8 Hotel Room Hacks To Save Money By Preparing Your Own Food

If you travel often, or are on a budget, takeout and room service quickly lose their appeal. It’s also a pretty costly way to eat and adds up to a big expense while traveling. With a little ingenuity and minimal effort, you can creatively figure out ways to prepare food that is tasty, nutritious and cost effective- right in your hotel room (and with minimal tools). Here are some of our favorite ideas:

8. Many Uses For Your Coffee Maker

You thought your coffee maker was for making coffee? Well, it does that of course, but this small appliance can help in the making of numerous other dishes as well.  You can throwback to student days and prepare ramen noodles or rice, simply by placing them in the carafe and filling the reservoir with water. You can make oatmeal, simply by putting packets of oatmeal in the coffee pot, filling the reservoir with water, and flipping the switch.

Photo by: Huffpost Taste
Photo by: Huffpost Taste

7. Even More Uses For Your Coffee Maker

You can even poach boneless chicken breasts by putting the chicken, seasoning and butter in the coffee pot. Put a little bit of water (enough to cover the chicken, but not completely submerging it) and flip the switch. Flip the chicken after about 10 minutes to make sure it gets cooked all the way through. Grab a bagged salad and a baguette and you’ve got a square meal! If salmon is more your cup of tea (or cup of coffee, in this case), season a salmon filet and put in the carafe. Fill the reservoir with water. Place chopped veggies in the basket and flip the switch. You’re poaching salmon and steaming veggies at the same time. You can even hard boil a few eggs in the coffee maker carafe, the possibilities are endless if you think outside the box.

Photo by: Cooking With Your Coffee Maker
Photo by: Cooking With Your Coffee Maker

6. Sandwich Artistry

If you’ve got a fridge in your room, stock it with fruits, veggies, cheeses and sandwich meats. Instead of hitting the local sub shop, make your own. It’s healthier, less expensive and you can get exactly what you want- including seconds! Sandwiches also wrap up well to take with you on your day out.

making a sandwich

5. The Microwave

Your microwave is for far more than popping popcorn, or reheating last night’s dinner (although that is a great way to stretch your meal mileage). Many rooms now come equipped with a microwave, and the food possibilities are reason enough to include that wonder appliance in your room criteria. You can do all three meals in there actually. For lunch or dinner, fill 1 half of a tortilla with chopped cooked chicken, cilantro, green onion or whatever fillings you’d like. Brush the other half with salsa, fold the tortilla over, seal  it and microwave on a paper towel or microwave safe plate for about 30 seconds, or until cheese is melted.

microwave

4. The Mug

For breakfast, take one of the mugs that likely comes with your room. Make use of that microwave again, by melting about a tbsp of butter. Chop up an assortment of your favorite veggies. Crack an egg or 2 in the mug and add about 1.5 tbsp of milk and whisk. Add the chopped veggies and about a half piece of bread, torn into pieces and some grated cheese. Microwave on high for a minute, or until eggs are set. Voila, instant vegetable and egg strata.

Coffee Mug

3. The Iron

Now, this is creative use of a tool. Butter some bread and put a slice of your favorite cheese in between. Wrap the sandwich in foil and fire up that iron. Press that sandwich! It’s the original panini grill! Just make sure you wrap with enough foil that the cheese doesn’t leak out making a mess of the iron.

Hotel Iron

2. A Slow Cooker

It’s worth taking out that extra pair of shoes and putting a slow cooker in your suitcase. You don’t need to haul the huge one; a smaller one (2 or 3 quarts) will do just fine. After spending the day in meetings or at local attractions, kick your feet up, relax and watch the evening news while your slow cooker does the work for you. Put cooked meatballs in the slow cooker and cover generously with BBQ sauce and put on high. Another option is to throw in a small picnic ham, cover with maple syrup and hit high to heat through.

Crock Pot Slow Cooker

1. Waffles Anyone?

Another small appliance you may want on board is a compact waffle iron. You can really get creative with this one small appliance. A box of pancake/waffle mix that only requires you to add water means that you can whip up homemade waffles in no time. Not to mention the countless other things you can make in a waffle iron as well.

