Any good backpacker knows that one of the biggest expenses whilst traveling is your food and drink budget! Today I’m sharing five things that i do to help minimise the food bill so that those dollars can be saved and put towards something even more epic!!
1 – COOKING YOUR OWN MEALS
More than likely (just like when at home), cooking and preparing your own food can work out much cheaper than eating out for every meal. Look for hostels or airbnbs where you have access to a kitchen and start cooking up a storm using all those fresh new local ingredients that you spot at the local markets!
I’ve stayed at hostels before that even have a free food section – other travellers who don’t want to continue traveling with half a bottle of olive oil or have too much pasta leftover simply donate their items here. This can be a goldmine if you’re lucky and help with budgeting even further!
2 – EATING DIRECT FROM THE SUPERMARKET
Eating directly from the supermarket is another way to save big dollars while travelling as well as convenient when you’re out and about for the day. If I’m in need of a quick bite to eat my go to “on the run” snacks include grabbing some rice crackers with a hommos dip, a packet of almonds or some fresh fruit but you can go for anything thats cheap, convenient or just tickles your tastebuds.
It’s much lighter on the wallet to spend five dollars on something direct from the supermarket then to hit the sushi place next door or McDonalds around the corner.
3 – PRE-DRINKS!
Having spent all of this year so far in Australia & New Zealand i know all too well exactly how expensive buying drinks whilst out clubbing can be. One tequila, two tequila, three tequila POOR!
Some of the best nights out start with drinking with friends and new acquaintances then hitting the club afterwards when the party is getting started. You can buy beer, wine and liquor much much cheaper at the supermarket or store than the pub or club. Have some social drinks before going out, get to know your fellow travelers a little better before you’re surrounded by loud music then once you’re six pack of beer is finished – hit the dance floor!
4 – FREE FOOD!?!
Hostels that offer free breakfast and woofing jobs / volunteer work with meals included are just two ways you can score free food on your travels. Sharing food or meals with other travelers is also a great way to try something different and save some money.
Next time you’re whipping up some spaghetti bolognaise make a bit extra for those two Brazilian backpackers you hung out with earlier – then they can return the favour with some special home cooked creation tomorrow! Win win!
If you’re really lucky you might get to know a local bakery or cafe or something that throws their food out at the end of the day. Strike up a conversation and develop a relationship with the staff to see if you can come across anything like this – this also leads into:
5 – TRAVELING SLOWLY ALLOWS YOU TO FIND THE CHEAPEST EATS
Travelling slowly truly does allow you to find the cheapest eats in your local area. When you stay in a place for a bit longer you’ll spend more time wandering around and discovering new food places.
In New Zealand i frequented a small bakery around the corner from my hostel that served up fish and chips for $6. Sure it wasn’t the greatest culinary experience ever but it was yummy and filled the empty tummy. There was also a sushi place that sold all their leftover sushi for half price at the end of the day.
Staying in one place more than five minutes and chatting with other people helps you discover where the cheap eats in your local area are hiding.
Have any other cool tips for eating and drinking on the cheap while traveling? Please share them with your fellows travelers in the comments below! 🙂