A major expense while travelling is food. A hamburger there, a slice of Pizza here. Food is necessary to survive, so it is important to find affordable meals. Here are a few tips on How to Save Money on Food When You Travel.

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How to Save Money on Food When You Travel

1. Eat local food on the street or market

In most places around the world the streets are lined with small food stalls where local food is cooked. Here you can eat for a few dollars and at the same time try traditional food. Many people are worried about the safety and prefer eating in a restaurant. Personally I never had any problems with the food and would always prefer eating on the street, not only for financial reasons but also because it is in my opinion the best way to experience the culture of a new country and to get in touch with locals. Thailand for example would not be the same without the street food.


2. Avoid restaurants and ask the locals

Restaurants at touristy places and streets are mostly totally overpriced. Therefore ask locals where they like to eat. A few walking minutes away small restaurants are often offering the same food for a fraction of the tourist price, are more authentic and again, it is an opportunity to get in touch with locals 😉

3. Buy food on local markets or grocery stores and have a picnic

When I am travelling I love visiting local markets. I often purchase local food at different stands and have a picnic on the beach or on the peak of a mountain with a nice view. I mainly purchase local food because it is usually the cheapest as it does not need to be imported.


4. Look for accommodations with kitchen

Eating out every day is expensive and sometimes you prefer cooking your own food. Whenever possible I try to find an accommodation with kitchen to prepare simple, cheap meals. Moreover, the kitchen is a good place to meet other people that are staying at your hostel. Cooking together is not only cheaper but also makes more fun.

5. Catch Happy Hours

When you arrive at a new place check out bars and restaurants that offer Happy Hours. When you are fine with eating early you can save money by ordering your food at Happy Hours prices.

6. Pack your own meals

The food at places like leisure parks, airports or bus stops are often overpriced. An easy way to avoid paying to much for food is to carry your own small meals and snacks. Examples of easy to pack meals are protein bars, pre-made pizza, fruits or sandwiches.

7. Order Take-Away

Ordering Take-Away can be cheaper because you do not order all the extras like desert and after-dinner coffee. Moreover, instead of the expensive drinks in the restaurant you can buy cheap drinks at a local store or drink tab water and you do not need to pay the tip for the waiter.

8. No Soda or Snacks

A coke during lunch, a 7 up at dinner and a drink in between. During a long-term trip buying sodas can really add up. Money that you could better use to do a fun day trip or to extend your travels. The same goes for snacks.

9. Take a reusable water bottle

Water might not be as expensive as Sodas but at high temperatures you need several bottles a day. Assumming a bottle costs $1 and you buy three per day over the course of a month you well spend $90. You see, it is a lot of money and in some countries a bottle even costs more. Additonally, it is more sustainable to use reusable water bottles.

10. Tourism Cards and Coupons 

Tourism cards are not only a good way to save money on transportations and attractions but also offer discounts at many restaurants. Moreover, you can find good restaurant deals on websites like Groupon and many cities have booklets with discount cards for certain restaurants.

11. Shop early or late on markets

Many vendors offer special deals for the first customers of the day or sell the last goods at the end of the day at a fraction of the original price.

Comment below: Do you have any tips on how to save money on food when you travel?

Universal Traveller – Luxury Adventure Travel


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20 Responses to "How to Save Money on Food When You Travel"

  1. The Brave Dame  September 10, 2014

    Great tips! Going to markets is my favorite thing to do and save money at the same time.

    • universaltraveller  September 10, 2014

      Thank you! I totally agree with you. I also love it, it’s the best way to get to know local food and you meet so many wonderful and interesting people. 🙂

  2. differentdoors  July 28, 2015

    Since I love discovering the local food (and it’s pretty high on my list of of things to do when I travel), street food and markets are something I usually cover as well as asking the locals!

  3. Jenni  July 28, 2015

    Personally street food has always been a good choice for me. In fact, when it comes to health, it feels like restaurants are often more iffy, because their kitchen turnover isn’t as fast!

  4. Tag Along Travel  July 28, 2015

    Great advice. I would add that if you do have access to a kitchen, use your opportunity to “collect” condiments at restaurants (e.g. mayo, salt, pepper, ketchup) to use in your recipes. You’d be surprised what kind of marinades and sauces you can concoct with these items and buying full-sized versions in stores is costly.

  5. The Aussie Flashpacker  July 31, 2015

    Great ideas! We like staying in apartments & eat in markets & use supermarkets where possible 🙂

  6. Travel Gretl  July 31, 2015

    Good list 🙂 We pack a lot of things in the car when we go on short travels. Feels so Dutch, haha 😉


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