16 Hostel Food Hacks for the Budget Traveller

16 Hostel Food Hacks for the Budget Traveller

As a gift to you for signing up, we deliver some fun and handy hostel food hacks to incorporate into your hostel adventures. This way you save money and learn new ways to make friends.

Other than sharing food, there are 9 other simple ways to Make Friends in Hostels.

Once you've learnt these food hacks, make sure you take a look at our 9 Top Tips for Cooking in Hostels.


1. Label your food

Seems obvious, sure. But trust us, it’s not unusual that hostel staff will throw out good food that appears to have been left behind (or more likely that it will be eaten by a fellow hosteller…).

Tip: Add the dates of your stay, and put a little smiley face on your sticker to make it harder for someone to get greedy!


2. Check the hostel “food shelf”

Once you’ve checked in one of the first things you should do is rummage around the hostel kitchen. Have a look for food shelves/boxes that offer free food that’s been left behind, and see if there’s a ‘staples shelf’ with things like cooking oil, spices, rice etc. There's often one in the fridge, too.

Tip: Check again each morning just before and after check-out time - prime time for new food goodies!

3. Approach people in the kitchen (and steal their recipes!)

Not as creepy as it sounds. Simply use the kitchen as a chance to meet new people and show interest in what they’re cooking. Heck, you might end up being invited to join the meal! You’re sure to learn new money & time saving recipes, and it’s always great to share yours with others.

4. Meal share

Why not suggest sharing a meal with new found hostel friends? Pool together some money and buy ingredients to make a yummy, filling meal for a fraction of the price if you were to cook only for yourself.


5. Learn these 7 basic recipes

Fair enough, the previous hack might seem a bit overwhelming if you don’t know how to cook! Never fear. Here are 7 yummy hostel recipe ideas for you to try out during your hostel stay - you’ve got this.

Further reading: 9 Top Tips for Cooking in Hostels

6. Seek out free meals

Free meals, yes please! In case you didn’t know, many hostels offer a free breakfast and if you’re lucky, free dinner evenings. These are often in the form of pizza nights, BBQs and potluck. Fun!

Do your research well enough and find a hostel that provides at least one of these and you’ll save yourself a lot of money and meet people super easily this way.


7. Revamp the noodle!

Instant noodles are an all time hostel favourite, right? We understand. They are cheap and seriously yummy. With a bit of imagination this old favourite can become less monotonous and even more yummy.

Add simple ingredients like mushrooms, onion, cheese, scrambled eggs, fresh veg, herbs… be inventive! Simply chuck them into the pan as you heat the noodles. Easy.

8. Cook outside usual hours

Let’s be honest; cooking in a hostel can be stressful. Sometimes the kitchen isn’t big enough to accommodate the guest capacity, utensils are lacking, or you’re simply not used to sharing space with so many people.

We recommend cooking outside usual meal times. For example, instead of preparing dinner at 6pm, head to the kitchen at 5:30pm and get most of the prep done before others start arriving.

FYI: Lunch time is usually the quietest time in the hostel as people are out exploring. Consider eating lunch at the hostel and dinner out.

9. One pot, please

Keep it simple; cook one pot meals. This will certainly save on stress levels of hostel cooking and it usually results in a faster process of fridge to stomach.


10. Buy local

Anyone on a budget will know that cheaper eating usually results from buying what’s in season locally. Head to the local food market and see what’s in abundance as these ingredients are usually the cheapest and freshest.

11. Make too much food

Leftovers! This should be an aim for any hostel goer. Double or triple your usual portion so that you have plenty leftover for tomorrow’s lunch or second dinner - a big time saver. After a big night out on the town you may also be super happy to come home to a midnight snack. Go on, give yourself a big pat on the back.

12. No kitchen?! Uh oh

Did someone forget to check if the hostel has a kitchen before booking?! It happens… but now you know to avoid that in future. Obviously you might prefer eating out, but it’s always nice to have a shared kitchen to fall back on should money become tight.

Remember: A kitchenette is not the same as a fully-equipped kitchen. A kitchenette typically only has a kettle, microwave and fridge.

A kitchen is just one of the 11 Things that make a Great Hostel.

13. Appreciate the electric kettle

For quick snacks the kettle can be a life saver. Boil some water and use it to make noodles, boiled eggs, pasta, soup…oh and of course, endless cups of coffee!


14. Ask about discounts

Chat with the hostel staff about any partnerships they may have with local restaurants/cafes that offer a traveller discount.

It’s also common that onsite hostel bar-restaurants will offer traveller prices, happy hour and meal deals to encourage their guests to spend more time on the premises. Make the most of this.

15. Buy a bottle of wine & invite fellow hostel mates

It’s no secret that wine helps people relax. Share a bottle with new friends and chat and connect in an easy way. Why not throw in a few nibbles like crisps and popcorn whilst you’re at it!


16. Eat vegetarian/vegan

No, this is not a moral issue! Rather, cutting out meat and dairy whilst you travel will dramatically reduce your costs, and help prevent you from getting sick.


Is your stomach rumbling right now, or is that just me? With these clever tips you're all set to satisfy your hunger in a budget friendly way when staying in hostels. Don't take our word for it...go on, give them a try!

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