Suffice it to say, I’m a whole-hearted Instant Pot convert. The Instant Pot has replaced my slow cooker as the ultimate tool of convenience. It only took cooking one or two recipes to realize this device was going to change my life forever. And, naturally, my first question became: how do I travel with my Instant Pot?!
Unfamiliar with the Instant Pot? It’s an electric programmable pressure cooker that cooks food quickly without compromising food quality or integrity. It can:
- Cook frozen ground beef in 25 minutes
- Roast a whole chicken in 30.
- Make hard boiled eggs with shells that fall off in 2 minutes — and no ice bath!!
- Create gelatinous bone broth in 1 hour, which used to take 24 hours
- Bake sweet potatoes in 15 minutes
- Make mashed potatoes in 10 minutes (and you don’t have to drain them!).
- Create creamy no-stir oatmeal in a fraction of time.
It can also serve as a yogurt maker and rice maker. AAAAAAAAND you can make up freezer meals and cook them STRAIGHT from frozen — no thawing!
So it’s no surprise that when we went on vacation to the Smokey Mountains, the Instant Pot came right along with me. And thanks to all the amazing features of the Instant Pot, vacation meals were a SUCCESS! We made breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert in the IP — every day.
1. Make sure that you protect your Instant Pot
Find a sturdy box or bag to transport your Instant Pot. I first learned about these amazing Eco Planet Shopping Boxes from the Instant Pot Facebook group. I found mine at my local Walmart for $4 – at the end of check out with the other reusable shopping bags. But they aren’t always there, so finding them on Amazon is wonderful. Each shopping box has sturdy size, durable handles, and can hold up to 30 pounds (don’t confuse these with shopping BAGS – you want the shopping BOX). The Instant Pot fits securely and PERFECTLY snug, with room to tuck in a few tools along the side.
2. Bring a spare sealing ring with you.
The last thing you want while on vacation is to have a sealing ring melt, rip, crack, or break. The sealing rings are rubber and will eventually deteriorate. So I recommend you purchase an extra sealing ring to bring on hand. Bring a spare, skip a potential crisis.
3. Save packing space.
4. Create a packing list.
I keep an Instant Pot Packing Checklist. Because the last thing you want to do is forget something important… like your power cord or sealing ring. I also put accessories on my packing list (see #5).
5. Don’t forget your accessories!
When I travel, I like to bring a lot of my accessories with me. This gives me flexibility to use my IP in as many creative ways as possible – and also saves me in case we need to change our meal plan. Plus, I love the ability to be spontaneous. Some of these I learned the hard way, like needing a ladle to help scoop out your food (thanks to the steep sides of the IP) or tongs for helping to remove meat. My accessory list looks something like this:
- Trivet (this is a nice large size)
- Steamer (folds up so nicely!)
- Ladle (can store in the IP)
- Spatula (this size is small and can store in the IP)
- Tongs (great for removing meat)
Overwhelmed by all the talk about Instant Pot accessories? Our comprehensive list tells you what you really need AND how to use them.
6. Grab a 3-prong extension cord.
Nothing is worse than being all set at your campsite, hotel room, or travel kitchen… only to realize it’s impossible to plug in your Instant Pot. It only happens once… So be sure to pack along a quality 3-prong extension cord.
7. Bring along your cleaning supplies.
This probably goes without saying, but if you’re going to be using your Instant Pot to cook, make sure you bring along dish soap. It’s an easy thing to overlook! I also keep a foam brush like this on hand so that I can wipe out that liquid lip on the IP. (Why is it you only ever splatter and spill food on vacation??)
8. Prepare your meals in advance.
I have to give full credit to Once A Month Meals on this one. They have a whole slew of Instant Pot Freezer meals. Believe it or not, you can take frozen food straight from the freezer and cook it in the IP without having to thaw. I assemble my ingredients raw and freeze my food in these round containers — nothing worse than fitting a too-large square meal in a round pot! Now I don’t have to fuss with food prep while on vacation! I just dump, cook, and enjoy. (Plus, your frozen food will help keep the rest of your cooler chilled!)
Stretch the Instant Pot’s ability (and your budget!) by making Instant Pot Freezer Meals. No need to thaw before cooking — cook straight from frozen!
9. Don’t forget your recipes and basic ingredients.
In case you decide NOT to freezer prep your meals in advance, don’t forget to bring along your recipes. I totally forgot to bring along one crucial recipe on vacation (woops!!!) and I was so glad I had a back-up on my computer. Same thing with those basic ingredients – like salt and pepper. Nothing is worse than having not-quite-salty-enough food!
10. Enjoy your trip!
Hopefully you’ll agree with me — using the Instant Pot can help take some of the stress out of eating on vacation. I love being able to get dinner cooking and the freedom to leave and explore.
Have you taken your IP on the road? I’d love to hear about it. Tell us in the comments below!
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