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    • July1962
    • By July1962 29th May 12, 8:23 PM
    • 895 Posts
    • 13,249 Thanks
    July1962
    • #2
    • 29th May 12, 8:23 PM
    • #2
    • 29th May 12, 8:23 PM
    I always put a few packets of savoury rice into gaps in my case as all you need is a saucepan, water and a single-ring hob and you can make a cheap/quick meal (great if your running low on cash). Also a useful first night meal if you arrive late and can't be bothered to hunt out a local shop/restaurant.
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    • rachhh
    • By rachhh 29th May 12, 9:48 PM
    • 326 Posts
    • 3,253 Thanks
    rachhh
    • #3
    • 29th May 12, 9:48 PM
    • #3
    • 29th May 12, 9:48 PM
    If you go to a touristy place, they usually have tourist supermarkets in central locations which charge premium prices... but if you ask at your hotel they can usually direct you to the supermarket/s that locals use... usually a bit further out but worth the time and maybe money for all the money you'll save stocking up on food for the duration!
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  • Bob the Saver
    • #4
    • 29th May 12, 9:51 PM
    • #4
    • 29th May 12, 9:51 PM
    What about tips for self catering in hotels? and I don't just mean a take your own and tea bags !!!

    We had a big suite in a Macau casino hotel and made our own delicious genuine Indian meal from boil in the bags (bought in India) in their kettle - they're are very good actually.

    Had to open the windows in the morning though!
    Last edited by Bob the Saver; 29-05-2012 at 9:55 PM.
    • vivatifosi
    • By vivatifosi 29th May 12, 10:10 PM
    • 16,959 Posts
    • 106,548 Thanks
    vivatifosi
    • #5
    • 29th May 12, 10:10 PM
    • #5
    • 29th May 12, 10:10 PM
    We self-cater whenever we go to the States. We know where the supermarkets are and even have a Winn-Dixie card for the local supermarket.

    Generally we take a box of cereal with us because American cereals, even if you buy the same brands, contain more sugar. Plus, if you haven't got room in your case for a box of cereals on the way out, what hope have you got of bringing back souvenirs? If you're taking food into America or Australia you should declare it. I don't think you are supposed to take fruit, seeds, meat or dairy products either.

    If you must have a certain "taste from home" such as tea, take it with you (providing it is allowed). In the supermarket in the US you can get Rich Tea biscuits, Tea, Cadbury's Choc, all sorts but at really high prices.

    As where I stay only has a microwave, I buy a cheap tupperware style container at the start of my holiday that I can use to cook and heat food, then leave it over there.

    Oh, and before you go shopping, check what the apartment/house has in the kitchen. If you need a tin opener, its best to know before you go shopping and come back starving with tinned food. All obvious stuff, but I've fallen foul of that one myself. ETA: something else I've done but shouldnt: don't buy a big tub of ice cream and come back and find out you don't have a freezer, just a fridge.. DOH!
    Last edited by vivatifosi; 29-05-2012 at 10:14 PM.
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    • Tarry
    • By Tarry 29th May 12, 10:54 PM
    • 10,385 Posts
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    Tarry
    • #6
    • 29th May 12, 10:54 PM
    • #6
    • 29th May 12, 10:54 PM
    I self cater when I go over to Ireland, I tend to get some bits and bobs before I leave, ie, coffee, cereal, kitchen roll, that type of thing, and get a few things before we catch the ferry, like milk etc (one of these days it will be churned when we get over there but anyway) as by the time we get over there, it will be late and most things will be closed. And we get things as and when we need them. We tend to use the local supermarkets like supervalu.
    The Very Right Honourable Lady Tarry of the Alphabetty thread

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    • Alye16
    • By Alye16 30th May 12, 8:01 AM
    • 280 Posts
    • 183 Thanks
    Alye16
    • #7
    • 30th May 12, 8:01 AM
    • #7
    • 30th May 12, 8:01 AM
    If I'm self catering in the UK I always try to do a online supermarket shop, a few weeks before leaving home.You have time to make sure you have everything you need.Fresh food especially bread can be frozen(if you have freezer) for use during the week.I normally manage with local shops then for any tops ups we need.I normally book a delivery time for after we are likely to arrive and within a few hours of arriving everything is unpacked and your ready to start the holiday.
  • stephw1
    • #8
    • 30th May 12, 8:02 AM
    Self-catering on holiday
    • #8
    • 30th May 12, 8:02 AM
    We self-cater when we go skiing (something passed down from my parents!) It's an expensive enough holiday as it is, the restaurants are by and large a rip-off, and most of the time we're too tired to bother going out for dinner (not much apres ski for me!), so we take lots of dried foodie bits and top it up with fresh meat and veg from the (also overpriced) supermarkets... this year we had:

    Tinned salmon risotto (took a stock cube, tinned salmon, measured risotto rice, tinned peas...added fresh salad)

    Macaroni cheese with hot dogs (took measured out pasta, a little pot of flour, tin of hot dogs... added some good French cheese)

    Meat & bean stew (took a half size tin of butter beans, another stock cube, a carton of tomatoes... added veg and sausage, served with leftover baguette)

    Gnocchi (took a packet of gnocchi, a carton of tomatoes, herbs and seasoning etc... added cheese)

    Curry and rice (took a jar of curry sauce (risky in the suitcase though!), and a portion of rice... added meat and veg)

    We also took various snacks, individually wrapped flapjacks and chocolate bars and things. And cereal. And little individual hot drinks sachets. It's a shame to do this too much if your holiday is about experiencing the culture and the local cuisine, of course. But it saves a lot of money!

