When I think about various places I’ve visited around the world, most places make me think of food.
From are-qweye (spelled totally wrong, obvs) in China, crepes in France, and fresh pitas in Israel, I associate so many memories with the fantastic tastes of each place.
Food is a very enjoyable part of travel. Now, of course, we all know I’m
cheap frugal. So how do I travel frugally and still get to enjoy fantastic local foods? Well, here’s how:
- Pack snacks for flights. Airport food is greasy at worst and tolerable at best, so it’s not a place that I’d recommend you focus a lot of your food budget. Instead, I recommend packing fruits, nuts, sandwiches, granola bars, etc, so that you don’t have to spend money on your flight or at the airport, and can instead focus your hard-earned cash on the fantastic food at your destination.
- Fill up if there are meals included in your travel package. Breakfasts are often included as part of a hotel stay. At home, my breakfasts are usually pretty small and consist of a bowl of cereal or maybe some toast. While traveling, if breakfast is complimentary, I FILL up. The goal is to be full enough when I leave that I’m not hungry until noon or later. In Ireland, this meant eating the “full Irish breakfast” which includes toast, eggs, bacon, blood sausage, potatoes, etc. In other locations, it means refilling my continental breakfast plate 2-3 times.
- Eat local. Usually regional foods are the more thrifty option. Eating local foods is also a fun part of travel. By avoiding familiar foods from home, you make your travel experience more authentic, and you save money!
- Picnic Lunch. I LOVE picnicking while I travel, and Saign and I try to make it a priority to picnic rather than stopping at restaurants for our midday meal. Not only is picnicking a frugal option (on our most recent trip to Europe, we stuffed ourselves at lunch every day for around $5 total for both of us), but it also gives us an opportunity to stop in local parks and observe the scenery or action of the place that we are visiting. It’s definitely a win-win!
- Try the Grab n’ Go options! Most regions have some sort of grab-n-go food that they’re known for. In Italy, it’s pizza. In Israel, it’s falafels. In Germany, it’s pretzels. In Belgium it’s waffles or fries. These items are usually relatively affordable, but still full of local flavors!
- Street Foods. I know that plenty of people are afraid they’ll get sick off street food. And maybe you will. However, I don’t hesitate to follow the locals up to the carts of food, and eat away at reasonable prices. The truth? The more confused you are about what you’re eating, the better it tastes!
- If you have access to a kitchen, use it! If you can cook where you’re staying, do it! Cooking for yourself doesn’t mean foregoing delicious local cuisine. You can pick up local foods at the supermarket and make them yourself back at your hotel! On our most recent trip to Germany, Husband Saign and I had a kitchenette one night, so we made ourselves a local dish called spaetzl and also made some gnocchi, which is not really a German food, but is way more delicious in Germany than it is in the States! We had fun cooking the meal together, had a fantastic meal, and were able to save a few Euro by cooking ourselves.
- Check the Menu before Deciding where to Eat. If you decide to go for a sit-down restaurant, check the prices before you sit down. If you don’t, you might be in for a nasty surprise!
What do you think
? How do you save money on food while traveling?