Traveling every week for shows? Eat better and cheaper!

Are you travelling for shows every week and finding yourself spending a fortune and eating crap? Check this out.
Eating on the road and not spending a fortune!

My weekly work with DSUK, 50 Years of Fender and Seriously Collins has seen me travelling away from home for work pretty much every weekend of the year.

One of the hardest things I’ve found is being able to eat well, and also not spending a fortune on breakfast, lunch and dinner each day when we’re away from 2 or more days at a time.

And before you ask - no, PD’s are not a thing, as much as everyone would love that to be affordable.

While you’re away, it’s very easy to drop £10 a day on breakfast, another £5-£10 or so on a sandwich lunch, and then about £10-£14 on dinner. Let’s also not forget the temptation to buy a drink or two in the evening.

Our usual MO has been to do a Toby Carvery or similar buffet in the morning, and then Wetherspoons in the evening. But it’s fairly easy to see the issues of doing his each week.

First, breakfast. A buffet - the temptation to “get your money’s worth” is usually too great, although a big breakfast can often keep you not needing any more food until 5-6ish, when sound checking is done, which can be good.

Secondly, there’s the expense. That breakfast spend over a month soon builds up.

And thirdly, and this was the thing that had me thinking about alternative strategies, was the value of the actual stock you’re consuming verses the retail price you’re paying.

We fairly quickly abandoned cooked breakfast for fear for our health. But the continental options had us consuming about £2 worth of food, and paying around 8 quid for it each day.

Lunch is usually sandwiches and the like on the road, and the cost of sandwiches verses the price of the stock is fairly high.

And then there’s dinner - usually pizza, or Wetherspoons at the rate of around £8-£14 per night, and it’s fairly a satisfying experience!

So, with the strategies I’m about to talk about, you can turn a £50-£60 weekend into about 10 quid - and it would be no more than you would consume at home on a normal day. And, actually, this is what you want: for susteanence to not be any more expensive than if you were at home.

And, also, giving yourself healthy options.

You’ll need three or four things to set yourself up:

@ an electric lunchbox!
@ a slow cooker
@ a cool bag back pack

You could also include a milk cooler to have tea/coffee and cereal milk available.

Let’s start with Dinner! This is the one that usually costs the most, and the tech is used elsewhere too.

My strategy has me taking a pre-prepared meal in a plug-in lunchbox. This could literally be anything, although it’s for re-heating and not outright cooking! Perfect meals are Lasagne, Curry, Chilli, SpagBol, Stews - things like that.


We tend to over cook a little during the week, and prep up how ever many meals,I’d like at the weekend- 1, 2 or 3.

The Friday meal goes with me in the lunchbox.
The Saturday and a Sunday meals are frozen in boxes, and left to thaw naturally across the two days. They also have the effect of keeping the cool bag cold for a period as well!

The lunchbox takes a couple of hours to heat everything through. So my MO is to turn it on at around 3-30pm, and expect to eat around 530-6pm. By then, it’s thourouhly hot! And, effectively, has hardly cost a thing!

Repeat this each night.

For breakfast, the same lunchbox is used.

I’ll usually take some cereal, a bowl, and milk in a cooler. If I can keep it in a fridge at the venue, great - it’ll stay cold for longer!

My usual breakfast at home is an egg and chorizo wrap. Often with spinach.
Very tasty. The lunchbox does a good job of cooking the sausage over about 20-30mins, and then bringing in a pair of eggs to scramble, and leaving for 20-30. It’s a long game, it takes about 45-60mins for breakfast, but it means I have the decent breakfast I usually have at home.


It works brilliantly for sausage sandwiches too - although they need to be precooked. This thing isn’t a cooker, it’s just for reheating.
(Yeah - let's accept I'm no food photographer. But it tastes great!))

All of it is carried in the cool bag!

After breakfast, the lunchbox is washed out and that evenings meal transferred into it ready for the afternoon. And we’re doing this in the hotel! It doesn’t produce any smoke so there’s no danger of setting off alarms!

For lunches, I’m usually doing sandwiches at home. So I’ll take enough bread, butter in a pot, and a selection of fillings to make enough sandwiches for my journeys between gigs and on the way home.

And rather than buying coffee and tea on the journeys, I have an Aeropress, coffee, filters, sugar, a travel mug, and biscuits! The milk, as we know, is in the cooler ready for use. It also means there’s good coffee in the hotel and backstage, where it’s usually instant.
Making up some coffee or tea before we leave the hotel is usually good for a journey, or if it’s a long one, take a larger flask and make enough for 2-3 during the day.

When you take into account all of the “stock” you use, it’s no more than you’re using at home, probably from your home stocks anyway, and probably no more than £10 in additional stuff for the weekend.

For snacks during the journeys, I’m loading up a box with dried fruit medlies, just to graze on c to stop my buying crap all the time.

A slow cooker, for the evening meals, can also be great. They also don’t have to be expensive to buy - you can usually find a simple one of Facebay for £10-15. Similar to the lunchbox, you can load it up and turn it on when you arrive at the venue, and it’ll, be done by the time soundcheck is over.

If some or all of the band members want to club together, a slow,cooker would manage for 4-5 people. Dinner has cost us around £1.50 each when doing something simple like Chili or curry backstage.

Further money saving suggestions

If you like a drink before a show, and you’re usually finding yourself heading to the bar, buy you choice of drink from a supermarket. You’ll pay a fraction of the bar price. This applies to beer, wine and sodas.

If you like flavoured soft drinks, buy bottles of cordial to take on travels. A £2 bottle of Robinsons can last for a good couple of months, depending on how much you drink. I tend to buy sparkling flavoured drinks from Tesco / Morrison / Asda. They aren’t expensive and better than canned drinks!

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