    I can't remember what else. Especially for skiing I think this works very well, as food tends to need to be pretty carb heavy in any case! I think the main thing is to plan, things like cheese sauce can't really be made without flour, and if you plan ahead you only need to take a tiny pot full, and then you don't have to waste money on an entire bag of the stuff when you get there! Similar with pasta, measure it out before you go, and then you'll have loads of space for the way home too!
    • andygb
    • By andygb 30th May 12, 8:29 AM
    • 11,250 Posts
    • 23,885 Thanks
    andygb
    • #9
    • 30th May 12, 8:29 AM
    • #9
    • 30th May 12, 8:29 AM
    We self cater quite a bit, when travelling to Europe. The things which we take with us - good picnic set, with proper cutlery, corkscrew, decent knives and sharpening steel. Fishing rod (telescopic) with decent reel, loaded with 8lb BS line and selection of wire traces and lures - this has never let me down, and provides some of the best fresh fish, from rivers and harbours/rocks. We also use local markets and supermarkets for the best meat, vegetables and of course - wine
    Some of our best holidays have been the self catering ones.
  • gaily
    Holidaying in the UK
    We've done Scotland for the past 2 years, and are back off again this year. We've done a Tesco online shop in the week before travelling, and get it delivered to our Chalet for the afternoon we arrive (with the owners consent!).

    It's lovely walking into a place where the food is waiting for you, the owners are nice enough to put the beer/milk/fresh stuff in the fridge, and the freezy stuff in the freezer!!

    Then, a top up shop at the end of week one - OK, so you have to wait for that one to arrive, and it does cost £5, but for sheer lack of hassle, having your holiday out of the supermarket (where you can't find anything as it's organised different to your home shop / pricey because it's a local etc) - and you can update your list right up to the day before.

    Anyone holidaying abroad - good luck! Last time I self-catered, I took a box of weetabix, packet noodles/pasta & powder sauces, marmite, and a tin opener - as the one in the aprtment is never quite good enough. Bought milk, meat, bread and juice locally. (But then again, I was holidaying solo without having had kids at that stage!)
    Always on the hunt for a bargain. :rolleyes:

    Always grateful for any hints, tips or guidance as to where the best deals are
  • CompBunny
    Couscous is wonderful - just pour boiling water from the kettle onto it and leave covered for 5 minutes. You can make a meal by mixing in tinned kidney beans, tinned sweetcorn or even tinned tomatoes or if you have access to a fridge then fresh veggies like diced tomatos and onion. I mix in the beans or whatever I'm using before adding the boiling water and 5 minutes later theres a yummy lunch with zero effort and only one cooking bowl to wash up!

    You can even get flavoured packet mixes pretty cheaply. I like a lemon and coriander one that Tesco do for about 30p per packet which serves 3 or 2 very generously. Alternatively a big bag of unflavoured wholewheat couscous is around 80p - £1 that will give several meals worth.
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    • greatscot
    • By greatscot 30th May 12, 10:57 AM
    • 9 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    greatscot
    one ring burner and afrying pan
    Camp Pizzas
    My kids and husband love these. all you need is one ring burner and a frying pan.
    Tortillas, Grated Cheese, Cheap Pasta Sauce, a little oil
    Method: Heat a little oil in the frying pan
    Add the tortilla, spread the pasta sauce over the tortilla and sprinkle grated cheese on top. Gently cook till the cheese melts and serve. You can also fold in half to make folded pizza
    Optionally you can add pre cooked mushrooms, peppers ham etc.

    Egg fried rice
    Ready made rice, 2 eggs, soy sauce, chopped spring onion, Chinese oxo
    scramble and cook eggs in the frying pan add the spring onion, sprinkle the Chinese oxo, add rice then soy sauce to colour and taste. This is great on its own or add meat, fish or veg.

    xxx
    Last edited by greatscot; 30-05-2012 at 11:03 AM. Reason: no title
  • mann-banks
    We have just come back from a week in a villa in Menorca, which is a holiday we do most years. I always take ice cube bags,foil, sandwich bags, thin flexible chopping boards and cereal for the kids and a new edition is empty fruit shoot bottles so we can buy squash and top up the bottles. We always go to the big Euoski supermarkets and buy lots of own brand food. The quality is really good and to be honest the price difference compared to food here has almost gone. We found buying products from a large supermarket compared to the local resort supermarkets were on average cheaper by at least 50 cent per item. In pounds that approx 41p per item.
  • loupegaroue
    A sharp knife, sharpener (Amazon do a good mini steel), pallette knife / fish slice, tin opener, corkscrew and some tupperware.

