How to Eat on a Budget While Traveling Abroad

Traveling abroad is one of the most amazing things you can do in life. You get to witness how other people live their lives, what they eat, how they speak. There's really nothing like it. One of my favorite things about traveling is trying local foods, new foods, & getting out of my usual routine. The thing to consider is that you're already paying a huge chunk of change for your plane ticket. The question therein is: how do you eat cheap & on a budget while traveling abroad? Don't worry I've got your back with plenty of tips to lead you on the right track. Here's to eating well & eating cheap!

eat on a budget

Do your research

If you have some sort of Internet access look online to see what food is out there. You can check out Yelp, browse reviews, & search for affordable options in your area. There's no way that you could possibly know all the restaurants & cafes yourself, so to do a little bit of research & narrow it down. Be sure to consider the pricing, portion size, & distance from your current location.

Understand tipping

Tipping practices vary per country. Some don't require or expect tips at all. Some include tips into your check. Make sure you learn & understand how it works. Over time, you'll save a pretty penny if you know the tipping culture.

tipping abroad

Go to a grocery store

Heading to local grocery stores was one of my favorite things about traveling. I will never forget Albert Heijn, a Dutch supermarket. You have no idea how many times I went into that store to buy delicious juice, cheese croissants, & lentil avocado salad. Their prices were cheap & made for the perfect picnic. Grocery stores & markets are the way to go because you get to make, cook, & assemble your own meals. You can also buy coffee or tea bags to save you from picking up one every morning.

Pack your lunch

You're out & about all day exploring the city & its many wonders. Save some cash by bringing lunch with you. It's just like the old days in elementary school; packing your lunch will keep your cost down. The fun challenge is finding a lovely place to eat your lunch. Picnics are everything when traveling abroad! I'll never forget the quaint garden lunch at a picnic table in Copenhagen or the lovely lakeside picnic in Amsterdam. Those packed picnic lunches were some of my favorite memories from traveling abroad.

lunch abroad

Eat before you're super hungry

I admit I made this mistake many times. Learn from my mistakes. In order to save money while you're traveling the world, eat before you're super hungry. If you're about to faint from hunger you'll likely visit the first place you see regardless of its price. That doesn't really help if you're on a budget. Be sure to get some food before you're starving.

Have a snack on hand

This kind of goes hand in hand with the above tip. Always always always have a snack with you. Keep it in your purse, your backpack, your fanny pack or pocket if you have to. If you have a snack with you you won't immediately be tempted to lunge at the first sight of food. A banana, cup of cereal, or mixed nuts ought to do the trick.

open seating

Ask a local 

Engage with the locals & inquire about their favorite restaurant, cafe, or underrated eatery. Ask about budget-friendly options in the neighborhood. Locals know a hell of a lot more about the city than you do. Take their advice & run with it. You have no idea how many times asking a local about something totally enhanced my overall experience.

Eat at the hotel

If you're at a hotel, motel, hostel, Airbnb that includes a meal, take advantage of it. In Paris my mom, sister, & I ate breakfast every day at the hostel. That saved us about €10 per person per day. You can buy souvenirs, macarons, museum tickets, or what have you with that money. The more cash you save by eating on a budget when you travel abroad leaves more room for other options.

hotel sink

Use a kitchen

Does your hotel or Airbnb have a kitchen? Take advantage of it. Cook your meals at home. We all know this is one of the best ways to eat on a budget in general. As a broke college student I took pride in being able to scrummage up food with whatever I had in the house. You can obviously supplement that by going to the grocery store.

Refill your water bottle

In some countries you have to pay for water at the restaurant or they may not give you any at all. I remember sitting down for lunch in Denmark & specifically asking for tap water only to find out that they charged for it. Lesson learned. Buy a water bottle & refill it. You'll save a lot of money on water alone.

Drink outside

Europe is pretty chill about drinking outside or in public. Stop by the store & pick up a bottle of wine, some beer, even juices rather than buying them at a restaurant at a mark up. I spent €6 on a beer at a restaurant. Then I got wise & bought an even larger beer at the market for about €2. Do a little research on the laws about drinking in public in your country.

Were these tips on how to eat a budget while traveling abroad of any use? Any tips I left out? :]

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48 comments

  1. Wonderful post! Have a nice day:)

    www.theprintedsea.blogspot.com

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  2. These are such good tips for when you are travelling, sometimes food is something we don't really think about before we go and I definitely agree that planning is key! It's just food at the end of the day, as long as you aren't hungry, if you're getting to enjoy the sight, what else matters? Brilliant post!

    Musings & More

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    Replies
    1. The end of the trip food can add up if you're going out to a restaurant every single meal, so it's important to try to save a bit of money. :]

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  3. Great tips! I love going away but eating can add up so easily & become so expensive. I always try to make sure I plan ahead :)
    x

    Small&Blonde♥

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    Replies
    1. You're right Samantha. It can get very pricey if you don't watch it. :]

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  4. Nice photos :)
    BLOG M&M FASHION BITES : http://bit.ly/1ZdcJxK
    Maria V.

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  5. Wonderful post and some great advice! !