 

Waffle Maker

15 Must See World War II Sites in Europe

For those who are constantly glued to the World War II documentaries on the History Channel and have read countless books and articles about Allied tactics and strategic movements on the European fronts, a visit to Europe is the next step in your historical education. Personally seeing and physically standing on the many sites that were significant to that time will provide an unparalleled perspective and insight into the facts you already know about the war, as well as offer new information that is sometimes hard to come by from secondary sources. So for all the history buffs out there, here are 15 sites significant to the Second World War that, ranging from inspirational to overwhelming, are worth visiting in Europe:

15. Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, Germany

This work camp just outside of Berlin is found about three km from the location of the first ever Nazi concentration camp known as Oranienburg (now destroyed). The camp became the center of Nazi operations and is now a museum detailing the life of the inhabitants, both officers and detainees in a number of exhibits. Visitors can also see the special exhibition dedicated to the Oranienburg camp found in the museum’s permanent exhibit, and walk the ground of the camp for an incomparable lesson in the severity of the Nazi aggression.

Sachenhausen Concentration Camp, Germany

14. Arnhem Bridge, Netherlands

This bridge became well known after the strategic operation known as Operation Market Garden, whereby the Arnhem Bridge was the last in a string of strategic points targeted for takeover by the Allied forces. Successful up until that point, the Allies were unable to capture the bridge in the September 1944 Battle of Arnhem, an event that later became the subject of several books and the Hollywood film “A Bridge Too Far.” Surviving the September battle, the bridge was destroyed by Allied troops in October of the same year to help curb the transport of German supplies. In 1949 the bridge was rebuilt in the same style, and in 1977, renamed “The John Frostburg” in honor of the British commander that defended it in the September battle.

Arnhem Bridge, Netherlands

13. Oskar Schindler’s Enamel Factory, Krakow, Poland

As many who have read the Thomas Keneally’s novel “Schindler’s List” or seen the Spielberg movie of the same name know, Oskar Schindler was a Nazi Party member who saved hundreds of Jewish lives through political bribery and Jewish employment at his enamel and munitions factories. The administrative building of the enamel factory still stands today, and houses the Krakow Museum of Contemporary Art, as well as the Historical Museum of the City of Krakow, which is mainly devoted to the Party member and the lives of “his Jews.” This museum is must-see for anyone who wants to learn more about the life of a man now largely regarded as a hero.

Agnes Kantaruk / Shutterstock.com
Agnes Kantaruk / Shutterstock.com

12. Humboldthain Flak Tower, Germany

Originally constructed as a solution to air-strike vulnerability, German Flak Towers were domineering concrete complexes that sheltered anti-aircraft guns and protected ammunition from falling bombs. The towers operated in pairs, one a gun tower (Gefechsturm or G tower) and the other a command tower (Leitturn or L tower). Their heavily reinforced structure also served as bomb shelters for civilians as well as an extremely effective defensive center, with a radar dish that could detect bombers from over 50 miles away, eight 128-mm cannons with a firing capacity of 48 shells per minute and a number of other smaller cannons scattered around the tower. Many of the towers have since been destroyed or converted, but the one remaining in Berlin is open to visitors.

Photo by: itineri.de via Flickr

11. Vel D’Hiv Monument, France

Though the actual building of the Velodrome d’Hiver (indoor cycling track) was destroyed and replaced by government buildings, visitors can still stand on the spot, commemorated by a plaque, where in July of 1942, Jewish families in France were rounded up by the French police and forcibly herded into the Velodrome. It is there that over 13,000 citizens waited in deplorable conditions (without food, water or washroom facilities) for days before being dispersed among various concentration camps. A memorial to the victims was erected in the city in 1993, with the French Government issuing a public apology at a memorial service at the site in 1995.

Photo by: Leonieke Aalders via Wikimedia Commons
Photo by: Leonieke Aalders via Wikimedia Commons

10. Oradour-Sur-Glane, France

This small village in western France is memorialized as the site of one of the largest Nazi massacres on French soil. On June 10, 1944 SS officers stormed the village and killed the vast majority of residents, some 642 men, women and children, before largely destroying the area. Though officially rebuilt a few km north, the French government ordered the original site to be untouched and to stand testament to the horrors committed there. Visitors can walk through the ruins of the ghost town and pay their respects at the onsite memorial.