    I've found all the above are poor quality / abused / missing (and vital to my cooking). Some tupperware is handy for picnics and storage of left overs.
  • Brian Steele
    Beware - many European shops are closed on Sundays and Mondays
    Someone else has already recommended getting a supermarket delivery to your holiday home (if you are in the UK).

    If you are going to Europe, it's worth remembering that most shops are closed on Sundays and often on Mondays aswell - more of a problem if you are not in a resort area - so you need to take enough food with you to cover that eventuality. We once had to survive on cream cakes for a day, because the local pasticceria was the only place open on Sunday.

    Even if you are staying in a hotel, my wife and I have often been known to have a picnic in our room. Go to a supermarket and stock up from the deli counter: it saves a fortune on restaurant prices.
    • angieplus4
    • By angieplus4 30th May 12, 1:41 PM
    • 16 Posts
    • 8 Thanks
    angieplus4
    never buy ice creams in singles
    when ever we are on holiday always self catering as we are a family of 6 always buy a pack of icecreams or lollies from supermarket cost £1-£3 instead of up to £12 for 6 ice creams. i do say they normaly come in packs of 4 or 6 but even if you could not eat 2 and just threw them in the bin u are still saving money the little stalls or ice cream vans are so expensive just wanted to share this tip its just getting the kids to decide which pack they want x
    • tenuissent
    • By tenuissent 30th May 12, 2:02 PM
    • 330 Posts
    • 557 Thanks
    tenuissent
    I always take a full picnic kit (including sharp knife, corkscrew and all the sensible things noted above) and thick tablecloth for mass family hotel stays. Restaurants can be a nightmare with bored children, fussy eaters, endless explanations of foreign menus, and people who don't like their food when it finally arrives. Do it once or twice for the experience and the training, then:

    Encourage everyone to buy various things during the day that they are prepared to eat in the evening. Spread the thick table cloth over bed in the biggest room to protect it, and display all the food attractively. Eat in relaxed way, plenty of wine and juices. Clear up very thoroughly.

    Hotels understandably do not like people to eat in the bedrooms; the food and drink has to be smuggled in tactfully inside opaque bags that might contain swimming things, not the local supermarket bags. I have always cleared up meticulously and disposed of rubbish and bottles in street recycling bins.

    The most we have had eating in a small room is 16, and although we have enjoyed mass restaurant meals, paying for them and waiting for the food and amusing little children soon palls.......
    • totallybored
    • By totallybored 30th May 12, 2:16 PM
    • 1,078 Posts
    • 2,503 Thanks
    totallybored
    If you're staying in a nice hotel you won't be able to use the mini bar as a fridge as it'll have sensors when things are lifted up. Ask if they can provide a mini fridge to store your medication in or ask for the mini bar to be emptied (might be easier if you have kids with you but you could always say you're a recovering alcoholic).

    I have taken McDonald's back into 5 star hotels before. Never tried ordering a pizza though!

    If breakfast is included in a hotel take a few bits of fruit and some yogurts with you. If you have no shame take a tubberware box and take rolls, ham, pastries etc too (I don't do this myself as I rarely make it out of bed in time for breakfast but I've seen others do it).
    • Doshwaster
    • By Doshwaster 30th May 12, 2:41 PM
    • 4,660 Posts
    • 3,806 Thanks
    Doshwaster
    Hotels understandably do not like people to eat in the bedrooms; the food and drink has to be smuggled in tactfully inside opaque bags that might contain swimming things, not the local supermarket bags. I have always cleared up meticulously and disposed of rubbish and bottles in street recycling bins.
    Originally posted by tenuissent
    It really depends on the type of hotel. Top end 4* and 5*, I would agree with you but I've never had any problem in budget/mid-range hotels in the US. In fact many will provide you with the delivery menus from the local restaurants and takeaways.
  • GlynD
    I self cater when I go over to Ireland, I tend to get some bits and bobs before I leave, ie, coffee, cereal, kitchen roll, that type of thing, and get a few things before we catch the ferry, like milk etc (one of these days it will be churned when we get over there but anyway) as by the time we get over there, it will be late and most things will be closed. And we get things as and when we need them. We tend to use the local supermarkets like supervalu.
    Originally posted by Tarry
    You've raised a very good point there about SuperValu and other local supermarkets, especially the ones with filling stations attached. I found whilst living in GB that these were the most expensive places to shop but in Ireland they're the cheapest! Centra is another brand name which spings to mind for Ireland.
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