In this article, I provide several ideas on how to save 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. 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 of 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 spending extra by buying food at the hotel restaurants (or minibar)
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 lunchtime. 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.
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 in 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 the 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.
10. Give a break to fast food
I know, I know. You have traveled halfway 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.
11. Take advantage of happy hour prices
When I say “happy hour”, do not focus your mind on alcohol. A lot of restaurants offer discounts on food during happy hour. This is a great way to keep saving and fill up. Some places even let you order food at happy hour prices to go.
12. Limit your alcohol intake
I do not have to say this but ordering a few drinks can increase your bill exponentially. Just imagine doing this every day while on vacation. Well, if you want to save, limit your alcohol intake. Or, consume the local brands or the house wine. These are usually cheaper than international brands. Also, keep in mind that in some countries, drinking in public spaces is allowed. You can buy beer or wine at a convenience store or supermarket and drink at the beach or park.
How do you save money on food expenses while traveling? Let me know in the comments section below.