Hello best life seekers!
If you love to travel but also like to cook, probably you yearn to prepare a few meals rather than always eat out when traveling. I often use Airbnb for my adventures and choose stays with a kitchen. However, that doesn’t mean it will be stocked well for cooking. Here are five items to always pack so that any stay anywhere will be a success so long as the place provides a kitchen and a pot or pan.
Why these five items? After years of traveling and living in more than 20 countries, I’ve found I can’t live without these items and that at my chosen stay they’re often the items either unavailable or too poor a quality to use without frustration. These five items are also lightweight, inexpensive, and sometimes hard or inconvenient to find overseas.
Pack these five kitchen tools to save yourself a lot of hassle while providing endless cooking happiness while traveling.
#1 – Knives
If you’re flying with only a carry-on, this probably won’t make it into your gear but they’ll nicely stow in checked luggage or if you’re traveling domestically via car, train or bus, you should be fine (always check luggage rules beforehand).
That safety disclaimer out-of-the-way, this is a must have tool for any cook. You’ll want to bring a good paring knife and chopping knife. These two are really all you’ll need. I’ve stayed in countless Airbnbs, bed and breakfasts, hostels, camp grounds, and on friend’s couches. This has taught me that you’ll be lucky to find decent knives you can use. Often they’re dull, of poor quality, nonexistent or the wrong tool for the job. Bring your own to save yourself grief. Trust me.
#2 – Measuring Spoons & Cups
It’s surprisingly rare to find measuring cups and spoons at Airbnbs and other similar type accommodations, even in the U.S. In some countries, they use weights and scales rather than our volume-based American implements. Don’t find yourself in a bind in metric countries when you go to buy these and can’t but really want to make your grandma’s homemade apple pie. Don’t guesstimate and ruin the recipe. Measuring spoons and cups are lightweight and easy to stow. Pack them.
#3 – Spatula
I travel the world with my Pampered Chef spatula. It’s versatile and you’d be shocked how often kitchens lack these useful tools. I’m talking scraping spatulas, not the scrambling/grilling spatulas. The latter are more likely to snap or bend in your luggage. The scraping spatula can work for stirring and scraping and is useful for all types of dishes – from cakes to scrambling eggs.
#4 – Can Opener
Long ago I threw away my metal can opener after years of nearly making my fingers and palms bleed using it. That and these appliances of pain always seem dull. After buying a softer, more comfortable grip can opener on sale at Wal-Mart for like $5, I packed it in my gear for my digital nomad year in Asia and along for my great 6 month road trip around the U.S. and Canada.
Like the previous items, you won’t always find a can opener when you need one, especially when you’re wanting to cook. Or if you do, it’s usually either a boy scout version (ugh) or that hideous metal monstrosity I mentioned above. Bring your own can opener. You’ll probably need it and won’t find one lying around anywhere.
#5 – A Spoon, a Fork, A Knife (Bottle Opener Optional)
While almost every kitchen will have cutlery, I’ve found over the years that including one spoon, one fork, and one butter knife saves me a lot of grief. Sometimes I’m not staying in a bed and breakfast or a place with a kitchen. Even if it has one, sometimes I can’t be bothered to go to the kitchen and hunt them down. Also, if you love to browse grocery stores and bring food back to your hotel room to enjoy, it’s important to have silverware on hand. I once had to wait 30 minutes at the Savannah Grand Hyatt for staff to bring me a spoon from the kitchen and by then my wonderful food had gone cold.
Additionally, if you’re a fan of wine or beer or bottled drinks in general, take a bottle opener with you. I’ve run into this problem numerous times where the Airbnb, bed and breakfast or budget hotel didn’t have an opener. And it sucked. Take this lightweight but useful gadget with you as well. Sometimes you just want to stay in with a glass of wine and it’s helpful if you can uncork it without drama.
Prepped For Cooking – Anywhere
If you take these five items with you when you travel, you’ll be a happy chef. I’ve found after 20+ countries and plenty of domestic travel that these five go-to implements are the ones most often unstocked or of poor quality. They also make life easier to have and are lightweight enough to haul around even in a hiking pack. So long as you have a kitchen and a pan, you should be good to go with these at your side. Happy cooking!
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