Hello and welcome back readers! I’m excited to bring you 25 Tips for Saving Money on Food While Traveling to new countries and cities. If your family is like us, you love to enjoy the foods of your traveled to country or city. As you are well aware, this can start to substantially impact your travel budget for eating out regularly for every meal. No worries, Mommy And Me Travels has again reached out to our family of international travel experts to share with you the tops tips and tricks for how to save money on food while you travel.
If you have missed any of our weekly money saving tips and tricks check out: how to start planning your family vacation, how to save money on transportation, best way to choose family accommodations, Sightseeing With Kids: Tips and Tricks, and 20 Ultimate Packing Tips and Tricks. This week (6), we are focusing on 25 Tips for Saving Money on Food While Traveling.
Mommy And Me Travels is going to kick us off with our tips and tricks for saving money on food while we travel!
1. If staying in a hotel, find a place with a continental breakfast. Or if you are in an apartment like Airbnb, make your breakfast at “home”. This meal is the most important of the day as it gives you energy to enjoy all of your daily activities. Don’t skip this meal but use the cost effective means available to you for 1 of the 3 meals you will have that day. This will be free or pennies for your morning breakfast budget.
2. For lunch, find an off the beaten path restaurant. These non-touristy places are usually less expensive but also more authentic. We love to ask the locals where their favorite restaurants are located. Normally, the responses will be places that have great food and is extremely budget friendly. Locals usually aren’t paying an arm and a leg to go out to lunch.
3. Use a coupon app, we like Groupon and Restaurants.com, to save money on your meals that you are going to eat out. You can find deals like 25% off your bill or a free kid’s meal with the purchase of an adult entree. This will save you a significant amount of money on those “fancy” dinner outs.
Mommy Travel Experts hard hitting tips!
4. “I always check the local voucher sites such as Groupon or Wowcher. You can pick up some bargains here for meals out (and activities too). It’s also worth signing up to the newsletters of the restaurants you might visit as you are often sent vouchers to use for a free starter or dessert. Try to leave this until quite close to your trip as the vouchers tend to have short use by dates – or use a second email to sign up nearer the time. Also check out the ‘Kids Eat Free’ cards.” – Nikki at Yorkshire Wonders
5. “If you’re a parent of under-fives, you’ll also know how essential it is to always have snacks with you. Not only does having a Tupperware container full of crackers or dried fruit prevent tantrums and prove a useful distraction but it’s also a lot cheaper and healthier than an ice-cream.” – Kirsty at World For A Girl (https://www.worldforagirl.com)
6. “Shop at the local markets and make sure your hotel has at least a fridge and a microwave. Store bought meals for the family are always cheaper.” – Annette at Tips From A Typical Mom (https://tipsfromatypicalmomblog.com)
Regina at Full Time Field Trip shares these additional money saving tips!
7. “Cooking At Home. Where other people enjoy the sights and sounds of a new city, I’m crazy for grocery stores packed full of new-to-me items. I enjoy the challenge of preparing meals with whatever is available in a particular market.
8. Pack One Meal. We are always ready for a picnic. Whether it’s hardy sandwiches or carb loaded pasta, we can eat lunch (or dinner) on the go anywhere.
9. Special Treats. For special, regional food, must-try dishes, we get a couple of orders and share rather than each person getting their own plate. That way everyone gets a taste and none is wasted if it’s not well liked.
10. Eat On The Streets. Street food is cheap and amazing. They will almost never take a credit card so be ready with cash. For safety make sure the food is piping hot. We look for food carts with a line. A long line means tasty goodness. Some of our tastiest adventures and best memories were made sampling a variety of street foods.
11. Reduce The Price. Coupons are global. Look for discounts at Groupon, Living Social, tourist boards, those cheesy travel brochures in rest stops, and local blogs that connect you to all types of meal deals. Even in Thailand, we found a Taco Tuesday with half-price tacos.”
And there is still more tips for saving money on food while traveling!
12. Shop Local. “We make a list of our favorite meals from home and make the easiest ones while we’re traveling, so we can reserve the bulk of our time for adventures outside the kitchen. I come up with a meal plan and shopping list for the week and buy only what we need (it works out much better financially than impulse shopping and also creates less waste).” – Sarah from Dandelion Seed
13. “I always pack a bag of snacks before we leave. Having snacks in the car means we don’t have to stop and eat somewhere. Some of my favorite car snacks include: granola bars, grapes, berries, dried fruit, trail mix, baby carrots, sugar snap peas, and applesauce drinks. We also keep an old coffee can with candy in the car. The candy is helpful if we have an extra long car trip or need the kids to calm down in confusing driving situations.” – Sarah at State By State
14. Air Travel “Airport snacks can be pricey! We always pack sandwich bags with snacks to munch on while waiting around the airport, as well as for the plane. We also bring refillable water bottles – just dump them out before going through security checkpoints and refill them once you get into the terminal.” – Shannon at Grab My Passport (www.grabmypassport.com)
Shannan from Captivating Compass shares her money saving tips!
15. “Pick accommodations that have cooking facilities. Most hostels have a community kitchen and dining room to share with other lodgers.
