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Posted by on Oct 3, 2012 | 4 comments

10 Tips for Saving Money on Food While Traveling

I have to make a confession.  I love to eat.  That is why I have found ways to eat well while traveling abroad.  The most important thing is that I am able to keep my budget within proper limits while eating my way through new destinations.  In here, I want to share some tips on how to save money on food related expenses:

1.      Research food prices at your destination

Have a basic idea on average food prices at the place you want to visit.  In that way, you can have a realistic idea of how much you should budget for food expenses every day.  Additionally, you can determine where to cut or splurge.

2.      Stay at accommodations where breakfast is included

It doesn’t matter if you are staying at a hotel, hostel or dorm.  Make sure some type of breakfast is included (usually the continental type).  Even a piece of bread, fruit and/or coffee saves you some money and fills up your belly.

3.      Make sure you are not extra spending by buying food at the hotel restaurants (or mini bar)

After a long day of sightseeing, I understand you may not want to walk around town looking for a place to eat.  However, hotel restaurants tend to sell food at prices higher than average.  Based on the knowledge acquired from your research, determine if the prices are reasonable.



4.      Eat at unusual places

What about eating at a supermarket? Or, at a local market? Even, a department store sounds great.  Let me tell you, tasty food can be found in the most unusual spots at great prices. Be creative when considering your options.

5.   Take advantage of lunch specials

Usually, restaurants slash prices or offer a special menu during lunch time.  Because of this fact, during this time, you should: eat the biggest meal of the day, visit places you would not be able to afford at dinner time and visit buffets.  Remember, always ask for lunch specials.

6.      Beware of drink prices

Understand what price you are going to pay before ordering a drink.  Many times, I have found this great lunch deal and then order a soda and end up paying an outrageous bill.  If you are not sure about the prices, bring your own drink or order water.

Supermarkets offer delicious and cheap eating options.


7.      Ask locals for advice

I am sure you have heard this tip before.  However, travelers fail to ask the correct questions.  People tend to ask locals “Where can I find a good restaurant?” or “What is the best place to eat around here?”   Locals will probably feel under the pressure to direct you to a beautiful, high quality restaurant because they don’t want to ruin your experience at their city.  You should ask “Where you usually go for lunch?” or “Is there an affordable place around here?”

8.      Take a look at the menu before sitting down at a restaurant

Have a concrete idea of the food prices before deciding to sit down.  Also, check if there are additional charges like cover, tips or taxes.

9.      Eat street food

Don’t be afraid to try one of the culinary delights offered on the streets of the place you are visiting.  As a rule of thumb, buy from places with big crowds and long lines.  If many locals sponsor the street vendor, then you should not worry about sanitary issues.

I am not sure what are these but they look good.


10.      Give a break to fast food

I know, I know.  You have traveled half around the world not exactly to eat at a fast food joint you can visit while at home.  Nevertheless, consider that each country has its own fast food chains. It would be interesting to experience what locals taste on a daily basis.

How do you save money on food expenses while traveling? Let me know in the comments section below.


  1. Good tips, Ruth. Also, if you have accomodations with a kitchen, you can cook one meal a day at the hotel. We do this for breakfast in France where we hit the local market for fresh eggs, cheese, sausage, and produce and make the best breakfasts ever. And I have to say, 9 times out of 10, street food tastes as good or better than the high priced restaurant down the street.
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  2. Howdy! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after reading through some of the post I realized it’s new to me.
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  3. Your tips of saving money on food is really interesting and beneficial to me. I do travel a lot and use your tips effectively. I like to take good foods but sometimes I hesitate because of the high prices. Now, I can easily decide and work as per my financial means. Wish you a very happy new year in advance! 🙂

  4. I agree that you should take advantage of lunch specials. They can often be significantly lower than dinnertime options. In addition, you generally won’t have to wait as long in line.

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