One of the best things about saving money on food when you’re traveling is that you won’t be particularly put out on your vacation, meaning that you won’t have to make a lot of vital changes to your trip or how you choose to visit in order to be able to save money on your meals.
If you’re choosing your own hotel accommodations, see if there are any that meet your needs and also offer a complimentary breakfast in the morning. While many will agree that you’ll hardly get a five-star breakfast when you’re saying at a hotel, it’s definitely better than nothing and some hotels really do serve good food for their complimentary breakfasts. You should be able to snag some muffins, bagels, and a ton of coffee before you have to go out and begin your day.
If you’re new to the area or simply want to try out some new restaurants while you’re traveling, try to check out the lunch specials at the local eateries. In most cases, dinners will be a lot more expensive than lunch and sometimes you’ll be able to find some huge price cuts throughout the early daytime hours. This is a great time to sample the local food or find a new restaurant to go to while you’re out on your travels, especially since it will be much cheaper.
Before you leave for your trip, and you’ve decided that you’re going to try and save money on food while you’re visiting your destination, do some research and see what supermarkets are available in the immediate area surrounding your hotel. Many hotels around the world will have small fridges available for you to use if you request them and if your particular hotel doesn’t offer this amenity, you can simply use a cooler to store the food in until you’re ready to cook it. Buying your food from the supermarket and cooking it in your hotel room will save you a lot of money and in a lot of cases it will be much healthier.
While you’re at the local supermarket, be sure to stock up on bottled water. When it comes to touristy areas, you’re going to spend an arm and a leg on a bottle of water - it’s one of the most expensive things you can buy when you’re out and about. You need to stay hydrated while you’re traveling, but you don’t want to spend four dollars on a bottle of water, so head to the shop and buy bottled water in bulk. If you’ve got a fridge or cooler in your room, you’ll be able to shove a few of the bottles inside and you can take them as you need them - you’ll always have a bottle of water on hand so you won’t have to spend the ridiculous amounts of cash that they will usually charge for one.
Looking at the local restaurants that are around your hotel is an easy way to find some great places to eat that are convenient (and usually cheap if you’re eating during lunch). That being said, if you’re in a well-respected hotel in a touristy area, you’re probably still paying more for that meal than you would if you walked a few blocks down in one direction. Tourist attractions, including the restaurants, are much more expensive because of supply and demand - they jack up the prices because they know they can. Instead, check to see what’s available a few blocks away from your hotel. Ask the locals and see if they have any recommendations that are outside the tourist areas and you’ll find that the food is just as great, but the prices are much lower and the crowds are usually a lot thinner.
There are a lot of ways to save money if you’re out traveling, especially if you’re eating out or shopping for food at the supermarket. There are websites out there like Groupon that will let you know what kind of deals are being offered in the city you’re currently in, making it easy to have coupons and deals with you at all times. The best part about this is that there is an app available for Groupon so as long as you have WIFI or cell phone signal, you’ll be able to check to see if there are any local specials going on.
Another less obvious way to save money on food while you’re traveling is by researching your area before you go and seeing if there are any restaurants that are new to the area. In a lot of cases, restaurants that have just opened will offer introductory rates to customers in order to bring in more patrons. You can take advantage of these restaurants even if you aren’t a local in the area and you’ll not only be able to save money doing this, but you’ll be able to try out new food and new establishments.
Drinking with dinner isn’t a bad idea, but if you’re doing it constantly, you’ll find that you can rack up quite a bit of money just on alcohol. Try to limit yourself to one drink per restaurant or only a few drinks per week to keep the unnecessary alcohol costs down. Also keep in mind that if you’re dining in a touristy area, the alcohol will be insanely more expensive.
There are a good number of ways to save money on food while you’re traveling and all you need to do is prepare yourself and make the conscious decision that you’ll be doing whatever you can to budget your finances when it comes to eating. Just by switching restaurants, taking advantage of free breakfasts, and doing some research, you can easily save a few hundred dollars over the course of your trip.