Dining out is definitely one of the perks of going on vacation.
Just because you’re staying in a hotel doesn’t mean you can’t finagle a homemade meal or two, though.
The easiest workaround, of course, is to book a hotel room that has either a full or limited kitchen.
They’re not that hard to find—and in many cases, are only slightly pricier than a standard room.
Try these six tricks to get your cooking fix in before you check out:
Borrow hotel gadgets.
Plenty of hotels have lending programs for items you might want—including kitchenware.
Hyatt’s “Hyatt Has It” program lets guests borrow blenders, tea kettles, and (if the room doesn’t have one already) coffeemakers, among other items.
Call the hotel ahead of time to see what’s available.
Ask for a fridge.
Even if the rooms don’t come standard with one, hotels can often provide one if you ask when you book.
“Many hotels will give you one gratis,” says April Masini of AskApril.com.
“Stock it from the local store with your favorite water bottles, wine, snacks, and cheese and crackers. You’ll have the food you want at your fingertips and you’ll save a bundle on room service and mini-bar charges,” she adds.
Expand your cooking repertoire.
No kitchen gear? No problem.
If you’re feeling adventurous, there are a surprising number of online tutorials for meals that can be prepared using just the hotel coffeemaker.
Options include oatmeal, hard-boiled eggs, steamed veggies, chocolate fondue and poached chicken.
Use the coffee burner to make grilled cheese or quesadillas. There are even some techniques to prep bacon using foil and the hotel room iron!
Consider bringing some small gear and other items.
“My carry-on always includes a tiny blender and a large ziptop of Garden Greens: Chocolate Protein Drink, including the label for airport security,” says Marnie Swedberg of Marnie.com.
“This practice allows me to do healthy, filling, in-room frappes in 60-seconds or less. Easy and delicious,” she says.
When Frugal Foodie travels for conventions, she often packs a plastic plate, reusable travel mug and butter knife, as well as tea bags and protein powder.
More hotels are introducing grocery delivery services for guests.
At Avenue Suites in Washington, D.C., guests can pick from one of four themed boxes for $50 or less, offering items such as pre-cut veggies and fruit, juice, granola, and mac-n-cheese.
The Affinia Hotel chain in New York City has a partnership with grocery delivery service FreshDirect.com.
Or shop on-site.
Skip the grocery delivery fees and pick up some items at a nearby supermarket yourself.
Even if you weren’t able to score an in-room fridge, there’s always fresh fruit, like apples, and the makings for PB&J sandwiches, among other easy meals.
Frugal Foodie is a journalist based in New York City who spends her days writing about personal finance and obsessing about what she’ll have for dinner. Chat with her on Twitter through @MintFoodie.