As much as I like meeting new people and making new friends, there's something decadently rare about finding you have an entire hostel room all to yourself. If could be all yours for hours, minutes or even a mere few seconds, but finding that you can walk through an entire room without tripping over other peoples pants, or fearing waking up that one daytime sleeper, for the first time in weeks suddenly seems an utterly thrilling experience.

I'm trying to make 'listening to music without having to wear headphones' and 'dancing in the semi-nudipants' seem much more exciting than it actually is. Is it working yet?

What is rather exciting, however, is when you meet a familiar face in an unexpected place (Lin Manuel, I'm ready to be hired now). At midday the door to my room opens and who should appear?  None other than Yara from Raglan/Day 22! What a lovely surprise and a crazy coincidence - off all the rooms in all the hostels, and she walks into mine. It's so nice catching up and sharing a room with someone who you've already met during your travels.

So as not to waste the day (and to save ourselves a bit of money - there may be many glorious places to eat in New Zealand, but it doesn't half put a drain on your pocket) we decide to make dinner together later in the evening; a useful tip for any travellers out there, as not only does it cut down how much you spend, but it speeds up your cooking time in what can be a very busy hostel kitchen. Plus, it's fun!

I head off to find the Pak n Save at the bottom of town whilst Yara goes off to get herself a coat - doing the Tongariro Alpine Crossing during winter without a coat? BAD PLAN - and I've got to say, if you're looking for a cheap place to buy food, Pak n Save will be your saviour! I got all the ingredients in the picture below for under $10, an not only did I have leftovers to eat the next day, but still had food left to make a new meal another time.

Lesson Number 26: splash out on one of those cubed, zip up cooler bags they sell at the checkout if you're travelling on a coach like Stray, Kiwi etc. Those bad boys stop your food spoiling too much on long stretches out of the fridge, and are hardy enough to withstand 20+ other bags being piled on top of it.

Wholemeal pasta, tomato pasta sauce, chicken, onion, broccoli - it's so nice to eat non expense food, let alone vegetables!

After dinner, we go grab our swimming costumes (mine still smells like egg) and check out the hostel pool. If you're planning on staying in Rotorua I'd highly recommend the Hot Rocks Base Backpackers at the top of town purely for the free HEATED swimming pool, thanks to all the geothermal activity underneath the city. It's a little odd to swim in what feels like bath water, but on a chilly winters night its absolute bliss!

Is there any go to meals you like to cook during your travels? Or are you a current or future traveller who'd like to see a post on meals to make whilst on the road/living in a hostel? Let me know in the comments below!


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