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November 13, 2017

Eating (and drinking) on a budget while traveling

Thanks for all the love on my last post! I don't stay 'down' for long and was in good spirits soon after I wrote it. Thankfully. I did however have tons of work last week and decided to take the week off to focus on that. Also, I officially asked my bridesmaids to stand with me on my big day in April and Im sharing how I asked them on Wednesday - stay tuned. Anyway on to today's post.

If you've spoken to me for more than a minute then you know I love to travel. As much as I love to travel though, I will be the first to admit that travelling can get pretty expensive since things add up quickly. My budget brain tries its best to find ways to got costs and I've found that cutting costs on food and drinks can majorly affect the travel budget - in a good way. Coming off of the last two trips I took (Guyana and Barbados), and with my trip to Romania and Germany coming up in a just over a month (we leave on the 16th December) I decided it was time to share some of my tips and tricks for eating and drinking for less.

Most of these are no brainers, but I've found that employing at least some of these really helps.

travel budget

1. Stay at an inclusive hotel (all inclusive or breakfast inclusive)
Not every country or city will have all inclusive or breakfast inclusive options, but where possible, it is a perfect way to save money on food and drink on vacation. Bonus points for the convenience of not having to look for food.

2.  Find alternative accommodation
Whether it be a hotel, Airbnb, vbro or an apartment, if you stay at a place where there is a kitchen so you can cook your own meals, you can save money. I tend to go to Barbados once every year (though Ive skipped a couple years) and have done this several times. On my trip to Australia in 2014, we used an Airbnb when we stayed in Sydney for my cousin's wedding. I can't tell you how much money we saved by just eliminating breakfast since we cooked instead of eating out.

3. (when possible) Stay with family or friends
This wouldn't always be possible (or lets face it, desirable) but when it is, this is a perfect way to save money. Two of the three weeks that Danny and I will be in Romania, we will be spending it with at his parens house. It saves money and bonus, we get to be with his family, which I'm truly excited about.

4. Eat local
Eating local food, in non-tourist areas is cheaper than eating from restaurants and bars that cater specifically for tourists. The bonus for this one is you get to taste local culture, which is one of my favourite parts of travel.

5. Street Food
Similar to the above (but slightly different since you can find food trucks in tourist areas and its not always local food) is eating street food while traveling. Quite simply, street food is typically cheap and yummy. A good example of this for me is Barbados - the most popular tourist spot in Barbados is called "the Gap" and there are the best street burgers you will ever find. I promise eating that burger over eating at a restaurant will get you more bang for your buck since food is notoriously expensive in Barbados.

6. Seek out happy hour
This is a no-brainer! Two for one drinks. While you're at it, get some bar food. Cheap and does the trick.

7. Pack snacks
I always pack a couple snacks in my carry on so that on the off chance that Im unable to eat for a while when I land, I have something to munch on. Well, this works to also eliminate food costs. Packing protein bars can mean not buying breakfast. Packing your favourite snack can mean not spending on lunch or dinner, play with it.

8. Find deals online and on apps
Search online for cheaper restaurants, food deals and festivals where food will be sold. This is a solid way to make sure you save and you can search these even before you leave for the trip.

** UPDATE - Because I genuinely want this post to be helpful, Im adding a bonus tip that one of my blogger friends Biana commented on this post - sharing food! Guys portion sizes are almost always too big. Danny and I routinely share food and man is it ever a good way to save money. Love this tip!

Eating on vacation is one of my favourite things to do and it doesn't have to be expensive. Create a travel budget and enjoy your trip without worrying about food expense. I hope these help!

Have a great Monday!!

Add your comment

  1. Packing snacks helped us a lot in Iceland because everything was so expensive. My husband and I also split meals to not only reduce costs, but we always get so stuffed when we eat our own entrees that we can't enjoy the rest of the evening LOL! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

  2. Wonderful tips!! Esepcially the breakfast and snacks with kiddos! When we were in europe, we had a biiiig hotel breakfast as most places have them included, a small lunch off the streets or a stand and then dinner. So excited for your upcoming travels

  3. These are all great tips. Whenever I road trip back & forth to MN now I always pack snacks in the car so that I don't have to stop for fast food or something along the way. I also make sure to stay at places that have a free breakfast.

  4. These are all such great tips! I love street food and eating where the locals eat. Most of the time, I find that food is better any way! And girl, yes to happy hour! <3, Pamela Sequins & Sea Breezes

  5. Great tips! Food and drinks are such a massive expense of travel that you tend to forget about until you're already there.

  6. Local street food can be some of the best and usually very inexpensive. We always choose hotels with free breakfast so that takes one meal off of our spending.

  7. I also find its a good idea to order of the specials menu. You'll pay less than the regular me u! Also, if your accommodation has a fridge and microwave you can take half your meal back with you and eat it for lunch the next day (depending on what it is).

  8. Excellent tips! Just love me a good Happy Hour! Breakfast included is huge because you can feel up on protein and only need a snack. We eat an earlier dinner so this works well.

    1. Happy hour is the best and you really can't go wrong with breakfast included!!

  9. Great tips! I'm plotting on some destinations for the upcoming year & this post will be helpful! I'm always on the lookout for ways to save money!

  10. In America, Angel and I always share a meal at restaurants--their food is huge! Here, portion sizes tend to be quite small--Angel often gets two meals for himself alone! :P I definitely like to stay in places that have a kitchen so that we can have our own food and snacks. I don't really have an "iron stomach"...so when traveling in Southeast Asia I have to stick more to packaged food and drinks or clean restaurants or types of foods that are boiled (I eat a lot of soup) to be on the safe side. Angel is better able to gamble with street food but around here because we're sort of "locals" we know better which stalls to avoid due to lack of food safety, and which stalls have a good reputation, ha! Even in China our local friends would tell us which places were safe, known to use legit meat and which ones used shady ingredients.

  11. Free breakfast at a hotel is my favorite!! It's always so nice waking up and not having to worry about that. Packing snacks has also saved me so many times. Traveling and being hangry is never fun. Great compilation of tips. I need to apply some of these to my life in China.

  12. Yes to all of this especially finding happy hours and staying at all inclusive resorts. We actually prefer cruises and all inclusive resorts because everything is paid for up front, and you don't have to worry about your food and drink budget once you're there. Just relax and enjoy <3

  13. I love all the tips you mentioned and also Biana's suggestion. Sharing food is always a good one and a great reason to travel with your best bud. I'm seldom able to finish a entree by myself and sometimes when you're traveling, taking the leftovers just isn't practical.


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