I'm by no means a chef or a handyman, but having lived in temporary accommodations for the past 3 years, I have developed some kitchen travel hacks. It wasn't until a recent conversation at a hostel with some young travelers that I realize that I might actually have a few tips to share on maximizing a temporary kitchen. So if you're staying for a couple weeks to a couple months in one location, here's how to maximize your purchases and best utilize what you have without having to buy more than you need.
1. Water. Let's start simple. Buy a small glass bottle of generic brand water that you can continue to reuse. One, forget the brand. Bottled water is bottled water. Two, even though glass is a bit heavier than plastic, glass bottles are safer for your health to reuse.
2. Knives out. Use a steak knife as a screw driver for small apartment odds and ends. Unless you carry a Swiss army knife, nobody ever packs a screwdriver.
3. Storage. Reuse glass jars that you buy (for olives, Nutella, dips, instant coffee) and use them as storage containers.
4. Milk. If you make coffee in the morning, reuse your cereal milk as the cream for your coffee. Foodie tip: Eat cinnamon flavored cereal for breakfast because you're coffee then becomes cinnamon-spiced!
5. Grocery bags. Line your garbage cans with the plastic grocery bags you receive when shopping. Even if you normally use a tote bag for shopping, you'll naturally acquire a variety of sized plastic bags which helps cover all of your bins :)
6. Man-sized mug. Buy a cheap, but large mug that you can use for coffee, tea, soup, oatmeal, cereal, etc.
7. Hummus. Forget instant noodles. Leave the insta for your #travelpics. You deserve to eat better. I recommend buying a bag of garbanzo beans (costs a couple dollars tops) which you could use for your salads or to make homemade hummus. One bag goes a LONG way. Depending on how much you consume per week, one bag should definitely last you well over a month.
8. Dill. Buy a dime bag of DILL at a local market with the spare change in your pocket. Dill (or eneldo in Spanish) becomes you're go-to secret ingredient for salads, sandwiches, and almost anything but sweets. It's good but subtle, and makes it look like you know what you're doing in the kitchen when you're around friends.
9. Lime. Depending on where you are in the world, avocados can be humongous and too much to eat in one sitting. Cut the avocado in half, and squeeze a little lime juice to cover the surface of the avo to keep it from turning brown in the refrigerator. This works for guacamole as well. Maybe even better for that. (I have my grandma to thank for that tip!)