HI Hostels Blog

Top tips for cooking in a hostel


Cooking in a hostel is easier than you might think and a very cost-effective way of saving money. Whilst it is nice to treat yourself now and again on meals out, one of the perks of hostel life is cooking for yourself and your newfound travel buddies. Read on for Hostelling International’s tips for cooking in a hostel:
Scope out the kitchen

One of the first things to check-out when you check-in is the shared kitchen. Take a look around and size up the cooking utensils because it will make your cooking experience a lot easier if you base your meals around what is feasible to prepare with the equipment that you have access to. There’s no point in planning to cook an overly complicated recipe that requires high-tech, culinary tools if you only have a modest saucepan.

Check the free shelf

Many of our hostels provide essential ingredients and condiments for guests to use for free. This can include useful ingredients such as olive oil, herbs and spices, butter and if you’re really lucky – pasta! The free shelf will often include non-perishable items left behind by other backpackers. It’s good practice to check what items are on offer here before going food shopping to avoid buying things that you can actually get for free.

Buy local


Don’t fall into the trap of buying instant noodles from the nearest supermarket. Not only are you depriving yourself of tastier, healthier meals but you’re also missing out on getting the most out of what you spend! Local markets are the best way of getting fresh produce at absolute bargain prices – plus they are a great way of immersing yourself in the area as you barter like a local.

Fill up at breakfast

There’s no need to worry about budgeting for breakfast when most of our hostels provide free, delicious breakfasts that will have you set for the rest of the day. Whether you’re potty about pancakes or partial to a continental pastry, you will definitely find something to suit your tastebuds. Just make sure that you wake up on time! Take a look at some of our hostel breakfasts.

Buy in bulk


Travelling with a friend or two means that you can split the cost of food by buying larger quantities which often works out cheaper. However, solo travellers should not dismiss this as a cost-cutting option for them too. Hostels are all about getting social and interacting with new people from around the globe. After chatting to a few people in the shared areas you will find that many backpackers are keen to team up. This is also a great way of sharing cooking duties and having company at meal times all rolled into one!

Keep it simple

It’s easier than you think to eat a varied, inexpensive diet whilst travelling. Before you go away invest in a travel-sized cookbook aimed at backpackers for one pot recipes that are easy to make, nutritionally balanced and full of flavour. You will be the envy of the hostel kitchen as you whip up tantalising meals in a flash. An added bonus of one pot cooking? Far less washing up!

Be respectful


Being courteous really does go a long way. Treat the kitchen and the people using it the same way that you would like to be treated; always clean up after yourself, don’t hog every utensil, don’t help yourself to food that isn’t yours and if you see somebody struggling, offer to help! For some young travellers this may be their first time away from home having to cook for themselves so go easy on them.

If you’re a foodie blogger you could be in with the chance of winning an amazing exchange trip with another blogger from another country. Enter the Big Blog Exchange and share your passion for food with the world!

Do you have any extra tips for cooking in a hostel? Leave us a comment in the box below or email us at socialmedia@hihostels.com

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