, fruit, cheese, wine,etc.

Posted by
5688 posts

Kudos to Marriott for providing a vegetable peeler. In many of the vacation apartments and long-stay hotels that I have stayed in, the only prep utensil is a really dull knife.

Some people go on vacation to get away from cooking. I am going on vacation to cook this year. I’m taking a week-long culinary class in France this year as part of my vacation and I cannot wait. For me, it is enjoyable to have the opportunity to learn from an experienced chef so that I can both learn about the food culture and recreate some of the local food specialties when I return home

When I am on an extended trip, I get tired of eating out every night. If I have an apartment or hotel room with a kitchenette, I enjoy taking a break and eating in. I usually have very simple meals since vacation apartments are generally lacking in equipment, spices, and pantry staples. Instead, I like to go to the local markets and get fresh fruit, vegetables for salad, cheese, etc. I also like getting prepared foods to bring back. I keep a small, lightweight, reusable shopping in my purse like this one: https://www.finnstyle.com/marimekko-pink-orange-mini-unikko-smartbag.html

I would use a vegetable peeler.

Posted by
182 posts

We stayed in several Air BNB's this last trip to Italy. As my husband is a chef, we love to eat out as much as possible but that doesn't mean he will pass up the opportunity to buy fresh chantarelles, tomatoes and other various produce that is so fresh at the local corner market and whip up something fabulous for an appetizer.

Sometimes in the states with the grands we eat in because it is simply easier for breakfast/ lunch.

Posted by
3034 posts

I always travel with a potato peeler, bottle opener, and wine-bottle opener. There is no one more prepared than I for every conceivable situation.

Posted by
7727 posts

I will add though, as someone who likes to cook, and salivates at some of the ingredients available in Italy, Spain, and other areas, I do think about getting a place with a kitchen for a month and having some fun.

However, we have stayed in enough places to know that you would need to be prepared for the experience. Lots of places offer a basic kitchen and prep items, but there are limitations.

Basic condiments/staples: You have to go out and buy what you need. Many places may have a few leftovers from other guests...but my wife really squirms at using them.

Knives...My god, what one would give for a sharp chefs knife or paring knife.

A decent skillet or sauté pan. Have to admit though, lots of time they are near new IKEA stuff, so do OK, but do not think there will be a hint of what you might have at home.

My wife and I have decided, that if we did decide to do apartment life for a month or more in Europe, there would be a checked bag with condiments/staples/spices we would take, some sharp knives and a good pan and a few other items. The attraction is what is available in markets, fish mongers, a butcher, and other places to make some interesting meals. Certainly not every night, but as a mix.

Posted by
7659 posts

I always travel with a potato peeler, bottle opener, and wine-bottle opener

BigMike, I take it, then, that you have the Model JL429 Swiss Army knife!

Posted by
1810 posts

What's a vegetable and why does it need a peeler?

Poor humor aside. I try to eat as many meals out at lunch as I can unless the restaurant I am interested in isn't open until dinner. Having a good lunch mid day I find much easier and more relaxing than in the evening when I am bushed from the day. I also find grocery stores more interesting than churches for sight seeing. Picnicking on a park bench or even in the room is a typical light dinner.

The one thing I have found in my experience is that small frozen meals in Europe are much tastier than back home, so having a microwave at the minimum is always a plus for dinner.

I like hotels more than apartments because I find apartments are some times a gamble. In a hotel there is usually better service for issues that come up. However, I have stayed in a couple really pleasant apartments, but usually only if I am in a area 4+ days. I am too cheap to pay all those tag on fees like a cleaning fee. I can assure you most apartments are making some profit on that cleaning charge. Just like the airlines who all of a sudden said we are charging for bags, food and seats separately that they never did before and found billions and we grumble, but pay for it. Sorry I digressed.

I have to say I rarely "cook" from scratch many meals because I don't like to clean up the mess. Popping something in the oven or a microwave is about the extent of it most of the time.

Posted by
883 posts

My experience after years of staying in ski condos and timeshares, including my girlfriend's timeshare on Nob Hill in San Francisco, is that if you find a potato/vegetable peeler in a drawer, it was most likely left by a prior occupant, and not the management.

Everyone has their own mode of travel. When traveling with my girlfriend and her mother to SF - both the mother and I cook - it was a treat to visit the farmer's market at the Ferry Building, pick up salad makings, then shop for cheese at Cowgirl [before it closed] and bread at Acme Bread, pick up a bottle of wine, take it all back to the timeshare, where we had a full kitchen, and make an excellent dinner.

I agree that breakfast is a prime opportunity to prepare a meal in your room or apartment, especially if you're trying to eat relatively healthy with steel-cut oatmeal, muesli or granola, yogurt, etc. You would also think that families traveling with children would prefer to take some meals in.

With the wealth of local markets in many areas offering fresh produce, meat & cheese, and prepared foods, it seems like you'd be missing an opportunity not to take advantage at least some of the time.

