jakob-owens-169886

Fool-Proof, Hostel-Friendly Meals for Student Travelers

  • Grace Lower
Aug 10, 2017

One of the greatest joys of international travel is eating until you’re uncomfortably full and regretting nothing. After all, sampling your host country’s food is an important part of your cultural education. Unfortunately, all that dining can add up quickly—both in cash and in calories. I’ve found that one of the easiest ways to save money and maintain a somewhat balanced diet is to cook a few of my own meals when I’m on the road. Of course, this isn’t always possible, depending on accommodations. That’s why I’m a huge believer in booking hostels with communal kitchens, especially if I’m visiting for more than just a weekend.

When you’re staying at a hostel with a kitchen, a trip to a nearby grocer and a little bit of courage are all you need to make a decent meal without breaking the bank. Here are a few of my go-to travel meals that keep my belly and wallet feeling full. Full disclosure: these recipe ideas are far from gourmet, but what they lack in sophistication, they make up for in simplicity.

 

Beans and Rice Bowl

Why it works:

Beans and rice is the food equivalent of a little black dress—the dish is simple, classic, and easy to accessorize. Just a few extra ingredients can help you make this recipe your own. Toss in some salsa or sprinkle on some cheese, and you’ll be amazed by how satisfying the meal can be. Packed with protein, fiber, and a little fat, a beans and rice dinner will keep you full and energized.

 

What you’ll need:

  1. 1 small bag of brown or white rice
  2. 1 14.5 oz. can of black beans
  3. 1 jar of salsa or hot sauce
  4. 1 small wedge of your favorite cheese

 

If you’re feeling extra fancy, top with:

  1. 1 tbsp. lime juice
  2. 2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
  3. 1 tbsp. sour cream or Greek yogurt

 

How to make it:

Grab a small pot from your hostel’s kitchen, and cook up a single serving of rice (you won’t want to deal with leftovers if you’re only staying for a night or two). While your rice is under way, grab another pot and dump in your can of beans, juice and all. Heat the beans over medium until they start to simmer. If you have access to any spices—garlic salt, chili powder, red pepper flakes, hot sauce—add them to taste, and simmer your spiced beans for another minute. Plate your rice, scoop some beans on top, add your salsa or hot sauce, and top it all off with a sprinkle of cheese. Bon appetite!

 

Fancy Ramen

Why it works:

Sure, instant ramen is a beloved staple among college students and culinary newbies, but when done right, it can taste incredible. If you can get past its dubious additives, ramen pairs beautifully with seasonal veggies and fresh herbs. You can also take your ramen-game to the next level by adding a fried egg or another protein of your choice. With a little bit of love, that sad block of noodles can be transformed into memorable meal.

 

What you’ll need:

  1. 1 3-oz package of ramen
  2. 1-2 cheap veggies (carrots, cucumber, bell peppers, etc.), diced
  3. 1 egg
  4. Butter or cooking spray
  5. 1 bunch dark, leafy greens (optional)

 

If you’re feeling extra fancy, top with:

  1. Hot sauce
  2. 2 green onions, diced

 

How to make it:

To begin, grab any fresh veggies you purchased and dice them (cross your fingers and hope that your hostel has decently sharp knives). Next, bring 2 cups of water to boil in a medium pot, and stir in your ramen seasoning packet. Add your diced veggies, and cook for a few minutes on medium-high until they’re tender, but firm (if you can stab a fork through them without too much trouble, they’re good to go). Next, toss in your dry ramen noodles, and boil for 2 minutes. In a separate pan, lightly fry or scramble your egg, and add it to the ramen broth when ready. Finally, stir in a handful of dark greens like kale or spinach, and remove your pot from the heat. Let the soup stand for 1 minute before serving. For next-level hostel ramen, add a dash of hot sauce and diced green onions before digging in!

 

 

Egg in a Basket

Why it works:

This toast-and-egg combo is the easiest dish you can make when you’re pressed for time and money. This meal goes by plenty of names: “Egg in a Basket,”
“Toad in a Hole,” “Hen in a Nest”—and my grandmother calls it
“Egg with a Hole in the Middle” (which isn’t entirely accurate, but English isn’t her first language). Whatever you decide to call it, Egg in a Basket is a great addition to any hostel-dweller’s repertoire.

