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Hotel Camping (Hamping)

This photo shows a healthy lunch with a veggie sandwich, fresh fruit and juice, for eating back at the hotel.

Save money by bringing food back to the hotel room.

To save money on your road trip, here’s how to go hamping (hotel camping) in your hotel room.

One way you can save a lot of time, money and frustration is by eating in the hotel room. I don’t mean ordering the crazy expensive room service. I mean buying food and bringing it back to the room, which some people call hamping. (A made up word similar to glamping, or glamour camping.)

It basically means that once you’re settled in the hotel, the next step is to go out and forage for food. Load up your favorite map app and search for grocery stores. Usually there’s a supermarket within a short drive.

Saving money is obvious, as you’ll only pay grocery store prices. You’ll save time, because you just grab food and go. You don’t have to sit around waiting to be served, or pay the bill, like in restaurants.

I add frustration to this list, because you’ve already spent several hours driving. You might not want to sit through the dining process. You just want to hit the grocery store, get what you want, go back to the room and eat.

Most modern supermarkets have freshly prepared food. It means that you don’t need to settle for junk food anymore, because most of them have several kinds of pre made salads, rotisserie meats, freshly made sandwiches, sliced fruit, organic juices, coffee and more.

For dining in the room, or on the road, collapsible bowls and plates come in handy. They pop up when you want them, then squish down to a fraction of their original size, when not in use. Add some plastic cutlery to the bowls and you have a complete dining set that you can take with you, no matter where you travel.

If you like coffee, or loose leaf tea, travel with a French Press. These little devices produce a higher quality beverage than you can get with teabags, or a hotel coffee maker. They’re also a lot more sanitary than the hotel coffeemaker, especially if they store it in the bathroom!

If it’s your first time to the USA, you’ll be shocked. The portions are huge and the prices are cheap. You can buy a whole fried chicken for less than the raw chicken costs in Canada. You can get bags of chips (known as crisps in the UK) that are big enough to use as a sleeping bag.

When shopping for food, get enough for dinner and breakfast the next day. If the next day is a travel day, get enough grub to prepare snacks and sandwiches for the drive too. Just don’t leave any meat, or perishables out at room temperature overnight.

Here’s a little trick my wife and I use when traveling abroad, or if staying in a place for more than a few days. Order room service the first night, then keep the bowls, plates and cutlery in your room. That way you can wash and reuse them for the remainder of your stay.

But a word of caution though, room service can be very expensive and full of nasty surprises. Be sure to read the fine print on the menu. In addition to the food cost, there may be a delivery cost, and a gratuity (tips) added on top of the other two charges.

Personally, I don’t care where I am in the world, I usually buy food and bring it back to the room. Sure we go out for meals too, but most of the time we just feel like relaxing and cocooning after long days of exploring. And besides, when we camp in the room, we eat healthier and save a lot of money too.

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