And you avoid the risk of eternal shame if someone on the RS forum were to find out that you ate at a restaurant where the menu was in English or there were pictures of the cuisine out front.

Posted by
1912 posts

The one thing I have found in my experience is that small frozen meals
in Europe are much tastier than back home, so having a microwave at
the minimum is always a plus for dinner.

I agree that prepared foods in Europe are generally better. Last time I was in solo Burgundy I ate out a lot, but also did two home meals, both the same large can of cassoulet. Good! I was skeptical but surprised how nice it was.

Posted by
2 posts

I wound up cooking/picnicking for most of a two week trip to Iceland with my teenager. He's lactose intolerant and generally has a sensitive stomach. After trying a few restaurant/takeout meals that we thought would be okay, we relied on a small repertoire of safe supermarket foods.

I remember travelling in Switzerland with my mom about 30 years ago. A week into it, she declared that she needed to find some kind of dinner that didn't have cheese! Now I'm the same age that she was then, about to spend a couple of weeks in Bavaria, and looking forward to the produce departments of Edeka, Rewe, etc.

Posted by
931 posts

A few nights a week, we grab a sandwich or salad along with some wine and go to our room for the evening. Then we can eat and take it easy. Travel does not have to be go, go, go!

Posted by
10369 posts

Eat in a hotel room...only room service. The idea of greasy wrappers, plastic boxes, food waste and smell lingering in our bedroom is extremely unappealing.
OTOH, in an aparthotel, as we're using in Paris next month, or in an apartment where we are right now in Paris, we eat breakfast or sandwiches, or finish takeout. My dinner tonight is gelato, two scoops.
Thanks to this discussion, I'll remember a peeler and Opinel folding knife for the aparthotel.

Posted by
4601 posts

Some hotels discourage eating in rooms not provided with kitchens due to more clean up,smells and the increased risk of vermin or bugs.
I like having a kitchen as I like a leisurely coffee wearing my pj's and catching up on forums, news, etc. I also eat main meal mid day, so a charcuterie plate with a glass if wine suits me fine as I plan for the next day. Sure, at home I am the only cook, but I don't mind a simple meal prep on vacation. Like at home, where I don't like to cook, I plan for left overs. So when traveling, I may boil extra eggs, or bring in rotisserie chicken pieces, stuff that is a minimum of fuss. With gluten sensitivities, I can also eat around those.
I pack a thin plastic plate, some bandanas (101 uses like napkin, placemat or wash cloth) and a spork or plastic utensil set. This keeps a hotel room tidy and I discard food trash in the bathroom.
Thankfully, I have never needed a veg peeler, but I can see putting it to use on future month stays.

Posted by
724 posts

This stopped me in my tracks, and I can't get past it easily -- who is not just cooking dishes that involve peeling veggies while they're on vacation, but is actually buying things like carrots and potatoes, or even crazier, packing them along?
Is that even a vacation?

There is something about that quote that just makes me bristle. What does it matter what someone else chooses to do on their vacation. I'll admit though I don't use a peeler, I just use a knife. BUT...

I liked having a full kitchen in Reykjavík, and I have stayed at Locke hotels in Edinburgh and London and like their kitchenettes. Simply having a kitchen is greatly desired.

For one, wherever I visit I really enjoy the grocery shopping. It's one enjoyable way to get to know a country I'm visiting and a chance to find some treasures. Especially where I do not speak the language, it feels like some small accomplishment to make purchases and to navigate the grocery store. In London there's the nearby locals/expresses plus a short distance from Borough Market; last time I bought a nice steak and roasted petit potatoes, a turnip and carrot. That was good!

I'm normally up at 4am and I have cooked and had breakfast before 5:30am and it's just the way I am. The reality is most cafes, restaurants or diners usually open about 8am, and that is too late in the morning for me. I've got a kitchen, there's stores and I can have whatever I want, whether its oatmeal, a bacon sandwich or a Full English. Then I can sit at the window and enjoy the breaking morning light, watch the tide change on the Thames and then watch the mudlarks go about their thing.

Part of my work in my museum is teaching about historic foods and cooking and when I am in London I get to buy some of the ingredients that are not readily available here at home -- I can get squab at Borough Market. Since I've not brought my cookbooks, I'll pull up the Foods of England Project, dive into some 16th century cookbooks and make a shopping list, then cook away.

For me, I'm not on vacation so I can be fat & lazy by the pool and get waited on hand and foot. There are other things I would rather do. I would also rather cook in, because after while it seems so many restaurants in Europe are doing their interpretation of American foods.

