As a recent college grad on a big trip, I’ve become a budget travel aficionado more out of necessity than desire. Now that you know How to Save Money on Flights and How to Save Money at the Airport, its time to start saving money while you’re actually on vacation. Even if you’re not traveling on a tight budget, read on. Sometimes it can be fun to try out a local place or cook your own meals while abroad! Here are a couple of ways to cut back your spending on food while traveling abroad.
Eat Where the Locals Eat: Almost anywhere in the world, you will find that you get a serious discount by avoiding the popular tourist restaurants and eating where the locals eat. Avoid the main road and find a little pub or noodle shop on a side street. Then you’ll finally understand how much local food should cost!
Stay Somewhere with a Communal Kitchen: Cooking is almost always cheaper than going out to eat for every meal. If you’re settling down in one location for more than a week, look into short term rentals with a kitchen so that you can prepare a couple of simple meals during the day rather than heading out to eat because you don’t have options. Many hostels also offer a communal kitchen for young travelers. Not only will this help you save a bit of money, but it can be a fun vacation activity to stage cooking contests and trade off cooking responsibilities during your trip.
Buy Snacks at Grocery or Convenience Stores: At theme parks, historical sites and world monuments, there are many people waiting to capitalize on your desperate thirst and hunger. The idea is that once they’ve got you cornered, you’ll probably overpay… willingly. However, if you come equipped with a couple of snacks, you’ll not only be eating what you want, but you’ll be getting it for a fair price.
Drink Less Beer: If traveling on a budget, you’ll start to realize that your alcohol tabs run up dinner bills significantly. “But I’m on vacation!!” I know. BUT If you’re looking to spend an evening out within your budget, why not have dinner first and order drinks only after you’ve finished eating. This option will provide a couple of extra hours of entertainment at no additional cost to you. If you’re trying to be really classy (I wish there was a sarcasm font), you can also buy drinks at a convenience store or grocery store and drink them in your room before heading out.
Skip Meals: I’m not advocating anything crazy, but I do know that the three-square-meals-a-day folk need some persuasion on this issue. If you sleep in or get off to a slow start, it IS ok to skip breakfast and go for an early lunch! If your day trip runs long, eat around 4pm and snack for dinner that night. Going with the flow regarding meal times and snacking in between can help you accidentally save a bit of money.
Whats the most terrible thing you ever ate because you were on a tight budget, at home or abroad? My roommate’s spaghetti with ketchup and green beans tops my list. Tell me about it on Facebook or in the comments section below! (Click here if you can’t see Facebook comments below: Budget Travel Tips: Saving Money on Food)