Oradour-Sur-Glane, France

9. Umschlagplatz, Warsaw, Poland

During German occupation, the German-named Umschlagplatz (“reloading point”) was the Square in Warsaw used to round up Polish Jews and organize their deportation from the Ghetto to the Treblinka concentration camp. People waited in hordes for hours until enough detainees were rounded up to fill the train cars, with any signs of resistance resulting in instant death. Today, the site of the former Square is home to a memorial constructed in the image of train cars, erected to pay tribute to the countless lives doomed (and lost) on these very premises.

Dariusz Leszczynski / Shutterstock.com
Dariusz Leszczynski / Shutterstock.com

8. Warsaw Ghetto, Poland

In the beautiful Polish city of Warsaw, there still stands a testament to the largest and deadliest Nazi-created Ghetto in Europe. By the deadline of October 15, 1940, the city’s large Jewish population was forcibly required to move into an 18 km area which enclosed 73 of the city’s 1800 streets, and was divided into the “small” and “large” ghettos linked by a wooden bridge. At highest capacity, the Ghetto housed about 380,000 people, translating to about eight residents per room. Today, the site is commemorated by “The Footbridge of Memory” which denotes the location of the original bridge between the two Ghettos, several monument and memorials. The area also still contains chunks of the original separating wall as well as decrepit residential buildings which have stood untouched for the past seven decades.

Anastasia Petrova / Shutterstock.com
Anastasia Petrova / Shutterstock.com

7. The Wolf’s Lair, Poland

This major complex hidden among a dense Masurian forest was Hitler’s first headquarters on the Eastern Front, and became his most frequently inhabited hideout (he spent about half the war here). Originally built for the impending invasion of the Soviet Union, the property became a sort of small town consisting of shelters, barracks, two airfields as well as a power and rail station. Despite being heavily reinforced and highly secure, this was also the site of the infamous July 1944 assassination attempt of Hitler by Claus Von Stauffenberg. The premises were vacated and destroyed by German officials in January of 1945 and remained untouched by the Polish Government until the fall of Communism. Today, the site is in ruins but has become a popular tourist attraction with a handful of hotels and restaurants now available in the remote area.

Wolf's Lair, Poland

6. Bletchley Park, England

Featured in the film “The Imitation Game,” Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire was Britain’s central site for code breaking during the Second World War. As the location of the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS), it became the largest and most successful institution in penetrating secret Axis communications, most famously of the German Enigma and Lorenz ciphers. Analysis now suggests that the efforts conducted on these premises shortened the war by about 2 years, and the school is now an educational and historic attraction commemorating the accomplishments of the institution.

Photo by: Magnus Manske via Wikimedia Commons
Photo by: Magnus Manske via Wikimedia Commons

5. Fuhrerbunker, Berlin

Now largely destroyed, this bunker was located under the former Reich Chancellery building in the heart of the city, and is the site where Hitler spent the last few weeks of the war, married Eva Braun and committed suicide in April of 1945. Located 11.5 feet below ground level, the bunker was a system of 30 small rooms protected by 13 foot thick concrete walls with an exit point in the Reich Chancellery gardens. Today, the site looks inconspicuous enough as a quiet residential neighborhood, and is largely unmarked save the small plaque and information board that denotes the location and provides a schematic diagram of the bunker.

Photo by: Cezary p at pl. via Wikimedia Commons
Photo by: Cezary p at pl. via Wikimedia Commons

4. Cabinet War Rooms, England

Partially restored and opened as a museum to the public in 1985, the Cabinet War Rooms were originally a secret complex under the basement of the Treasury. The bomb blitz of December 1940 forced the complex to be reinforced as a bomb bunker, becoming the main strategic headquarters for the War Cabinet (consisting of Prime Minister Churchill and several Conservative and Labor Party ministers). Today visitors can descend below the streets of Westminster and check out the various rooms of the complex as they would have existed during the war, and of especial significance, the Map Room, which remains exactly as it was when the premises were closed and vacated in August of 1945.

