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How to Eat Cheap while Travelling

July 14, 2016 3 min read

cheap eating
Whether you’re a foodie or not, one of the highlights of any trip abroad is trying the local cuisine and having a food adventure as well as a travel adventure. Most of us will consider it a bonus if we’re travelling somewhere with great grub and will do everything we can to try the local specialities!
Whether it’s a spicy curry in Thailand, sushi in Japan, paella in Spain, pizza in Italy or ‘pho’ in Vietnam, who wouldn’t want to try them all?
Unfortunately, eating out while you travel can cause a serious dent in your travel budget. You’ve just paid for flights, accommodation, tours and activities so may be left with a limited budget for food.
But don’t worry, I’ve got your back. Here are my top 5 tips on how to save money on food while you’re travelling
1.Eat where the locals eat
Avoid touristy restaurants, which are often located in prime areas next to tourist attractions. Check out the local restaurants, cafes and markets instead. You won’t find the menu in 10 different languages but you will find authentic and affordable meals. Find these places down side streets and further from the centre of town or simply ask a local for their recommendations.
My favourite app for restaurant recommendations is called Spotted by Locals. It’s a guide to cities based on local recommendations and often includes places most tourists will never have heard of. TripAdvisor is another firm favourite for recommendations. Avoid the #1 TripAdvisor restaurant as it will often become overpriced and very busy after a few months in the top spot.
2.Don’t be scared of ‘street food’
Food from market stalls is the cheapest way to eat while you’re travelling. Don’t be nervous about getting sick, just buy your meals from the busiest stall you can find. The stall with the longest queue will definitely be the best (why else would people queue!?) but it will also be the freshest as they’re constantly replenishing their stock so there’s less chance of getting ill.
3.Make lunch time your main meal
If you do splash out and dine at a nice restaurant then go at lunchtime rather than for your evening meal. Lunchtime menus are often cheaper and you can take advantage of special offers like 2-for- 1 meals or early bird discounts that often don’t apply in the evening. It will also be quieter so you will get a better table and better service.
4.Prioritise which meals you eat out
Opt for accommodation with self-catering facilities so you’re able to cook some of your own meals. You could make your own breakfast and lunch and then eat out for dinner. You’ll save yourself a lot of money and you can still cook yourself local specialties in the comfort of your own apartment.
5.Take your favourite foods with you
To seriously save some money, pop your favourite food products in your luggage and take them with you to avoid having to buy duplicates when you arrive. Maybe it’s your favourite hot sauce or your favourite coffee that you already have half a jar of at home. Just make sure you research the country’s food importation laws before you go, to see what is allowed to be brought in and that you are complying with the laws. You’ll also need to ensure you declare whatever you bring in.
There you have it! A few simple tips will mean you can still sample the local delights on your next trip without breaking the bank.
Monica Stott
Monica is the founder of The Travel Hack and started the blog in 2009 during a two-year backpacking trip to Australia and Asia. She’s a full-time blogger, a mum of two and on a mission to prove you can still have adventures when you have young kids! Follow her adventures here.

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