People always think that the biggest spending on traveling is at the cost of hotel/accommodation and transportation, thus they usually neglected any other areas, such as for food, when counting their travel budget. This kind of travelers will be shocked at the end of their vacation, as they will find that they’ve spent much more money than what they’ve been planning before.
Meals during vacation can be tricky, as you don’t want to get over-budget for food, but in the other hand, there’s no point of traveling without trying local and ethnic foods of your destination area. The common strategy for this situation is, by eating just two or three special meals or romantic dinner (which can be cost a fortune), and apply a food budget-saving for the rest of the vacation.
Here are few tips on how to save money on food during a traveling on a budget:
Let’s see if you’re still smiling after receiving the bill
01. Choose to lodge in a low-cost area. Before travel, do some research on your destination. Try to find information about the hotel or lodging in a low-cost area, as there are usually a lot of cheap restaurants in such a place. It’s hard to find cheap food when you staying near a resort, casino, luxury area, or major tourist attractions.
02. Consider vacation rentals, when you’re with a big party or large family. This kind of places provide the kitchen with all the cooking appliances, so you can prepare your own meals, instead of going to restaurants.
03. Research about the surrounding restaurants when you’ve arrived at your destination, especially about the pricing. You can do your survey from the Internet, brochures, or newspaper advertisements.
04. Ask the locals for advice. Hotel staffs and cab driver must know where to find a cheap good food. Beware of your questions though, if you ask something like “Where’s the best place to eat?” or “Where tourist usually have meals?”, they’d probably point to the popular restaurants, without concern about the pricing. Ask them where they usually eat.
05. Be careful when choosing a restaurant, don’t just enter when you’ve never heard of it. Common mistake is by assuming that huge restaurant is an expensive and small cafe or tavern must be cheap. Sometimes, it can be the other way around, as they’re judged by the food quality, not by the restaurant size. Again, research and information from the locals are very important!
06. Beware of “package” when you’re ordering food. Many cafes and restaurants have a breakfast or lunch packages. As every country has a different culture (and the amount of food they eat), you should politely ask the waiter about what the package or meal plan contains.
07. Set a budget. Sometimes, cheap or expensive is just in your mind. You can be surprised by the total money you’ve spent on food at the end of the vacation, as you thought you’ve been ate nothing but cheap fast foods. Set a food budget for the duration of your vacation, and you can freely eat as many delicious or crappy meals, as long as it doesn’t exceed your budget.
08. Bring your own snacks. During vacation, sometimes people feel hungry more often and want to eat more outside the regular two-three meals a day. Bring a bread, biscuit, or protein bars from home can calm your stomach until the next meal.
09. If your hotel gives you free breakfast, eat it! Many tourist wake-ups late and then rushing to go vacate, and choose to eat along the way. This is a big waste! If you’re right on schedule, just pack those free breakfast and snack into your lunch bag.
10. Visit the supermarket. Nowadays, most supermarkets are not just providing meat or ingredients for you to cook, but also cheap meals, such as hamburger, sandwich, fruits, and soft drinks.