Eating out while traveling is one of the quickest—and easiest—ways to drain your vacation fund. But you’ve got to eat, right?
Here are some simple ways to save money on food while traveling, with the ultimate goal being to avoid restaurants for at least half your meals while on the road.
Carry some non-perishable food with you. Whether you’re traveling on your own or taking a trip with friends and family, the last thing you want is to be the hangry tourist frantically looking for a lunch spot in a city you’ve never visited before. Keep your blood sugar at a steady level by bringing some food with you if you’re going to be away from your room for an extended period of time. Some of the best options include granola bars, raw almonds or anything else that will stay fresh and is relatively healthy.
Don’t turn away free water. Anytime you’re offered a free glass of water, take it. Staying hydrated is important, and if you can do so for free, it’s a no brainer. Another option includes carrying around a water bottle that you can refill throughout the day.
Store some food in your hotel room. You can save some serious money while traveling by stocking up your hotel room with foods that can be eaten for breakfast before heading out for the day, in addition to snacks that can curb any cravings that may pop up before you head to bed. If your room doesn’t have a refrigerator, bring a cooler with you—or buy a cheap one when you arrive and fill it with ice from the hotel.
Buy local groceries. Do some research before your trip and determine if there are any farmers’ markets or mom-and-pop shops that you can hit up to find local foods that you may not be able to get your hands on at home. A quick shopping trip will save you money on meals for days at a time. To make things even easier, check to see if the grocery store (or another service) will deliver your order right to your hotel.
Get a kitchen. Having a room with a kitchen is critical if you’re serious about limiting the amount of money you spend at restaurants while traveling. While a room with a refrigerator will allow you to store a fair amount of food, a full kitchen takes things a step further by providing a space to cook your own meals. If you’re not sure whether your room is equipped with a kitchen, call the place where you’re staying to confirm.