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  6. Great tips! My husband and I just got back from a little vacay in Brazil. We ended up going to the supermarket a good deal and making food at home. While this wasn't the original intention (we ate at home because I wasn't feeling well), it did save us quite a bit of money. I also loved the supermarkets in Rio since they had lots of stuff I can't find at the supermarkets in Argentina, so it was a fun experience going grocery shopping!

    xx Chrystin
    http://amateandarottweiler.blogspot.com.ar/

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    Replies
    1. I love heading to markets & stores because you get to see some of the local food items you'd never see if you're at a restaurant. :]

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  7. I really enjoyed reading these tips and I'll definitely try to apply them when traveling abroad, I bet going to ta grocery store will save you a good amount of money! :)
    xx

    http://www.stylebydeb.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Grocery stores are money savers & they have some of the best food. :]

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  8. These were definitely helpful! I like going to the grocery stores, it's always interesting to see what the locals tend to eat. Although it can be a bit confusing to figure out the checkout process in different countries!

    Angelina Is | Bloglovin'

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    Replies
    1. That's true. Check out processes can range per country. :]

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  9. Whenever I'm overseas I actually love going to the grocery store because they're usually so different from the ones back home. I could probably spend quite a chunk of time just browsing the aisles and looking at all the different foodie items.

    www.thesundaymode.blogspot.com.au

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I adore grocery shopping so heading to foreign markets is truly a happy hobby for me. :]

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  10. great tips

    http://carrieslifestyle.com
    Posts online about Rio, Amalfi, Beijing...

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  11. Very great tips, Carmen! I am absolute rubbish with tipping culture, I'll admit. Where I come from, the word "tip" doesn't even exist in our vocab, but I remember going abroad with waiters standing by the table with the bill in hand looking at me, expecting something more, ha.

    May | THE MAYDEN

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    Replies
    1. Very true, May. It can really range per country. When I was in Europe one country didn't expect a tip, the next country included the tip in the price, & the next country the guy was waiting for a euro or two. :]

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  12. These tips are really good! I love travelling and exploring food in a new country is a huge part of travelling for me - but it can be really expensive! Thanks for the tips :)

    www.thesparklingdarling.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Food is absolutely one of the best parts of travel. :]

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  13. Something I always get a bit too excited about doing when I travel is going to the supermarkets. It's probably a bit strange to some people but I just like looking around and trying out a few new things. And when I travel I mostly stay in hostels or AirBNB places with kitchens so I'll buy breakfast food from a supermarket and eat in and then have lunch out and often get back in time for dinner. Food can really get expensive when you're travelling so if you're on a budget these are some really great tips.

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    Replies
    1. Hostels & Airbnb add even more to the experience of travel. :]

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  14. These are such great tips and there are so many of them that I did not consider. I was especially interested in the water bottle option as I never knew that some places would charge you for water like that. I also like the idea of shopping for food at the grocery store and making meals on your own; such a budget friendly idea.

    Rachel
    http://rachelinflight.com

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    1. Oh yeah one of our first days in Europe we got charged for tap water & always made sure to carry water bottles we could refill. :]

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  15. Great tips! I'll remember them for my next travels :)

    Bold Bliss
    http://boldblissblog.com

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  16. Cool pictures and great tips. Thanks for sharing :)

    stay styled,

    Lindsey

    IG: stay_styled
    Blog: http://staystyledblog.com/

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  17. Go to the market, or street food, they're always worth to try, and cheap!

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  18. I don't really go abroad much but when I go to another city I always google the local resturants so I can try new things! Agree with the snacks, I always take cookies with me on the train :)

    Velvet Blush

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  19. thanks for tips, girl! really helpful ;)

    the white ocean

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  20. Thank you for the share. I love to travel far to exotic places, but of course the plane ticket is a bit much. I think I'll be taking these good tips! Cheers. :)

    Jo x
    www.outlanderly.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The plane ticket really adds up especially if you plan to go to different locations. Affordable food is the way to go. :]

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  21. Great tips! One of the best things about traveling is getting to try the local cuisine and checking out their local food markets too.

    xo, jackie
    stylemydreams.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Local cuisine is what dreams are made of. :]

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  22. Great tips! I also ask locals or take something on the go...

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    Replies
    1. Both of these options are perfect. Locals know what's up. :]

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  23. Great! I would probably apply this when i travel!

    xo, Monique
    https://moniqueegalang.blogspot.com

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  24. When we were in Belgium last year, our favorite thing to do was stop at the corner market and get "walking beer" when we were headed somewhere. Haha. And there's nothing I love more than stopping at European grocery stores. There are so many goodies to try and if you fall in love with something prepackaged, you can take it home as a souvenir.

    http://bedknobsandbaubles.com/

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    Replies
    1. I love a good walking beer! I did the exact same thing when I was in Belgium. :]

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  25. This is such a great tips! thank you for sharing.

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  26. Any interest in coming to Asia?? It's even cheaper. You can get a full meal in Thailand for about $1.50. It's amazing. Great tips, by the way~~

    http://www.shelbyrobinsoncreative.com/blog/

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    Replies
    1. I'd love to visit Asia! I have yet to go anywhere over there. :]

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  27. Thank you so much for sharing these tips!!! I'll have it in mind.

    Xx
    Laura
    www.twentyteenz.com

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  28. I love love LOVE traveling! This past summer when I was exploring Athens, I would pack a lunch and then stop by a local restaurant for dinner; it worked really well and I didn't go broke haha
    I definitely need to get better at researching the country's tipping customs :)

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  29. It´s so easy to spend to much money on travels so this is a great post idea! Thanks for sharing! xo

    www.naomella.com

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  30. These are all such good tips! Whilst living in Canada, I use to forget every single time about Tax and tipping, it drove me absolutely insane! X

    Sally ~ DiagonSally

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