6 Tips for Eating Vegetarian in a Hostel – Budget Cooking for Backpackers

So you are a vegetarian, traveling, on a budget, wondering what to eat or what to make that can cheaply satisfy your dietary needs, and your bank account. Depending on where you are traveling, produce can be limited, and in some regions, meat-heavy cuisine is standard. But if you are lucky enough to be staying in a hostel with a kitchen, here are a few tips on what to buy and what to make as a traveling vegetarian.

The-Singing-Lamb,-Puerto-Natales,-Chile
Photo shows The Singing Lamb Hostel in Puerto Natales, Chile

Eating and Cooking Tips for Vegetarian Travelers

Shop at markets and street vendors.

Eating for one can be a challenge in itself, especially when you are traveling and don’t have storage for your leftovers. If you stumble upon a market, you can buy products by weight, so you will be able to buy spices, herbs, and produce in smaller quantities. You can also buy one piece of fruit as opposed to pre-packaged fruits sold in larger quantities. Buy a few items, bread, cheese, hummus, veggies, and fruits, and make yourself a little picnic!

Shop at markets and street vendors

Look for bulk commodities

Though soaking beans overnight may not be an option, look for places that sell dried goods by weight. Rice, couscous, quinoa, pasta, lentils, and other items are often sold this way, and can be much cheaper than store bought dry goods.

Make friends, who like to eat, and offer to cook

Vegetarian Backpackers - 3 Dogs Hostel in Sao PaoloEven if your friends aren’t all vegetarian, it is often easier and cheaper to leave out meat when cooking for a crowd anyway. Soups and pasta dishes are my go-to when at a hostel and cooking for a group. This is a good option because you can all split the cost, and no food goes to waste.
Photo by 3 Dogs Hostel in São Paolo, Brazil

Use what has been left in the hostel pantry

Check out items that have been left by previous travelers such as spices, pasta, oils, and other cooking necessities. Build a meal around what has been left, and leave your leftover dry goods for the next person.

Save leftovers – Save Money

If you are staying at the hostel for a few days, and there are storage containers, you could make a big dish one night, and wrap it up for yourself and have a meal ready to go over the next few days. This would work well for chili, soups, or pasta dishes.

Re-think old classic Recipes on Budget

Classic Hostel Recipes - Vegetarian Meals at HostelsThere are a lot of “hostel meals” that’s are already vegetarian. A favorite of mine is the old beans and egg on toast. To veganize, it skip the egg and go for a sliced avocado or tomato. Spaghetti and meatballs? Why not spaghetti with mixed vegetables, the nutrients will give you energy to make the most of your trip.

Summary Vegetarian Tips for Travelers

Hopefully these budget vegetarian tips will help you on your travels as a vegetarian or vegan, and even if you eat everything, eating in the hostel kitchen can really save some money. Travel may seem daunting for those with food restrictions or allergies, but it is completely possible with a little extra effort, and could even save you money you would have spent eating out!

About Katie Baxter

Katie Baxter of World Wide Vegetarian, is a vegetarian and vegan cook, and travel enthusiast, currently residing in Washington, D.C. During the past five years, she has traveled extensively through Europe and North America and enjoys learning about veggie dishes from other parts of the world. Connect with Katie on Facebook or Twitter to help support her work, while discovering new recipes and travel destinations.


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