Tips to Save Money on Meals While Traveling

23 Jun

Hello Everyone, Chris neighbors here and I just got back from a wonderful vacation in Ireland. Ireland was great, but the trip really made me realize how expensive food is when you aren’t at home. Generally I’ve always been the type of person that eats out a lot when I’m on vacation. I didn’t take me long to realize that food is a HUGE travel expense, and that I needed to come up with ways to keep that expense to a minimum. Here is a list of 3 tactics I chose to use to save money on food while traveling:

The first on is easy enough. I packed a lunch. I’ve always viewed eating out while on vacation as a form of entertainment. I never wanted to cook because that wasn’t fun. There always seemed to be something exciting about trying a new restaurant, but in order to save money I needed to change my mindset. There is nothing wrong with a packed lunch. While we were in Ireland we bought a couple of hot teas in a café one day, and while we were there we decided that we might as well eat our packed lunch. Shortly after starting, we noticed a table of older women staring at us. They then began to chit chat about how embarrassing it must be to bring your own lunch somewhere.  We kind of thought it was funny, but I still don’t understand why bringing a lunch is something to be ashamed of. I know that if you don’t have a refrigerator or ice chest it can be difficult to pack lunches. My suggestion would be to either buy a cheap Styrofoam ice chest, use an ice bucket from the hotel room, or don’t buy food that needs to be kept cold (peanut butter and jelly sandwiches)!

My second tip for saving money on food while traveling is to use a hotel with a free breakfast. A free meal is huge bonus! The few times we had to eat out in Ireland I felt like I lost a piece of myself knowing we spent around 40-50 Euros per meal (4 people). The best part about a hotel that provides a breakfast is that you can take extra stuff for a free lunch! I know a lot of people might think this looks tacky, but I personally don’t see a problem with it. Those breakfast buffets usually offer bread, cheese, and meat. Why not make a sandwich for latter. Heck, maybe you can even grab some fruit or yogurt. Then you would only have to worry about dinner!

My third tip for saving money on food while traveling is to consider getting a hotel room with a kitchen. It is generally more expensive, but the money you save on food could outweigh the costs. Some things to consider are: How many people are with you and will you actually cook. It might be more beneficial for 4 or 5 mouths to have a kitchen rather than one, and if you won’t actually use it then it’s a waste of money.

My last tip for saving money on food while traveling is to bring snacks with you. If you don’t get a free breakfast from your hotel (or if you aren’t staying in a hotel) bring some packets of oatmeal. Most places will have hot water available to prepare them. You should also bring things like power bars. They will keep you full and could easily substitute a meal if you get the right kind. Not to mention all these things a relatively small so they should be easy to travel with. I know that the snacks we brought to Ireland saved me money many times.

The main thing to keep in mind with all these tips is that you have to be willing to sacrifice the joy some of us might get from eating out to save money. If you’re willing to make that choice your bank account will stay that much fuller.


Posted by on June 23, 2012 in Uncategorized


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10 responses to “Tips to Save Money on Meals While Traveling

  1. Canadianbudgetbinder

    June 24, 2012 at 6:37 AM

    Hey Chris!
    What a great post I love it! You know when I travelled to many countries each year when I lived in the UK we did something similar. I would pack a lunch like you mention and bring snacks and drinks but I would also eat out where the locals were. Nevermind all the fancy restaurants when you are on vacation. Those are the places they want you to eat at to make money. Take it down a notch and hang out with the locals, and they will entertain you and tell you the best places to get some grub for cheap that is delicious. Cheers Mate! Mr.CBB

    • Chris Neighbors

      June 24, 2012 at 10:12 AM

      I noticed that travelers have a huge advantage if they get to know the locals! They can give the best advice. Who else knows their area better than them? That being said, at least in Europe, even the local spots can be expensive!

      • Canadianbudgetbinder

        June 24, 2012 at 10:15 AM

        I remember when I was in Nepal I was hanging with the locals and the food was dirt cheap and so good. I agree some spots can get pricey but if you ask around they have mom and pop type shops sometimes hidden away. What was your favourite meal in Ireland?

      • Chris Neighbors

        June 24, 2012 at 10:25 AM

        Honestly we ate in mostly. the few times we ate out I had burgers from Irish Cattle and it was good!

      • Canadianbudgetbinder

        June 24, 2012 at 10:36 AM

        Ha ha… burgers, you’re so funny! I’ve never actually been to Ireland.. I guess it was so similar to UK I didn’t bother. I would like to go back to Nepal or Iceland one day.

      • Chris Neighbors

        June 24, 2012 at 11:03 AM

        My girlfriends has been to the UK for a summer and Ireland. She said that there is a lot more to see in Ireland. Things like castles and beautiful scenery. Iceland would be amazing!

      • Canadianbudgetbinder

        June 24, 2012 at 11:12 AM

        Uk is one big castle lol… took the wife to Warwick Castle and she loved it. Maybe one day we will make it to Ireland. We are heading to UK next year for a few weeks. We will do some travelling around while we are there. Can’t wait .. I need a break.. and some proper yogurt and cheese…. lol

      • Chris Neighbors

        June 25, 2012 at 7:37 PM

        LOL the cheese in Ireland was good!

  2. Cory Yaker

    July 24, 2012 at 9:12 PM

    There are so many travel tips that you can get on the internet but i think the best site that you can get travel tips is TripAdvisor..’`*.

    With appreciation“>


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