How Do You Save Money On Food While Traveling?

Discussion in Travel started by PunkinPie • May 13, 2015.

  1. PunkinPie

    PunkinPieMember

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    I often feel like one of the biggest expenses when going on vacation is food. Especially if you go to a city that is a tourist attraction it seems the restaurants know where to hit you...in the pocket. I would love to hear all of your suggestions and personal experiences on how to save money on food while traveling.

    A few things we do: We try and stay in a vacation guest house or condo on Homeaway.com so we can cook our own meals. Our last vacation we hit up a local farmers market and cooked our own dinners every night. If we can't find a cheap enough vacation rental I will try to find a hotel with a fridge and free breakfast. That way we can keep lunch meat and snacks on hand. A free breakfast in the morning can sometimes be sustainable enough that a light lunch is all the is needed.

    What do you do to save?
     
  2. hellavu

    hellavuActive Member

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    Similar, we try to stay in a hostel with a kitchen because, even if we eat one nice dish a day, it's nie to have two other dishes for very cheap! We also make sure that, when we're out and exploring, we get directed to the less touristic places to find a small restaurant with typical food but good prices :) Hard to do in some cities (coughPariscough) but very worth it in others (like Prague!)
     
  3. DreekLass

    DreekLassWell-Known Member

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    I was planning to travel later this year, and I am worried about the food. Not particularly the money aspect of it, but the health aspect of it. The person that I was going to be visiting is fat, and likes to eat a lot of takeout, because they don't cook. I'm worried that I'm not only going to be expected to spend lots of money on takeout, but also actually eat it lol.
     
  4. xTinx

    xTinxWell-Known Member

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    It's not something mandatory but if you're willing to give it a try so as not to go out of budget during your travels, it's highly recommended that you bring a few of the following with you: instant noodles (cop or tetra pack), chips, biscuits and oat meals. Also, it's better to stay at hostels that serve free breakfast instead of hotels. Rather than dine at fancy restaurants, you may want to check out family diners or street stalls. Not only will you be able to save up on food but you will also get to taste authentic local cuisine.
     
  5. Dora M

    Dora MWell-Known Member

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    I am a seasoned traveler. I have been to many corners of the world and have lived on different continents. One of the biggest money savers is to stay in places where you have cooking facilities. The next step is to ask where the nearest supermarket or farmers' market is. Also try to avoid the major tourist drags and check out the quieter side streets or even small towns or villages nearby.
     
  6. DrRipley

    DrRipleyExpert

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    We do this too when we are trying to save on food expenses while on trips. However, nowadays there are many restaurants that offer good food at affordable prices and they are usually easier to find now since you could just look it up online. I find this to be a better option sometimes since you wouldn't have to clean dishes or buy ingredients and you would end up paying roughly the same price. The trick to this is to not buy drinks though because that's often where the unnecessary bulk of the expense comes from when eating out.
     
  7. PunkinPie

    PunkinPieMember

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    Oh that is a great tip! Don't waste money on over priced soft drinks or cocktails. Drink water and have your own drinks back at the hotel! I didn't even think about that. I know that even a soda these days can cost you up to $4!

    I really like the idea of bringing oatmeal. With some hot water you have breakfast! It is filling and will sustain you for hours. Great tip!
     
    #7May 14, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: May 28, 2015
  8. DrRipley

    DrRipleyExpert

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    Yeah, our family has even made a practice of doing this even on regular trips to the restaurant since we figure it's much better to just spend that money on another dish instead of using it all on sodas which isn't healthy for any of us anyway. Not that we do it to the extremes that we feel deprived, as if any of us feels like it we still allow ourselves to order a soda or a shake from time to time but for the most part I think we just all have the same mindset that we'd rather just spend the money on actual food lol.
     
  9. IrishHeather

    IrishHeatherMember

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    Another tip I would like to mention is something that my family does while traveling to our destination. Say your drive is going to take you 6 to 8 hours to reach your destination, that's at least two stops for food at a drive through or restaurant. What we do, is prepare a large picnic style lunch. It could be as simple as ham and cheese sandwiches and bottled water. To make it special we pick a nice wooded rest area to stop at and take at least an hour or so and have a family outing, complete with the spread out blanket on the ground...the whole shebang. This not only saves money on food but makes family memories as well!
     
