With private accommodation rentals being such a popular option for so many travelers, preparing for your next getaway with readily available, multipurpose meal items means more time will be carved out for making meaningful memories and enjoying the atmosphere. While I always make room in the budget for fun local ingredients and a few fancy accents, I also make it a point to maintain a working list of basic items around which I can craft a multitude of menus. Following are four of my favorites.
Eggs: I'm all about bringing plant-based protein to the vacation dining table, but finding tofu in places such as rural Morocco is easier said than done. When I'm on the road in places unknown, I find eggs to be an exceptional addition to my vacation grocery list. Boiled for a fast portion of protein in a bag lunch, baked with potatoes in a Spanish omelet, or used as an addition to a fried noodle dish, eggs can provide the basis for filling and delicious meals anywhere in the world.
Nuts: Provided you aren't hindered by a related food allergy, nuts can be a frequent traveler's saving grocery grace. They can tide you over during a long airport delay, serve as an impromptu picnic snack or be a basic part of a bagged lunch. Dry roasted peanuts can be eaten by the handful with fruit and a bottle of water, added to fried rice, or chopped and used as a soup garnish. Similar strategies can be implemented with almonds, cashews and pistachios.
Bread: While tortilla wraps may have garnered the greatest attention when it comes to whipping up breakfast burritos and easy lunch sandwiches, my money's on English muffins. An unsung hero of the baked goods aisle, these cost-effective, calorie-conscious goodies can be used to create everything from a vegetarian eggs Benedict to miniature toaster oven pizzas. Other ideas include basic breakfast sandwiches and an alternative to avocado toast. Whether your vacation food shopping options include a high-priced gourmet grocer or you only have access to a discount store, this flexible bread item will ring in at an affordable price point.
Artisanal loaves can also elevate simple meals while traveling. Sliced into toasted bread sticks, cubed as a salad add-in, or sliced for elegant open-faced sandwiches, choosing a great loaf from the farmers market can make you feel like you are living large for less.
Potatoes: Inexpensive, flexible and able to be transported on road trips without a cooler, potatoes bring a great deal of variety to the traveler's dinner table. Serve fresh from the oven with a topping bar for a family of picky eaters, slice and bake for a casserole, shred for hash browns or chop up for a chowder. The options are extensive, and the price tag practically perfect.
Figuring out your short list of favorite food items for stocking your vacation rental is about more than keeping your travel budget on track. Having fun, easy meals to prepare in your cabin kitchen means you can spend more time enjoying the place where you have paid to be. Whether the purpose of your trip is to enjoy the slopes or splash in the surf, having easy-to-prepare groceries you can predictably access at numerous locations around the world will help keep meal prep on autopilot.
(Lifestyle and travel expert Myscha Theriault blends thrift and luxury to live well for less around the world. She has sold her home, all her furniture and most of her other belongings to travel the world full time with her husband. You can follow her adventures on Instagram via @MyschaTheriault.)