Cabinet War Rooms, England

3. Auschwitz- Birkenau, Poland

Originally built in 1940 as a detention center for political prisoners, Auschwitz-Birkenau became the Nazi’s most gruesome legacy—the largest death camp and the primary site for the “Final Solution.” Located on the site of a former military base just outside of Krakow, Poland, the complex was regarded as the ideal location to carry out Nazi atrocities because of its proximity to the rail lines used to transport prisoners. Liberated on January 27, 1945 by the Soviet Army, estimates suggest that upwards of 1.1 million deaths were carried out on the property. Today, Auschwitz is a harrowing museum complex not for the faint of heart. While undeniably an important site to see, visitors are urged to check out the museum website (http://visit.auschwitz.org/ ) to familiarize themselves with the rules, entry pass guidelines and capacity restrictions before their visit.

Auschwitz Birkenau, Berlin

2. Musee de la Reddition, France

This red brick schoolhouse just northwest of the Reims train station is the historic site where, in the early morning of May 7, 1945 high officers from the German army met with officers of the Allied forces and signed the declaration of unconditional surrender, ending the second world war in Europe. Now known as the Lycee Roosevelt, the property was being used as the headquarters of Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, and the room where the signature took place, the map room, remains perfectly preserved behind a glass panel and comprises the museum now called the Musee de la Reddition.

Photo by: Gerald Garitan via Wikimedia Commons
Photo by: Gerald Garitan via Wikimedia Commons

1. Normandy, France

It is on this stretch of beaches on the Normandy coast where the infamous D-Day Landings of June 6, 1944 took place, changing the course of the war to favor the Allies. The five beaches—Sword, Juno, Gold, Omaha and Utah—were where the forces of the French, British, Canadian and American armies successfully landed and commenced an operation that changed the tide of WWII in Europe. Today, visitors can pay their respects to the sacrifices made by these troops at the various memorials found on the beaches, at the military cemeteries of each army and learn more about the operation and strategy at the various museums and information centers.

Normandy, France

Like this? Check out 10 Significant World War II Sites to Visit in Germany

10 Things NOT to Say to a Flight Attendant

It seems that it is everyone’s dream job, jetting off to places you can only dream about. But being a flight attendant isn’t always about having fun, meeting new people and exploring new places. In fact it seems that the majority of passengers these days are downright rude, miserable and panicky. Crying babies, delays, drunken passengers and ignorance are a big part of everyday life for flight attendants. If you want to make their day just a little bit better and move from being the rude, ignorant passenger to the nice passenger, we suggest never ever saying these 10 things to your next flight attendant.

10. Is there anything else to eat?

Let’s review what happens when they load the airplane with food. The crew comes on, loads the tiny little carts with a select number of meals, sandwiches, snacks, etc and that is all the food on the plane. The plane takes off into the air and there is no possible other way of food getting onto the aircraft. If a flight attendant offers you ‘chicken or vegetables’, I assure you that there is not another option. Whatever they are telling you is the only option and if you don’t like it, that’s just too darn bad. As for flights that don’t offer anything other than a snack, same thing applies. There is one snack, take it or leave it, and next time pack your own food instead of complaining about ours.

Airplane Food

9. I am sorry to bother you but…..

The fact of the matter is if you were actually sorry about bothering me, you wouldn’t bother me. It is a flight attendant’s job to get you a drink, ensure you are staying safe, grab you a blanket if you are cold, etc. Therefore please stop saying sorry. If you actually need something that requires the flight attendants assistance, you don’t need to apologize because it is their job. On the other hand if you are ringing the call button and apologizing because you are asking for them to watch your children; “sorry to bother you but can you hold my baby”, then that is not okay. Bothering flight attendants for mundane reasons is not okay, they have a job to do to.

Call button

8. Am I going to make my connection?

Flight attendants are not psychic. Now just repeat that three times in your head. They are only privy to the information that is shared with them via the pilots, the air traffic controllers and the airport. Therefore if you are asking midway through your flight if you are going to make your connection, chances are they have no idea. They cannot predict what the weather will be like for the rest of your flight nor do they know if they will hold your plane for you. There are hundreds, even thousands of different scenarios that can play out in the time it takes you to get off the plane and run to your connecting gate that no one can in fact know the answer to this. Your best bet if you think you are going to miss your connection, is to start running, really fast once you exit the plane.

