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Self-Catering Menus for Small Kitchens

June 13 2022

Thinking about a vacation in New York but not sure how to keep costs down? A self-catering apartment – complete with a mini-kitchen – can be the best and most effective way to save money in NYC.

Of course, on vacation, you want to be able to eat out but sometimes three times a day can raise your costs – especially if you’re traveling with family or as a group. But what do you cook to stay on budget and keep everyone happy and fed without any complaints?

Self-catering Tips

If you’re flying into the city, picking up essentials on the way might not be possible – but if you’re arriving by train, car, or bus it’s often much cheaper to stock up before you hit the city limits. If you are traveling by plane, there are still plenty of other options within the city to help keep mealtimes affordable and stress-free.

Planning your meals is a great place to start – and sticking to one grocery shop during your trip away can help your budget. Meal planning helps you stick to exactly what you need for your weekend/week away – without overspending or throwing things in the trash at the end of your stay.

But what should you be cooking?

Before you visit the grocery store, research the type of kitchen you will have access to. What you have in your vacation kitchen is the first part of meal planning and making the most of your “home away from home” in NYC.


Breakfast is the most important meal of the day – and it goes without saying that it shouldn’t be missed so eating breakfast in your hotel room or suite can be your biggest money saver. Of course, you need at least one breakfast out during your trip (check out our brunch recommendations for NYC) but most of your morning meals can easily be made in the hotel – whether you prefer cereal and toast or eggs and bacon.

Friends sit on a picnic blanket in central park laughing, trees and buildings in the background


Most of the time – especially if you are only visiting the city temporarily, you will find yourself out and about at lunchtime. This is where things can quickly add up, especially if you have kids in tow or are traveling as a large group. A simple change is making lunch in the hotel to take out with you – think sandwiches, salads, and snacks. You can easily and cheaply supplement these packed lunches with treats in the city such as pretzels, bagels, or a pizza slice for a fraction of the cost.

two children eat slices of pizza at a table in a home or hotel

Evening Meal

On vacation, many of us will spend our evening meal out - however, after a long day in the city, or the night before an early start - sometimes eating at the hotel can be a much better idea. It can be as simple as a stovetop pasta or quick mac and cheese - or as easy as take-out pizza to share, bulked up with some homemade sides.

If you’re looking for a family-friendly hotel in NYC with self-catering options, check out the Hotel Beacon’s apartment-style suites, located in the heart of the city.