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.