Traveling can be an exciting and enriching experience, but it can also be expensive, especially when it comes to food. The cost of dining out can add up quickly, especially if you’re in an area with high prices or if you’re eating out for every meal. However, there are several ways to reduce food costs while traveling:
Packing your own food
By packing your own food can be a great way to save money on meals and have control over what you eat while traveling. Here are some tips for packing your own food:
- Pack items that will not spoil easily, such as granola bars, nuts, and dried fruit. These items are easy to pack and will stay fresh for a long time.
- If you want to bring perishable items such as sandwiches or fruit, consider packing a cooler with ice packs to keep them fresh.
- Think about the types of food that are readily available at your destination. If you’re traveling to an area with limited food options, it may be helpful to pack more of your own food.
- Don’t forget to bring utensils, napkins, and any condiments you may want, such as peanut butter or mustard.
- Make a list of the food you want to bring and make sure you have enough to last for the entire trip.
- Keep in mind that liquids and gels must be placed in a quart-sized bag and placed in a carry-on bag. You may be able to bring a small cooler through security, but be prepared to have it inspected.
Look for deals and discounts
By doing some research and being flexible with your dining plans, you can often find deals and discounts on food while traveling. There are many ways to find deals and discounts on food while traveling:
- Many hotels and resorts offer meal plans that include breakfast, lunch, and dinner. These plans can be a convenient and cost-effective option, especially if you’re traveling with a group.
- Many restaurants and retailers offer coupons and discounts, especially if you’re a member of a loyalty program or a student. Check their websites or social media pages for promotions.
- Many restaurants offer discounted food and drinks during happy hour, which is usually in the late afternoon or early evening.
- Many restaurants offer discounts or specials during slower times, such as lunchtime or early dinner.
- Local markets often have a variety of food options at lower prices than touristy restaurants.
- Some restaurants offer discounted or free meals for children. If you’re traveling with kids, this can be a great way to save money on food.
Instead of dining at touristy restaurants, try local markets or street food vendors for a more authentic and often cheaper meal. Also eating at local markets or street food vendors is a great way to try new, authentic foods while traveling. Here are some tips for eating at local markets or street food vendors:
- Look up popular local markets or street food vendors in your destination and make a list of the ones you want to try. Check out reviews and ask locals for recommendations.
- Be cautious when eating at local markets or street food vendors, especially in areas with less stringent food safety regulations. Avoid eating raw or under cooked foods, and be mindful of the cleanliness of the vendor and the food.
- Local markets and street food vendors are a great opportunity to try new and unusual foods. Don’t be afraid to be adventurous and try something new.
- Look for vendors with fresh, colorful produce and food that looks and smells appetizing. Avoid vendors with wilted or spoiled produce or food that looks or smells questionable.
- Some local markets or street food vendors may have specific customs or etiquette that you should follow. For example, in some cultures, it’s customary to eat with your hands, while in others, utensils are expected.
Eating at local markets or street food vendors can be a fun and budget-friendly way to experience local culture and cuisine while traveling. Just be mindful of food safety and local customs.
Use a kitchen
Cooking in a vacation rental or hotel kitchen can be a great way to save money on dining out and try new recipes. Just make sure to plan ahead and bring the supplies and equipment you’ll need. Here are some tips for cooking in a vacation rental or hotel kitchen:
- Make a list of the ingredients and supplies you’ll need and bring them with you or purchase them at a local grocery store.
- Bring essential cooking tools such as a knife, cutting board, and pots and pans. If you’re staying in a vacation rental, you may also want to bring a basic spice kit, oil, and vinegar.
- Consider purchasing local ingredients and trying out new recipes that incorporate those ingredients. This can be a fun and budget-friendly way to experience the local cuisine.
- Consider cooking breakfast, lunch, or dinner in the kitchen to save money on dining out. You can also use the kitchen to prepare snacks or pack your own lunches for day trips.
- Make sure to clean up after cooking and leave the kitchen as you found it.
Consider eating out at lunch instead of dinner
Eating out at lunch instead of dinner can be a way to save money on meals while traveling. Many restaurants offer lower prices for lunch than for dinner, especially at sit-down restaurants. Here are some tips for eating out at lunch instead of dinner:
- Many restaurants offer specials or discounted prices for lunch. Look for these deals and take advantage of them.
- If you’re in a touristy area, lunch prices may be higher than in non-touristy areas. Consider eating out in local neighborhoods for more affordable prices.
- Fast food restaurants and takeout options are often less expensive than sit-down restaurants. Consider these options for a quick and budget-friendly meal.
- If you’re traveling with others, consider ordering one entree and splitting it among your group. This can save money and allow you to try more dishes.
By sharing meals, you can save money on dining out and try more dishes while still enjoying the dining out experience. Just make sure to consider the size of the portions, allergies and dietary restrictions, and the cost when deciding to share. Here are some tips for sharing meals:
- Some restaurants may have larger portion sizes, which can make it easier to share. Look for restaurants that offer sharing plates or family-style options.
- Make sure everyone is on board with sharing meals and discuss what dishes you want to try. This can help ensure that everyone is happy with the meal.
- Make sure to consider any allergies or dietary restrictions when selecting dishes to share.
- If you’re sharing a dish that requires utensils, make sure to bring your own or ask the restaurant for extra utensils.
- Sharing meals can be a great way to save money, but make sure to compare the cost of sharing to the cost of ordering individual dishes. In some cases, it may be more cost-effective to order individual dishes.
By planning ahead and doing some research, you can save money on food while still being able to enjoy the local cuisine. Here are some tips for planning ahead:
- Look up the average prices of meals at your destination to get an idea of the costs. This can help you budget for meals and determine which options will be most cost-effective.
- If you’re planning to pack your own food, make a list of the non-perishable and perishable items you want to bring. This will help ensure that you have enough food for the duration of your trip and that you don’t forget any essential items.
- Research meal plans and discounts on dining at your destination. This can help you save money on meals while still being able to dine out.
- If you’re staying in a vacation rental or hotel with a kitchen, you may be able to save money by cooking some of your own meals.
- If you know you’ll be dining out, make a list of the restaurants you want to try and research their menus and prices in advance. This can help you budget for meals and choose the most cost-effective options.
Above are several ways to save money on food while traveling, by considering these options and being flexible with your dining plans, you can save money on food while still being able to enjoy the local cuisine and dining out experiences. Just be mindful of food safety and local customs, and do some research to find the most cost-effective options.