While I 100% advocate having a more traditional breakfast at your destination at least once (bakeries in France, a big American breakfast at a diner in New York....) and also don't recommend adding the buffet option to your stay, when it's included in your bed price (as it often is in hostels) I figure, make the most of it!
But this is no mere skill, but rather an art form - and I am here to guide your way, with my top tips for buffet living:
1. Be Prepared: Zip lock bags are one of the most versatile travel accessories - whether as a packing aid, to store small items, or as a waterproof or soundproof phone holder - and are a must when hitting up a buffet. They'll ensure a) that you'll actually have somewhere to put the salvaged food and b) that said food won't end up all over the inside of your day pack.
2. Know Your Foodgroups: I don't mean the food groups you learnt back at school, I mean the groups of 'easy to transport', 'won't stink out your bag', 'needs to be consumed fairly soon' and 'don't even think about it' (yes, I once had a friend that thought a doggy bag of scrambled eggs was a good idea).
3. Sandwiches: Probably the easiest way to make it through the day is with the help of the trusty sandwich - almost every buffet I've ever been to has at least had the basics: bread, butter, some sort of meat, and your typical filling such as tomatoes and cheese. Don't be surprised to see groups of backpacker's in what appear to be neatly formed production lines.
4. Think Outside the Box: Sometimes you might have to be creative with your stash. Those teeny, tiny little plastic pots of Nutella and peanut butter for your toast? A bagful of these nut-filled goodies make the perfect snacks for tiding hunger whilst waiting in long, long queues. Muesli? Forget the milk and this becomes the perfect trail mix.
What other tips do you all have - I'd love to hear from you!