Perhaps the biggest threat to mine and Tim’s travel savings is my insatiable appetite. Growing up, I was a fussy child who wouldn’t put anything in my mouth unless it was chips, cheese or bread. Now as an adult, there is very little that I don’t eat. Whilst my newly expanded palate has caused me to move into the realm of real adulthood, it comes with a high price (literally and metaphorically).
Although I eat a wide range of foods now, there are very few times in life when I would actively seek out something new over an old favourite. Is it even possible to get better food than pizza? I’m not convinced. Sadly, this addiction to western (mostly junk) food is constantly threatening to burn up all of our money when we travel.
As much as I could eat burgers and steaks for every meal, I have had to attempt to curb this desire in order to save some of our money to actually, y’know, travel. Here are my recommendations for letting your head run your stomach and not the other way round!
Budget a daily amount for food
This is the first step to help you cut out on those fancy restaurant dinners. If you set out a budget and are strict with yourself to stick with it, you will save oodles of money. Don’t be afraid to underspend and splash out the next day: it’s all about balance.
Top tip: Download a travel budget app to keep track of your spending. You’ll find it easier to stick with something when you can see the benefits in front of you. I recommend Trail Wallet Travel Budget App.
Eat street food whenever you can
Whilst I’ll admit I am not crazy about street food, there is no denying that it is a cost-effective way to eat on the road. Purchasing food from a street vendor is a great way to support the local economy and also offers the chance to sample some authentic cuisine. Deep-fried Tarantula anyone?! Always look for places that are regularly frequented by the locals and dig in!
Splash out every now and then
I can’t travel for long periods of time and not indulge in a craving every now and then. Whilst you won’t always be able to get your hands on the food that is currently holding your heart, it is a good idea to treat yourself when the urge gets too much. Allowing yourself to enjoy a more expensive meal occasionally, will help you to stay on track and away from spontaneous snacking.
Look for accommodation that offers breakfast inclusive of the price
I absolutely love getting breakfast as part of my stay. Getting up early and making the most of the food on offer can be a great way to save money on your overall meal budget. In instances where breakfast is offered, I try to eat as much as humanly possible, with the idea that my morning meal can see me right through to dinner time. This doesn’t always work out but usually means a smaller snack at lunch is sufficient to get me through most of the day.
Top tip: Always try to limit eating out to once a day to save on money.
Book accommodation with a kitchen for general use
One of the top ways to save on meal costs is to find a hostel with a communal kitchen. With access to the right facilities, you can skip eating out in favour of cooking. If you’re lucky enough to stay with some good roommates, you could ask whether anyone wants to chip in for a few staples and take it in turns to cook a communal meal. This keeps the savings going and is a great opportunity to make new travel friends!
Find your local market
A great way to purchase food on the cheap is by sniffing out your local market. This is great if you plan to cook while you travel but can also be handy for making sandwiches that you can bring on days out as well. Groceries are cheaper to buy from markets and you will even help the environment by reducing your plastic footprint!
Look for opportunities to exchange work for accommodation and food
There are plenty of sites offering to help facilitate accommodation/work arrangements for travellers. Workaway is one that Tim and I have recently signed up to, in the hopes of using it during our South America trip. In return for working 4-5 hours a day, your host will provide you with accommodation and food.
Top tip: Don’t forget to read the small print on these work listings because hosts will vary with what they provide in terms of the number of meals and accommodation type.
Do your research on restaurant choices
For those times when a restaurant meal is the only thing that will quieten your rumbling tummy, make sure to look for local recommendations online. By using an app like TripAdvisor, you will be able to see what cuisine is available in the area and filter the results by cost. A little bit of pre-planning should mean you will avoid being stung by an expensive bill!
What are your top recommendations for saving money on food while you travel?Love it? Pin it! 🙂