Posted by
2597 posts

thanks, VAP, for taking the time to comment with your perspective. It's in line with much of the rest of the thread, but it also is going to inspire another thread from me that will have something to do with whether travel is best when you can keep your habits or when you get to try on other ones for a bit. -- how do you handle southern Europe if you usually try to stick with waking up at 4;30 am? I myself would be just getting ready to go find dinner around when you would be going to sleep! In Madrid, for instance, the best timing is to take your first barstool of the evening tapas crawl just before the clock strikes nine, so you can beat the crowds and then move on to the next spot either behind or in front of the peloton :-0

Posted by
15723 posts

It's in line with much of the rest of the thread, but it also is going to inspire another thread from me that will have something to do with whether travel is best when you can keep your habits or when you get to try on other ones for a bit. --

This is really up to the individual. Some like to keep their habits and ways when traveling. Some might eat a big bacon and eggs breakfast at home and want to continue doing so while in Europe. Others need to walk around with their 152 oz cup of coffee. (American style and upset there's no half and half.)

Personally, I try to live by a few rules:

1) Eat local, drink local.

2) Follow the local customs when it comes to eating. If dinner is late, then I eat late. If breakfast is light, then I eat light.

Travel to me is not just about checking off the sights. It's about experiencing the location. Experiencing the lifestyle. If a local wants a cup of coffee and stops to sit, or stand at the counter, and enjoy it, that's what I do. I don't insist on a to go cup because I have six museums to hit that day.

I used to take a couple of two week tours every year. And on each one, I would skip a couple of days of planned activities just to be. To wander. To breath in the local ambiance. To experience the place. I no longer take them as they were too rushed for my liking. And that includes RS tours. I

And the only time I get up at 4:30 is to catch a very early flight or nature calls. (I'm currently in Scotland and the sun comes up around 4:30. Ugh.) I need my beauty sleep. It's not helping.......

Posted by
4308 posts

It's in line with much of the rest of the thread, but it also is going
to inspire another thread from me that will have something to do with
whether travel is best when you can keep your habits or when you get
to try on other ones for a bit.

As a creature of habit, I'm looking forward to that one.

Posted by
467 posts

@VAP, I could have written your response. Well put. I enjoy the same things and I too am an early riser.

As far as doing as the locals do, well, I know the locals in much of Europe start their day with a cappucino and croissant, bread roll, etc. It's not that I'm a set-in-my-ways American insisting on keeping to my American habits. I'm hypoglycemic. As much as I would love to have breakfast like that, I simply wouldn't last more than an hour before becoming lightheaded, shaky/dizzy and hangry. Therefore, I like having a kitchen where I can have some protein for breakfast. I like making myself a German style breakfast - soft boiled egg, cheese, sliced cucumber, seeded roll, salami, yogurt, etc. Don't assume that because I like to make myself breakfast that I'm a Dunkin swilling, McDonald's loving ugly American who refuses to step outside their comfort zone.

Posted by
724 posts

Semper Gumby...
That's Latin for always flexible ;-)

how do you handle southern Europe if you usually try to stick with waking up at 4;30 am?

I'm not being a smart a**, but I'm not sure that I fully understand your question. For one I certainly have my habits and ways that I like to do things, but they're not so set in stone that my day or trip is ruined when confronted with the need to do something different. I'm pretty flexible, tend to go with the flow and I think that it's the traveler that needs to be able to adapt to the locale. On the other hand I no not understand the expectation that southern Europe is so different that traveling there would effect the time I wake up, or greatly impact my morning routine.

Posted by
467 posts

like @VAP, I too am an early riser. It's not that I set my alarm and get up at the same time that I do at home. I wake early naturally, and that's the case even if I'm out late the night before. But I happen to love the early mornings. I like to have a cup of coffee, then go out for a walk as the sun comes up and enjoy the neighborhood and nearby sights before the crowds arrive. Other people wouldn't be caught dead out that early. Whatever! Just because I am up early and others are not, doesn't mean I'm not enjoying my vacation as much as they are. To each their own!

Posted by
1536 posts

On my most recent trip with my adult son, we did not eat in the room at all. We get going between 7:30-9:00 am depending on the day's schedule. No breakfast, even if included in the room. Lunch is between 11:00 am-3:00 pm and dinner is between 7:00-8:00. On our last day before an early morning flight home, we just skipped dinner all together. We had a late, lingering lunch with drinks, then an early evening nap meant we didn't feel like going out.

Two trips ago I was solo. I had three evening meals in my room. They were a combination of a late lunch and not that hungry or too tired. Twice I had a bakery sandwich and once I had grocery market snacks.

I rarely cook for myself in real life (thanks DH!), so cooking on a trip would not spark joy for me.

I definitely see the reason for asking how an early riser handles southern Europe. I usually wake up by 6:30 and find eating dinner at 7:30 pm (Northern Europe) too late. If I visit Spain my plan would be to eat a large lunch and street food or grocery snacks for dinner.

Posted by
15 posts

I never cook when I'm on vacation, that's not what I travel for. However, when I was younger, I used to cook for myself everyday when traveling, to save as much money as possible. I did buy potatoes and other vegetables, so a vegetable peeler was very useful.