Cheap eating tips for the frugal traveler

April 1, 2010

By Judy McEuen
Travel Writer
Troy Media

Judy McEuen
Judy McEuen

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, Apr. 1, 2010/ Troy Media/ — Most travelers spend much of their travel budget on food. We all look forward to a sumptuous meal but if we are far away from home, it’s a luxury most budget travelers cannot afford. Well, you don’t have to starve yourself to save on food. Cheap eating is possible with the following tips.

Most hotels or guesthouses offer free breakfast to their guests. It’s not exactly free because the cost is part of what you paid for your accommodation. Take advantage of this “free” breakfast by filling up on it before you hit the road for a long day of sightseeing and exploring. Do take note that some hotels serve breakfast for a limited time only. You want to wake up a little early if you want to save your dollars for something special a little later.

Lunches cheaper

It is a fact that lunches can be significantly cheaper than suppers. So if you want to splurge on food, do so during lunch because it’ll still save you some money compared to doing it at dinner.

When eating in a restaurant, skip the drinks. They usually cost three times more than their retail price. It pays to bring your own bottled water especially when you are in a place with not-so-safe drinking water. This brings us to a big money saver trick: stock-up on bottled water and other drinks at the supermarket (such as grocery discounter Aldi in Geramy). Bring a bottle or two when going out because buying the same from a street vendor or a convenience store will cost you a lot more.

Avoid touristy areas when choosing a restaurant. They are usually over-priced. Follow the locals and eat where they eat. You will be surprised at how big the price difference is. It’ll also help if you know one or two ethnic communities around the area such as Chinatown, Tokyotown and the like. Restaurants in these areas cater to locals and they also have the same local-friendly price. They are most likely to offer mouth-watering dishes too!

Carry some snacks with you. Chocolates, granola bars or trail mixes usually do the trick for hunger pangs. Local fruits from the supermarket are also cheap. A snack in between meals will help you avoid splurging on meals.

Save your cash

Carrying along a portable heater will save a lot of money on food. You can easily make coffee or instant hot chocolate in your hotel room when you feel hungry. It is also perfect for whipping up an instant meal in a cup. Cup noodles are inexpensive and will usually fill-you up.

Cheap eating can save you a lot of cash that you can use to indulge in a relaxing massage, buy some souvenirs from the local crafts or have some great time in a local pub. By just eating smart, you’ll be surprised at how far you can stretch your budget. If you become an expert at it, you just might save enough for another exciting trip!

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