Food is an unavoidable element of your budget when you’re travelling, and if you’re not careful it can eat away at the cash you wanted to spend on activities or experiences. We’re not saying you shouldn’t enjoy a meal or two in a lovely restaurant if you fancy but preserve your money by following some of our recommendations for the rest of your trip.
Prepare Your Own Meals
Going to a store or market in Europe is a sure-fire way to get quality ingredients at bargain prices. Yes, you have to assemble them yourself, but if you’re staying in accommodation with a kitchen, this is easy to do. Even if you’re not, you can still gather items for a picnic or street meal such as prepacked sandwiches and fruit. Remember, though, that opening hours may be shorter than you’re used to, especially in small towns. Don’t get caught out with a hungry stomach!
Sample Local Street Food
Many cities and towns across Europe will have their own street food culture, meaning that you can get a budget meal at the same time as checking out some of the local specialties. There will naturally be vendors and takeout shops that are better than others, so it might be worth having a word with the locals to see which they’d recommend.
Try Lunch Specials
Many restaurants and cafes in Europe will discount their prices at lunchtime to draw in the business crowd, allowing tourists to take advantage of some bargain deals if they’re willing to eat their main meal at lunchtime. This is a great way of sampling some cuisine that would break your budget at their regular prices and is a chance to eat in the places that locals frequent too.
Check Out Options Ahead of Time
While you’re doing your general holiday prep, take the opportunity to look at the food options in the cities you’re visiting. Read recent reviews and visit their Facebook pages to get an idea of which locations offer quality combined with value.
Move Beyond Tourist Traps
Prices are naturally higher in locations where tourists spend a lot of time as vendors take advantage of having a perceived captive market. However, you can move beyond those areas to find cheaper venues and (often) tastier food. It goes without saying that you should do a little research beforehand, just to check that you’re not wandering into a really bad area of town.
Eat Before You’re Ravenous
It’s a fact that when you’re hungry, you’ll choose options that are close at hand, whether they’re the most economical or not. Making a decision about where you’re going to eat earlier in the day and ensuring you’re there in good time for your meal will help keep your hunger pangs at bay when you can least afford them. If you’re more on the spontaneous side, just don’t allow your hunger to get too bad before you find somewhere to eat!