Food is one of biggest top expenses during travel, and one of the main areas you can cut costs. Sometimes it is worth it to spend the extra cash on a memorable meal, but not every meal falls into that category. Here are five ways to save on food expenses during your trip.
Bring A Water Bottle To Stay Hydrated On The Cheap
Have a reusable water bottle to keep hydrated during your travels. Some places have easily accessible safe water, but some places do not, so check before you go.
In especially warm climates, this tip can save you quite a bit! I visited Japan in summer, and although there were drink vending machines almost everywhere, all those 100 yen purchases added up. Bring along your own water to avoid the same mistake.
Learn To Navigate Local Supermarkets
Familiarise yourself with the location of supermarkets or corner stores near where you'll be staying and where you'll be around meal times. This way you can stock up on snacks instead of buying whatever is near attractions you're visiting, which are usually marked up for tourists.
This way, you can get supplies to create your own meals rather than eat out every time you're hungry. If you book accommodation with a kitchen, you'll be able to cook more options for yourself. Even if you stay somewhere without a kitchen, you can put together healthy, filling and tasty meals to throw in your bag for later. A favourite of mine is a sandwich, a piece of fruit, chips, and confectionery for dessert. This packs well and makes me look for a great spot to break for lunch and people watch.
Fill Up At Breakfast And Lunch
Get your day's adventures going with a filling breakfast that gives you energy for the morning's itinerary. Some cultures may not traditionally eat large breakfasts, so finding restaurants that offer them can be challenging. To combat this pick up items, like rolls or fruit, that you can keep in your hotel and grab on your way out the door.
Lunch prices tend to be lower, so focus on getting your fill at lunch and opt for a lighter (and cheaper) dinner. Eat a heartier meal midday to help fuel the rest of your day's activities and keep the cost of snacks to a minimum.
Find Meal Deals
If your accommodations include meals, like breakfast, take advantage. After all, you pay the same amount whether you eat or not, so get your money's worth. You don't need to stay somewhere expensive to have this benefit included either -- many hostels offer a kitchen stocked with items like bread, jam, fruit and coffee/tea.
Look for special deals such as prixe fixe menus (not always cheaper, so use your maths smarts). You can also split dishes with others, which lets you try several items instead of just one.
Avoid Tourist Traps
Generally, the restaurants near tourist attractions aren't going to provide you with a local experience and they won't be inexpensive either. Try to find places that are away from areas where tourists swarm -- they are often worth the extra travel. Because the staff at these venues are less likely to speak English, bring a card that explains any dietary restrictions in the local language.
When you save money on food, it frees up funds for other things like more costly attractions, nicer accommodations or memorable souvenirs. If you have tips on cutting travel food costs, let us know in the discussion below.