What you need:

  1. 1 slice of your favorite bread
  2. 1 egg
  3. Butter or cooking spray
  4. Salt
  5. Pepper

If you’re feeling extra fancy, top with:

  1. Hot sauce


How to make it:

Grab a slice of bread, and using a drinking glass, create a hole in the middle of the bread. Be sure to save both the bread crust and the circular center piece—you’ll need them later! Then, heat a pat of butter or a splash of cooking spray in a small frying pan for 1 minute or until fully melted. Add your bread crust to the pan, leaving the circular center of the bead aside. Crack an egg into the center of the crust, then cook over medium-high heat until the underside of the bread is golden brown and the egg white starts to look opaque (1-2 minutes).Then, quickly flip your egg-filled toast to the opposite side and cook for a minute more. Remove the egg-filled toast from the pan, and place the circular center-piece of bread into your frying pan. Fry the center; 1 minute per side will do the trick! Finally, slide the fried center-piece onto the plate with the eggy-toast, and add salt and pepper to taste.

 

Pasta Salad

Why it works:

Nothing reminds me more of summer than a vinegar-based pasta salad. No matter where your travels take you, pasta salad is a crowd-pleaser: tasty, familiar, and super cheap.

 

What you need:

  1. 1 box of your favorite type of pasta
  2. 2 large carrots, diced
  3. 1 red or green pepper, diced
  4. 1 small wedge of cheese, cubed (any soft, white variety will do)
  5. 1 small bottle of Italian dressing (or make your own with 1 part vinegar and 3 parts vegetable oil)

 

If you’re feeling extra fancy, top with:

  1. 1/3 cup salami or pepperoni, cubed

 

How to make it:

Cook pasta as directed on package (cook only what you know you’ll eat; no need to go for the entire box). Dump into a colander, rinse under very cold water, and drain well. Next, combine your pasta, veggies, and cheese in a large bowl and mix gently. Add dressing to taste, toss lightly, then dig in! Pro tip: pasta salad tastes better if you refrigerate before serving, but don’t leave your food unattended. You never know if a fellow hostel guest will want to steal a bite or two, especially with a dish this tasty.

 

Nutella Toast

Why it works:

It’s Nutella. On toast. Need I say more? This dish can satisfy any sweet tooth and makes for a decadent breakfast, lunch, or late-night snack.

What you need:

  1. 1 slice of your favorite bread
  2. 2 Tbsp. Nutella

If you’re feeling extra fancy, top with:

  1. Banana
  2. Strawberries
  3. Peanut butter

 

How to make it:

Toast a piece of bread and slather that Nutella on top! Add a few extra toppings, if you have them, and presto: instant chocolatey bliss.

 

--

These meal ideas aren’t exactly high-brow, but they’re cheap, simple to make, and easy to customize based on whatever ingredients you have on hand. At just a few dollars per serving, a hostel-cooked meal will help you stretch your budget a little further, so you can prioritize those travel experiences that matter most.

 

 

 

About the Author

Grace Lower

Grace Lower is a recent college graduate with a love for writing and an incurable case of wanderlust. When she's not exploring new places, Grace enjoys teaching English as a Second Language, making terrible puns, and running incredibly long distances at incredibly slow speeds.

Read more of Grace’s blogs

This website and various social media updates provided by Seven Corners contain content, information, articles, and links to websites created by third parties. Seven Corners, its owners, and its employees neither endorse nor are responsible for the accuracy, timeliness, or reliability of any third-party information, statements, opinions, or advice and are not liable for any loss, harm, or damage caused by your reliance upon them. Use of such information or the linked websites is entirely at your risk. Concerns regarding this third-party content should be directed to the third party. Seek professional advice, as appropriate, regarding your use of the such information and websites.

Because the information on this website and in Seven Corners’ blogs and other social media is written and compiled using knowledge and information available at a certain point in time, it may become outdated. For that reason, information, events, legal requirements, and product changes (including benefits, limitations, exclusions, and services) may not be up-to-date, complete, or accurate at the point in time it is being read. Again, use of such information is at your risk.

Documents

Privacy Information
Terms of Use
Security Statement

Connect with Seven Corners

About Us
Newsroom
Careers

   

Contact Us