  10. chiofthenorns

    chiofthenornsActive Member

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    I do the same thing. I look for an apartment-type room, so I will be able to cook my own food. If there are no apartment-types around, I will book a hotel room and check the Internet for cheap restaurants. Oftentimes, roadside cafeterias offer the best yet the cheapest deals on food in other countries. You get to sample the traditional dishes of a particular country too!
     
  11. Femiluv

    FemiluvMember

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    Food does take up a lot of money when I travel. But it's totally worth it to me. I love travelling with locals who can show me where all the cheap authentic places are. But if I'm travelling by myself, I don't mind splurging because a huge part of my travel experience is the food. I always think of international trip as once in a lifetime and I try to eat as much as I can when I travel haha
     
  12. katherine25

    katherine25Member

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    I always try to stay at hotels that offer free breakfast with your stay so its one less meal I have to worry about. Also, a lot of hotels have microwaves that you might be able to use, call them a head of time and ask. If they do have a microwave bring some canned food with you that you can eat for dinner, it would save you a lot of money.
     
  13. Femiluv

    FemiluvMember

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    I do the same too. I like the free breakfast option because I like to sleep in and not have to worry about rushing out in the morning to get breakfast. Also, it's nice to compare what hotels serve for breakfast in different places when travelling.
     
  14. rightct

    rightctActive Member

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    My guess is that you've visited only developed countries with a low budget. I can relate to you if this is the case, as I've done the same mistake in the past, too. I went to Berlin, and a pretty basic meal at an average restaurant costed me $75 for two! Come on, that's exaggerated for some curry.

    But when I visited Thailand, I lived with $50 in a 5 days span, which was truly pleasant, and the food was also good to taste, also! :)
     
  15. animos

    animosNew Member

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    When my brother and I sent on our first vacation without our parents, we forgot to budget for car rental taking into the fact we were both under 25. Ended up eating a lot of of our budget so we had to eat cheap. We ended up going to the store and buying a loaf of bread, peanut butter, and fruit for cheap lunches. Luckily our hotels for the most part had free breakfast and we'd eat all we could and sneak out muffins and more fruit as well.

    I have a trip to San Francisco coming up next month to see some old friends, one has said he really wants to try out a variety of restaurants while there and I'm already dreading the impact on my stomach and wallet.
     
  16. DiscountDreams

    DiscountDreamsActive Member

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    I aim for calories per dollar, and I know a lot of filling foods that are easy to go for. I love really ripe bananas as a meal, dried fruit, pastas, etc. I have no worries saving money while eating, but it isn't always easy in every last little town.
     
  17. Moroccanbeauty2266

    Moroccanbeauty2266Active Member

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    What I have done was always try to stay in a bed & breakfast type of hotel and then to buy groceries at the local discount grocery stores just like the residents do.
    Of course, you have to be careful not to spend too much money. And most of the time, if you stay where the tourists always hang out and not go to other places you will be spending much more money because that is how it is supposed to work when you are a tourist. That is why I say better check out those spots and stores outside of the "only tourist zone."
     
  18. Corzhens

    CorzhensWell-Known Member

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    This is the first time we are going to Hongkong and staying in a hotel. Every year, we stay in my nephew's condo. Aside from saving accommodation expenses, we also cook dinner and normally breakfast as well. On Saturday, we are booked in Guangdong Hotel, a 4-star hotel in the hear of the city. I don't know how we are going to save money with the food because I already know that it is expensive to eat out all the time. But maybe I can find a way like what we did for the first time - that was 1994 when I first went to Hongkong. And although we stayed in a hotel (coincidentally, Guangdong Hotel also), we were buying dimsum from the street vendor that we eat for our dinner. And for breakfast, it is the nearby McDonald's. Maybe we can do that again, hoping so.
     
  19. Moroccanbeauty2266

    Moroccanbeauty2266Active Member

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    Sounds like a fun trip! I am sure you will find a way to save some money. I would also buy some food locally and then make it where you are staying. Mc Donalds is always a good option if you are on a budget.
     
  20. atlmom5

    atlmom5Active Member

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    We stay in a hotel that has a kitchen in it, so we can cook our own food. When I went to San Francisco, I bought a lot of great produce at the farmer's market. Whenever we ate out at some great local neighborhood restaurants, not the tourist trap restaurants, we always took our leftovers with us, we drank water rather than soda( I also carried around a bottle of water while we were out to stay hydrated). The few times that we did eat at a national chain eatery, I had several gift cards that I earned from survey sites to use. In fact, I actually had so many gift cards on my trip that my sister got interested in doing a few surveys too.
     
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