When you love travel and food as much as we do it’s easy for things to become both unhealthy and expensive very quickly.
Much like anyone else when we’re travelling we tend to give ourselves
that little bit a lot more leeway when it comes to what we eat. However, indulging on the local cuisine is one of the best ways to experience your destination, so what is one to do?
Here’s how I suggest you can save money on food while you travel…
Planning your meals in advance can sound boring, but if you know there’s a certain restaurant you want to visit you can adjust your travel budget accordingly, look at ways to reduce your food budget on the other days or even look for coupons or special discount days.
I use TripAdvisor a lot to find the best restaurants and local cuisine as I’m able to see where the restaurant is based, see photos and a sample of the menu and even look at what price bracket the restaurant fits into. This gets me the best meal for my money.
Take Advantage Of Your Hotel
If you’re staying in a hotel, they’ll often offer free buffet breakfasts. Fill up here with a large portion of protein and carbs and you can afford to skip lunch and just have dinner. Depending on the hotel you’re staying at the perks won’t end at breakfast.
Fruit bowls and bottles of water are available on arrival and often replenished by the cleaners on a daily basis which is absolutely perfect for saving money if you’re heading out for the day.
Be sure to make the most of your hotel concierges too. They’ll often know the best local deals for restaurants, so be sure to ask for their recommendations. Guests of certain hotel chains may get a discount, or they may have coupon books available.
Get Accommodation With A Kitchen
Taking advantage of the local cuisine doesn’t start and finish in the restaurant. One of the biggest ways we saved money on our budget trip to Gran Canaria was by staying in an apartment with a kitchen and eating both breakfast and lunch there.
This is particularly great for young families. Kids can be fussy eaters especially abroad so being able to offer them some home comforts such as cereal or toast for breakfast and a sandwich for lunch can reduce arguments in them wasting expensive food in a restaurant and save you some serious cash.
Accommodation with a kitchen can come in various forms such as an apartment from Airbnb, a hotel apartment or even a villa. With various budgets and accommodation styles it’s safe to say there’s a form of accommodation with a kitchen for everyone.
Bring A Water Bottle
With the liquid ban in airports getting a drink in the most expensive place on earth (or so it can often seem) which is why I now always travel with a water bottle.
My personal water bottle of choice is the Camelbak Eddy (in light blue). Your water bottle of choice doesn’t need to be fancy, just leak free. Fill it up whenever you see an available drinking fountain and save yourself some serious $$$.
Find Daily Deals
If your budget rules then finding daily deals can be a way of really making the most of it. This isn’t going to apply to every destination, but if you’re visiting large cities then check out sites such as Groupon and Living Social for limited time discounts on meals in restaurants.
When we were in New York, I found a Groupon for a meal at a new up and coming restaurant that was using Groupon to promote their launch. We managed to have a two course meal with wine for just $30 saving us around 50% when compared to other similar meals from restaurants in the area.
Eat Where & What The Locals Eat
Whilst in Thailand we saved huge amounts of cash whilst eating from street vendors. The whole experience was authentic and the food was amazing. Like many we were sceptical at first but opted to choose street vendors that already had lots of customers, especially locals. We took note of where the locals ate we also looked at what they ate.
Whilst Thailand boasts McDonalds, Starbucks and Subway the prices of these Western foods are very expensive when compared to local dishes. So even whilst eating in different places we’d always opt for local dishes that we’re around 75% cheaper than a meal from the western fast food places or wester restaurants (such as the Hard Rock Cafe) Moving this concept to the west think about eating away from major tourist attractions such as Times Square. You’ll often find the food better, the meal more authentic and cheaper too.
Take Advantage of Happy Hour Nowhere is this more true than in the USA where food and drinks prices can be discounted by up to 50% when compared to the regular set-menu. If you insist on eating out for dinner, then find out which restaurants offer a happy hour, look at the details and plan your day accordingly. This should allow you to be hungry during the hours of happy hour and gorge on a fantastic meal and some fantastic savings too!
The best way of finding restaurants and bars offering Happy Hours where you are visiting is by walking around the city, or hitting up a local Facebook group in advance.
I hope these great tips will help you keep well within budget on your next trip, wherever it might be. If you have any hints or tips on how to save money on food while you travel then be sure to let me know in the comments below.