The most important room in my home? The kitchen. Your AirBnB kitchens selection process should also be an important part of your stay if you want to save money during your travels. Not all AirBnB kitchens are created or stocked equally. Some kitchens may not have a frying pan while others are fit for Julia Child. If you rent an AirBnB to save money on going out to dinner or breakfasts like I do sometimes you’re left in the dark when you arrive to find your kitchen has little more than a toaster.
To avoid these dire situations make sure you speak with the AirBnB property owner before booking. Ask them what they have in their kitchen and that you plan on cooking. They should let you know little quirks like the apartment’s fire detector goes off while making coffee or the oven isn’t suitable for use, etc. Make sure you know what kind of stove top or oven you’re about to use. Does it require matches to light? Is it a wood fired oven? Different cultures and remote locations may be drastically different to what you’re used to. You should also pay attention to the photos provided for the property. If they show things like pots, pans, coffee maker, wooden spoons etc., you’ve probably got a winner.
Also pay attention to the size of the space. For our apartment in London I know we are working with a very small kitchen. To make up for space I am not going to want to cook a feast. Instead I’ll opt for easy to clean up and pack up meals that won’t take a lot of work to prepare.
On the flip side I also want to ensure I am making the most of my time away engaging with local produce and specialties. After finding your ideal kitchen make sure you know the nearest grocery store so that you can pick up some necessities of your own while also grabbing uniquely local products like cheese, artisan bread from a nearby baker, and frequent the local butcher.
It is always nice to go out to dinner in a new city so plan at least 1-2 meals for dinning out over 3-6 days depending on your budget. Take the leftovers back to your AirBnB for lunch or an impromptu picnic and you’re budget will go further. This way you’re not missing out on the local foodie scene.
Along with a kitchen and laundry machine I also set the AirBnB search to only include properties with WIFI. It’ll be useful when searching for a restaurant or recipe without needing to waste your cell phone Data limits.
With these tips and easy go to dishes I use below you’re AirBnB (or other rental company) experience will have you convinced it is the only way to go.
What I like about Caprese salad is that it is highly regional. Tomatoes come in every different colour and you can easily swap out the buffalo mozzarella for any cheese you prefer or find. Try goats cheese in Provence or feta in Greece. The same goes for the basil. Can’t find any or don’t like it? Opt for another leafy herb like oregano or little leaves of thyme. Drizzle with an olive oil that your AirBnB provides OR make a day out of olive oil hunting. There are specialty olive oil shops all over nowadays. Make use of them and maybe you’ll find a souvenir while you’re at it.
Additionally, you can pick up some local bread to dip in the salty tomato and olive oil juices.
It really is the most important meal of the day, especially when you travel. You need that sustenance before you head out and sightsee. If you’re AirBnB host doesn’t already provide coffee make sure you grab a small bag of beans (or pre-ground) coffee. Don’t forget filters! I once stayed at an AirBnB apartment where the coffee was provided but alas no filters. But this is where I stick to my familiar diet. Eggs, bread, yogurt and fruit keep me feeling good throughout the day. These items are cheap and keep me going until lunch. Grab simple breakfast items that you eat everyday.
The added bonus is that these items aren’t made equally in every region of the world. Yogurt and butter in France is more flavourful than in the USA or Canada. While the yogurt in Italy tended to be more runny. Bread comes in all different shapes and made with different ingredients all over the world.
But after all that if you need some kitchen inspiration for satisfying breakfasts here are a few:
Ham & Cheese Breakfast Pies for the working oven
Never underestimate the need for snacks. I often overlook snacks to my horror when my family or husband and I get hangry towards each other. Snacks vary everywhere around the world but I especially like a cheese platter or charcuterie which becomes an adventure when you start to hunt for little items to make up your platter. But again look at your surroundings. Pick up a few pre-made items at a local bakery or corner store. In Hawaii you can grab spam musubi for cheap at any ABC store. In Italy you can stock up on Arancini (risotto balls) or be adventurous and make them yourself if you’ve got a background in making risotto. In France we stocked up on seasonal fruits like apricots and paired them with cheese and bread with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar provided by our GowithOh apartment rental.
Snacking is an art form in every culture, country and region has their specialties. This is where I do encourage you seek out these little unique specialties or learn the recipes to make at your AirBnB.
But if not here are some great options:
If you have a food processor or good blender this Loaded Summer Hummus is perfect
Easy Croque Monsieur Sandwiches, probably better than what you get at most tourist cafés in France
Or draw inspiration from Chrissy Teigen’s “Shit on Toast” recipes
For the real challenge. Dinner at your AirBnB home. I really like using foil packets or parchment paper to cook entire meals in. From fish to sausage and veggies, the packets you create are quick to whip into meals and even faster to dispose of. No mess in any size of kitchen and is more convenient than a crockpot which some AirBnB kitchens don’t have.
Take inspiration from this Sausage, Potato and Green Bean Foil Packets. Get creative depending on where you are in the world. Use parchment or foil for fish like halibut or salmon if you’re near the ocean and add local herbs and produce to create your own healthy meal.
Lobster and crab are super easy to cook if you’re looking to go upscale and near the ocean. Or if you’re in Italy take advantage of the fresh pasta for sale at local shops. This tortellini soup would make a great fall meal in Tuscany or Emilia-Romagna.
Sunday Roasts are very popular in the UK and if I had a bigger kitchen during the fall and winter months at an AirBnB I would definitely partake in the tradition with these ideas.
Just like snacks, each country and region has their own unique liquor and beverages. I for one can’t live without carbonated water. I probably drink too much of it but it is something that can mix well with vodka or a sweet iced tea or is just plain refreshing. It’s a comfort for me. Stock up on what comforts you too. For my husband it seems to be iced tea. You’ll also save on wines, spirits and liqueurs when you shop local rather than go out to a pricy bar. In Italy we shopped at a grocery store called Pam where we purchased bottles of wine for 2 Euro then would drink them on the steps of a church or the Castelvecchio in Verona to be exact. It was way better than going to a loud bar where we could barely talk. But then again we are kind of nerds who don’t like loud night life (unless it is a good pub) as we get older.
If you’re still nervous about booking an AirBnB stay tuned on my blog and Snapchat. As I depart on my honeymoon this month my husband and I have rented 3 AirBnBs. No hotels for us! We’re saving money by staying in AirBnBs and putting these recipes and tips in action.
And save $40 CAD on your first AirBnB rental here: