If you love food as much as I do, you will understand that food will be your biggest expense on your trip! I want to show you how to eat cheap while travelling.
Food is a huge part of different cultures and to me, tasting each meal in different places is the best way to travel! Don’t you agree? You don’t need to try every single dish there is in a certain place, but at least get out there and try something new!
Since I had the opportunity to travel full-time for 4 months, food was our highest expense. Travelling for a period of time you learn ways to try to keep costs a bit lower. Here are some ways to not break the bank, but still enjoy all the delicious meals!
1. Limit Alcohol Consumption
Being on vacation and full-time travel are both two very different things! While living your life on the road for sometime, you need to be mindful of how much you’re spending. It’s definitely nice to treat yourself once in awhile with a delicious beverage. But by not buying drinks when you go out every single time, you will save a decent amount of cash! Depending where you are, booze can get pretty pricey.
Happy hour is your friend! 😉
2. Street Food
In most places around the world there are street stalls everywhere! Travelling throughout Asia we saw a lot! Locals would cook openly on the streets. Grab your food and sit down on a plastic chair on the curb and have such a neat local experience. Street food is honestly some of the best food I have ever had!
I tried the most delicious meal in Da Lat, Vietnam. The meal was also the cheapest meal ever! $1.50 CAD for one bowl of noodles.
Buffets offer great value for your money, especially since they are all-you-can-eat. Eat a ton of food to keep your belly full throughout your busy day! I haven’t tried buffet foods, however Jamie and I saw a decent amount of places in Asia that had a set price for a buffet style lunch or dinner. The prices seemed pretty reasonable.
4. Always Eat Local
Local food, not going to lie, can get pretty repetitive, especially in Asia. While the food is still amazing, having it so many times a day or quite often through a week can get pretty tough for your palette. Everything eventually kind of tastes the same after a while and the flavours are all similar. However, eating local food will save you so much money! If you’re on vacation, obviously splurge and get what you want, but if you’re really trying to save some cash, the price difference between the local and western food is actually a decent chunk!
This was the hardest for me while travelling! I needed to have some sort of routine from back home, so we always found a western breakfast spot to go to and sometimes a dinner spot too! We paid about $10-$15 PP for western breakfast in Asia, when we could have gotten Pho for a couple cents to a dollar. Yup, they eat Pho for breakfast! See how it can get pretty tough…
5. Use A Reusable Water Bottle
If you’re a person who drinks a lot of water (good for you!) buying water bottles not only gets pricey depending on where you are, but it is horrible for the environment. Jamie and I bought huge jugs of water and we would refill our bottle up before we headed out.
You can also purchase a filtered water bottle from Amazon, which is great for those places where you can’t drink their tap water. Lifestraw is a great company, and we always had one with us, just in case of emergencies.
6. Cook Your Own Food
Asia is really cheap to eat out, so you can eat out everyday and that would be cheaper than buying groceries (eating local of course). If you’re travelling to a different destination (like Europe or North America) sometimes food can get pricey, so having an Airbnb that has a kitchen is key! Not only is it exciting checking out a new grocery store, but cooking is one of the best ways to keep your travel costs down.
7. Be Mindful Of Snacking
Constantly stopping for a snack can make your expenses add up quickly. Avoid snacks and stick to big, filling meals instead. If you do need to snack make it worthwhile. Don’t forget to also buy some snacks at the local grocery store that way you can bring some along your adventure or have something to munch on when you get hungry at night or on the road.
8. Always Do Your Dining Research
I do this even back home in Toronto. If it’s a date night, I love googling the restaurant and kind of having my meal figured out ahead of time. When you google places it makes it a bit easier to see how expensive the place is, instead of just going and being surprised when you get the bill.
9. Walk Away From The Touristy Spots
I have written about this in Travel Mistakes You Should Avoid.
If you’re near any tourist spots the food prices will be doubled, if not tripled. Walk maybe 10-15 out of that area and find places where locals go! Otherwise your budget could sky rocket into outer space.
10. Sharing Is Caring… But Also Saving!
There is nothing wrong with going to a restaurant and getting some things to share. Not only are you able to try different dishes, but you can save some extra cash, so it’s a win win! And maybe you can treat yourself to some lovely drinks, so it’s a triple win!
I’m actually shocked on how big some portion sizes are. This is where the restaurant research comes in handy! So if you are trying to save some cash, research that restaurant and find a place that has large portions so you can share, and possibly even bring home some leftovers for a lunch or snack the next day.