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How to Cut Food Costs while you are on a Trip

Seasoned travelers are adept at making the most of their funds while they are on holiday. There are many cost saving ideas for the less seasoned travelers, especially when it comes to food, that can be followed in order to maintain a minimal budget. These ideas are easy to follow but the travelers must be willing to rely on themselves to fulfill these cost saving missions.

Depending on where, when and how people are travelling will depend on how much they can save and what type of ideas they can employ. Say for example a group is backpacking across Europe. It is wise in these circumstance to pack nutritious snacks that are lightweight, easy to carry and will not melt. This is a way to not only keep costs down, but to keep the trip moving since the travelers most likely have distance goals in mind as well. There are many such items that are nutritious and hearty and will provide proper energy to keep them healthy. When the group does decide to stop to rest and grab a bite to eat, there are many out-of-the-way restaurants that have excellent food and do not cost as much as formal dining does. However, the group may want to decide to choose one or two more formal restaurants and splurge along the way. Another thing to keep in mind for this type of travelling is that many hostels provide communal kitchens in which to prepare food so that home-cooked, warm meals are still a possibility.

Busy street vendors give backpackers an opportunity to try local cuisine without having to stop and get cleaned up and for much less money. To be safe, make certain that the street vendor is busy as the less busy the vendor seems to be, the longer the food has sat and the more chance there is to get food poisoning or just plain dried out food. This would certainly be means to delay the trip.

If travelling as a family, the best way to keep the food budget to a minimum, anywhere in the world, is to keep eating out to a minimum. This can be tricky, but there are certainly ways around it. Initially, there are many hotels that include a complimentary breakfast bar with the room cost. Instead of going to a separate restaurant, it is wise and cost effective to eat the breakfast available. If there are fruits available, it is also cost effective to grab a piece of fruit for each family member to have as a midday snack; something easy to pack and carry and that will keep throughout the day.

There most likely is a grocery store or even a farmers’ market accessible; a shop where sandwich meats, loaves of breads, small condiments, salty snacks and bottled drinks can be obtained. Keeping in mind that many hotels contain a small refrigerator (if full, ask staff to clean out this fridge before you enter as these products are over the top expensive and will cost much more than even a restaurant does) and, many times, even a microwave, it is possible to purchase foods in bulk and store them in the room so that eating out does not even have to be an option.

In order to fill up, drink plenty of water, but only in areas that the water is safe to drink. If not, purchase bulk bottled water and don’t forget to pack a reusable bottle; preferably one with a filter. Packing powdered drink mixes like Gatorade can help hydrate the travelers and eliminate the tediousness of drinking plain old water.

If planning to save money on trips, it is wise to think ahead on other methods that can add to that cost savings. Ideas like packing your own silverware will save you from purchasing it on the road, either pack a can opener and corkscrew or purchase items with pop-tops and screw off caps, bring along baggies for left-overs and a collapsible insulated tote is good to keep things cold and is lightweight. Going to bakeries later in the day can allow the travelers to purchase goods at discount prices but the travelers should make certain that they only get enough for a short period of time so that the baked goods do not dry out, mold or go to waste.

Dinnertime is ordinarily a great time to choose to spend money on food while travelling. If out and about, travelers will be tired and this time of day is a time to relax, reflect and renew one’s spirit while sharing each person’s experiences from a fresh perspective. There are also ways to save on restaurants though as well. If there are young children in the family, certain restaurants will allow children to eat for free with the adults’ order. Adults can keep their meal cost to a minimum by selecting two or three hearty appetizers to split thus trying local cuisine without paying the price of an entire meal; appetizers can be very filling for a lesser price. If the adults think they are hungrier than just trying appetizers, have one appetizer and split the main course entrée. This allows for half the cost and no food will go to waste if there are leftovers and no way to store them.

Thinking ahead and planning out the trip in advance can also allow for restaurant planning. Some excellent tips to save is to print coupons. Official tourism websites provide coupons just like LivingSocial.com, Groupon.com and Scoutmob.com do. Restaurant.com allows discounts and also pay-in-advance opportunities; signing up for Restaurant.com newsletters will provide special promo codes to obtain the discounts. If travelling to one area, purchasing an Entertainment Book for $25 can certainly pay off due to the discounts and buy-one-get-one-free coupons that it contains. Discounts for restaurants can also be offered by organizations like AAA and AARP depending on membership (and age in the case of AARP).

Another great way to travel with a family is to rent a time-share condominium or extended-stay hotel. This gives the family bonding opportunities to cook together or perhaps even grill out. This is a chance for the family to take advantage of a more laid-back atmosphere and parents to teach the kids to cook; surprising everyone with just how enjoyable time in the kitchen can be when done as a family unit.

Whether travelling alone, with family or in a group situation, deciding whether or not to imbibe alcoholic beverages should be determined ahead of time. When people drink, they tend to get hungrier and make snap decisions on snacks; money not budgeted for. Drinking may also offer other disadvantages that could hinder the trip for a family or group of travelers.

If the decision is to drink, don’t choose top shelf liquors at restaurants. An even better idea is to purchase from the locals prior to going to a restaurant. It is much cheaper to purchase a bottle of wine for $5-$8 than to pay that same price for one glass at a restaurant. Happy hours allow cheaper drink prices and may even offer free food so you can splurge on the drinks and eat for free.

These many methods can save individuals, families and groups much money while travelling. Not only will the ideas save cash on food costs, but will allow that cash to be saved for future ventures or the travelers to purchase other items of interest other than just food and beverages. An unseasoned traveler will soon become a seasoned traveler simply because they will be able to go on trips more often. Besides, following some of these tips will allow opportunities to try more new things and experience the local cuisine and culture of a destination much more readily than spending money to eat out all of the time. Happy holiday!