Scared Passenger

7. I will turn my phone off in just one minute.

This is perhaps the most annoying thing you can say to a flight attendant, and it may be obsolete in a few short years as cell phone use is becoming more and more common on major airlines. But for now, certain airlines make you turn off your cellular device, or at least turn it on airplane mode. Talking obnoxiously on the phone while you are sitting in your seat and the flight attendant is trying to get others settled in, brief emergency exit door passengers and making sure everyone is wearing their seatbelt is just downright annoying to all those people around you. Then to tell the flight attendant; who is ensuring your safety by the way, that they need to wait a moment while you finish you phone call is just rude. You know you are boarding the plane at a certain time, you know you have to get off your phone call, so do everyone a favor and switch your phone off when they tell you to.

Airplane phone

6. What kind of drinks do you have?

Even if you are a first time flyer, it is pretty obvious that airplanes have a select number of drinks on-board. Asking a flight attendant to list off all the drink choices is not like asking a server at a bar to list off draft choices. First off, your non-alcoholic drinks are most likely free, therefore just pick a regular soft drink or juice and ask for it. If they don’t have, they will mention something similar they do have. If you really can’t figure out something to order just reach into that seat pocket in front of you, there is probably a menu in there that lists your options. If that doesn’t help you, please just do everyone a favor and order water. Your flight attendant has 100 other people to serve and doesn’t have time to list off the 14 different drinks they have available.

withGod / Shutterstock.com
withGod / Shutterstock.com

5. Can you watch my kids?

If you look up the definition of a flight attendant, nowhere does it say the word ‘babysitter’. That is because they are not there to watch your kids. To you it may seem like the perfect excuse to hand off your baby to a stranger for 5 minutes while you run to the washroom but this is a horrible idea. What if something goes wrong in those 5 minutes and the flight attendant cannot do their job because your baby is now in their arms? Plus let’s be honest, as cute are your crying baby may be to you, the flight attendant probably isn’t going to think so when they are screaming in their face. If you want any chance of the flight attendant slipping an extra cookie your way to calm down your two year old who is throwing a temper tantrum; do not ask them to ever watch your kids for you.

airport 12

4. Can you put my bag up there for me?

If you cannot lift your carry-on bag above your head, you should not be carrying it. The rule is pretty straightforward. Your carry-on bag will likely have to be stored in the overhead compartments and guess what; you are responsible for getting it up there. Did you think that in flight attendant training they practiced lifting up people’s bags for them? The answer is no, they are not responsible for lifting your heavy bag that you tried to cram your entire life into. If you do ask this question plan on getting a dirty look shot at you by the flight attendant, followed by a snicker which will quickly remind you that placing your bag up top is your responsibility. Also don’t plan on getting any special service after you have asked this question, it is one of the most offensive.

Overhead Baggage

3. Why are we delayed?

Let’s go back to the idea that flight attendants are not psychic. Therefore if they aren’t making announcements about why you are delayed, they probably don’t know themselves. You see, contrary to people’s beliefs, the airline actually does want passengers to know what is going on. Leaving passengers in the dark about why delays are happening leads to unhappy flyers, unhappy flight attendants and an overall terrible experience. Therefore flight attendants are apt to make an announcement when they know what is happening. Delays happen, every single minute of every single day for millions of reasons. Your best bet is to sit tight because whether you know or not, it doesn’t change to fact you are stuck in a metal tube with no way out.

Passenger Announcement

2. I sure hope these pilots know what they are doing.

It is the most idiotic statement you can make, either to the person sitting next to you or the flight attendant, but they hear it all the time. Do you actually think the airline went to Joe Schmuck last week and asked him if he wanted to try flying a plane, and then just hired him as a pilot with no prior experience? NO! Of course the pilots know what they are doing. They have gone through years of training, hours upon hours of flying and if you seriously doubt that fact, perhaps you shouldn’t be flying with that airline. Do not ever utter these words, to a flight attendant, to anyone. Ever.

pilots cockpit

1. Can I get a free upgrade?

If they wanted to upgrade you for free, trust me, they would have. That’s the thing that passengers don’t quite understand about the airline world. First up, if you wanted an upgrade you should have asked before you got onto the plane because chances are, you would have had a better shot. Secondly, why would a flight attendant upgrade you for free while all those other people in first class have paid big money to sit there? Are you famous? Are you someone who deserves a free upgrade? I can almost guarantee if you ask for a free upgrade from a flight attendant they will say no, and probably not give you any free drinks either. Stop asking for things for free.

Airplane Upgrade