We’re pretty much the poster children for packing everything bar the kitchen sink, and despite fervent vows that the next trip will be different, that we’ll learn to travel light, this never ends up being the case. In fact, we travel so light that we even travel with a microwave!! For cross country road-trips at least.
It was a during recent road-trip throughout the US that we realized a portable microwave could come in incredibly handy. With the amount of time we were spending in the country to explore, we figured the time and money having a microwave would save would prove to far outweigh it’s initial cost.
We hit up Walmart to invest $40 and haven’t looked back since. The following explains exactly why our microwave now rides shotgun on each of our epic trips.
Road Trip Rules: Why We Travel With a Microwave
Eating out is an expensive pass time, and when you’re on the road full time, jumping between hotel rooms, you don’t have many options. Room service usually costs an arm and a leg, and take-away will leave you feeling depressed and overweight within the first three weeks.
The cheapest option for eating abroad is always to shop at local supermarkets, though we can’t always afford to book hotel rooms which come with a full kitchenette, and not all rooms provide the essentials like a single serve blender … or a microwave!
It’s even more difficult if you have specific eating habits and routines at home; I’ve recently joined the global juice movement, and quite enjoy waking up each morning and heading straight for my favorite juicer – but you can’t do that when you’re traveling.
Traveling with our own appliances has saved us a LOT of money on food, and has broadened our range of options for cheap meals when we may have otherwise been forced to eat out.
Buy a carton of eggs and cook one in a cup for 45 seconds on high in the microwave. Breakfast. Find microwavable rice, mashed potato, vegetables, and you’ve got dinner. Our average cost of food for two people while on the road is around $10 per day.
Great for Traveling Gluten Free
Yes, Mike is one of those people who’s diet is unfortunately gluten free.
Having both worked in the hospitality industry for many many years, it’s very easy to believe that having a genuine intolerance to gluten is a myth – people jumping on the notion of eating gluten free because it’s a trend and they believe it’s the healthiest option.
You wouldn’t believe the amount of customers who would traipse through our respective restaurants and demand food which was “gluten free, dairy free, wheat free, sugar free, oh and we’re also lactose intolerant too.” That’s a highly unfortunate combination of allergies.
So imagine our surprise when we realized gluten intolerance is a genuine health concern, and your body can become intolerant and reject products made with wheat. Those with a genuine intolerance to gluten can become very sick should even the smallest crumb come into contact with their food, and so we would much rather prepare our food ourselves where possible and save ourselves the stress.
Having a microwave handy means we can cook up our own fresh food purchased locally from nearby supermarkets, and not have to worry about wondering whether someone has handled our food incorrectly. Check out The Gluten Free Guide to Travel for more information.
Eat Whenever You Want
You never have to worry about sleeping past the end of your hotel breakfast again, the ability to cook for yourself means you can enjoy your meals at any hour of the day or night.
Have access to good, hot food even after the room service menu ends, and enjoy the convenience of not even having to even open your door to get dinner.
Tips For Road-tripping with a Microwave
We travel with a cover for the microwave so it doesn’t look odd as we’re entering/exiting a hotel. It’s not exactly an item you normally see someone checking out with, so we don’t want to raise alarms that we’re stealing.
Highly advise against attempting this for international travel, as the voltage is likely to vary and you may end up causing a lightning storm in your room.
We pack our microwave away each day if housekeeping is due to clean the room – no need to cause confusion among the hotel staff if there shouldn’t be a microwave in your room!
If you’re thinking of other options for self catered trips, be aware that most hotels ban the use of a grill in room. Though for our upcoming road trip from Phoenix to Alaska I’m also going to pack my toasted sandwich press. Toasted sandwiches provide an immense amount of joy in my life.