Dennis Skley / Flickr

Empty Kitchen? These Tips Will Prevent You From Being Hangry After a Trip

Nothing is worse than coming home to an empty fridge. The second worst thing? Being forced to eat greasy takeout.

Some travel routines are sacred—like the car ride home. But there are other things I’m more than happy to skip, including an expensive, last-minute takeout order. Maybe it’s age rearing its ugly head, but there comes a point in time in every adult’s life where it’s a good idea to be more discriminating about what fuel you consume (and how it affects the wallet).

After all, you *were* gone for three weeks. And the basil plant is definitely dead.

Create an actual bomb shelter.

Haha, just kidding! But seriously, go straight to the pantry or cupboard. Voilà.

That is a bomb shelter.

Pretend you’re living in Antarctica through the winter: Perishables aren’t going to make it through. So, while the fruits can wait, everything else will make it through the coming apocalypse.

In particular, laser focus on dry goods, canned products and things that will last in the freezer (a lot of things) at the grocery store. Granola, baked beans and a few frozen things that require a quick stir fry on the stove are great to keep around for arrival.

Good for more than just a Warhol painting. (Andy Warhol: 32 Campbell’s Soup Cans / Flickr)
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Good for more than just a Warhol painting. (Andy Warhol: 32 Campbell’s Soup Cans / Flickr)

Instacart or a grocery delivery service

Sometimes I would like to thank the tech revolution in continuing my quest to cook brunch at home in my pajamas. Instacart is one such service to whom I owe a debt of gratitude.

Instacart, a grocery delivery service founded back in June 2012, services 19 different states. The best part? It’s possible to schedule the delivery time in advance. (Two hours after I get home, please.)

For Instacart Express members ($149 per year), deliveries over $35 are free. The minimum order is $10, but a delivery fee will apply to that otherwise. It typically ranges from $1.99 to $11.99, depending on the size of the order. 1

In our experience, we found that sometimes items were priced below the retail price, while other items were priced above the retail price. (Instacart supposedly also labels items when they are the same price in-store.) In any case, it was reasonable enough that we consider the prices to even out at some point.

Though it has a smaller service area, FreshDirect is also another popular delivery that mainly services the New York area.

Because this is what will happen if you attempt to grocery shop directly after a trip. (TheeErin / Flickr)
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Because this is what will happen if you attempt to grocery shop directly after a trip. (TheeErin / Flickr)

Then there’s the Blue Apron or Plated route

I used to hate Blue Apron. What can Blue Apron teach me that The New York Times cookbook can’t teach me? (I have the vintage 1959 Craig Claiborne edition, too. Am I showing my food snob colors yet?)

But then, again, that was before everyone began sucking up all of my time. Though it’s a good idea to skip deliveries on a more frequent basis than not—based on the fact some people have actual lives and pure economics—it is particularly useful for having food delivered in advance.

The only other more useful thing is having roommates who will put it away for you!

Or grab some fast food and/or takeout.

Please no.

1 footnote

  1. The $1.99 fee was quoted for a $37.03 pickup order in New York City. Deliveries can often be set two or three days in advance, but I suggest not waiting till the last minute.
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