16. House sit – Using a well-equipped kitchen is always a luxury while traveling. Cooking for yourself will allow you to splurge on the decadent dessert or local bottle of wine. Stop at the local market for fresh ingredients and try a new recipe. You will make such enjoyable memories in your home-away-from-home while dining in affordable luxury.
17. Picnic Lunches – On days out, plan on either bringing lunch with you or stopping at a market to buy local cheese, bread, fruit and chocolate for a European style picnic lunch. Plan ahead by making sure you have a bottle opener and cutlery in your backpack. Find the perfect view overlooking a canal, countryside, cityscape or beach. Then, pamper yourself (and the rest of the family) by trying a fancy coffee or local drink before heading out for the next family travel adventure.”
Kris at Gadsventure shares how her family of 6 eat for less the $50 AUD in Bali!
18. Try to eat local style food. For example, Nasi Goreng is so much cheaper than a Hamburger in Bali!
19. Check out the menu before going into a restaurant so you don’t get any nasty surprises with the bill.
20. Don’t stuff yourself with 3 big meals a day. Make dinner more of a snack after a big breakfast and lunch.
21. Prices are higher on the beachfront. All you need to do is go across the road from the beach and you can save half the price on a meal.
22. Share meals. We often buy only 3 or 4 big rice meals for our family of 6 and it is heaps for us.
23. When we travelled around Peru you could save a ton of money by asking for the Menu del Dia (the menu of the day). It is a set menu that gives you up to 6 courses for the price of one regular menu item. This would include a soup, a cocktail, appetizer, entree, main and dessert! The key is you have to ask for it though, it is not freely advertised. Remember the Menu del Dia next time you are in Peru!
24. Take some of your own favourite snacks or breakfast cereals from home if you are going somewhere foreign for a short vacation.
25. Eat less meat.”
Did you find the top 25 Tips for Saving Money on Food While Traveling helpful? We love to hear any ideas or suggestions that you have in the comments below. Let us know what you tried and what worked or didn’t work for your family. Our collaboration series only has a few weeks left. Don’t miss any of our upcoming tips and tricks. If you accidentally missed any, check them out here:
1 – How to start planning you next family vacation and adventure!
2 – Saving Money On Transportation
3 – Choosing Family Accommodations
4 – Sightseeing with Kids: Tips and Tricks
5 – 20 Ultimate Packing Tips and Tricks when Traveling With Kids
6 – 25 Tips for Saving Money on Food While Traveling (This Post)
7 – Road Trip Tips
8 – International Travel Tips
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So many great tips! I am always looking for tips on how to save money when traveling.
Great list of tips! I totally have to have a hotel that has breakfast in the morning!
We have started using Airbnb when we travel. The money saving is huge! We cook breakfast, plan a couple of lunches we can bring with us somewhere and plan a dinner at home so we minimize what we spend eating out but also get to enjoy a few meals out and about. Thanks for the tips!
Great tips…I always prefer hotel rooms or Airbnbs with at least a refrigerator and/or microwave…eating leftovers saves so much money.
Such great tips and advice!
This is an awesome list! I am such a foodie and love to find the best food while traveling, but it’s always helpful to find ways to do that without breaking the bank.
These are great tips. My daughter and I always drink just water at restaurants (free vs several dollars a drink) and try to “eat in” at least one meal a day (hotel breakfast, items picked up from local grocery store). This way we can really enjoy at least one really nice meal each day without any guilt. (Like all of the oysters and lobster rolls we enjoyed in Boston last weekend!) ~ Sage Scott, the Everyday Wanderer
Super tips all around!!! I have done just about every single one of them on past travels, and they are great reminders as I plan a 2-week family road trip for this summer!
Excellent tips! I have travelled a lot for many years and I have learnt to do many of these tips too! Thank you for sharing them!
Great tips for saving money. Going on vacation and these tips will come handy. Love street is so yummy.
Great tips!!!! I love checking out Groupon when we travel. You can even find Disney springs deals! Who would have ever thought you can get deals at Disney lol
It is insane how expensive food is. Whenever we travel we try hard to get a place with a kitchen so we can do our own thing!
Great tips. Very useful. Saving money is something that has never been easy for me, particularly when traveling.
We practice the food sharing of special treats! It really saves our family of 5 money to share the treats and special foods.
Free breakfast and a place with a kitchen are my two favorite ways. We have also stayed at Drury Hotels many times and they do a “light appetizer” dinner but it’s always enough to fill us up, plus free breakfast so we only pay for lunch when we stay there.
Food is one of the most expensive things for our family during travels. We have had luck with doing some of our own food prep, like making microwave meals when we can, or keeping a stash of bread, fruit, and peanut butter for a quick lunch.
Sharing meals even as an adult is what really works for me. Most meals are more than one serving and if you get an appetizer or a dessert this really adds to it. Plus where are you taking the left overs?
This tips are extremely useful. I loved the one about asking locals where their favourite restaurants are because as a tourist we tend to go to the fancy more recognized places and those can get pricey. I also love to carry snacks with me like protein bars, chips, cookies and sandwiches. That way I save a little money while on the go.
Have a great day.