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How to eat cheap when you travel

Posted by mandyf on January 31, 2012

Eating cheap as you travel can be a challenge, and it does not mean eating bad food just because it is less expensive. Learning how to eat cheap while traveling is a discipline that one acquires over time by experimenting and knowing enough to know when they are overpaying. The tendency many travelers have is to not worry about paying extra when traveling because they are on vacation or they are willing to pay extra for the sake of convenience, when the reality is that they can do better by opening their eyes and looking around just a little bit.

One of the best ways to eat cheap when traveling is to do your homework before you actually travel. Since you know your travel plans, it takes very little effort to perform a quick web search of various restaurants situated convenient to where you will be staying or working if it is a business based trip. Regardless of your destination anywhere around the world, there are always reviews and local guides available that can tip you off to not only who has the best food, but who has the best prices. From that you can prepare a list of possible eateries to visit for each leg of your trip.

A second great way to find economically priced food is to ask people that you meet where you are visiting. Hotel staff members can often provide you with great insight into getting whatever kind of meal you want for any price range. better than that, they can also fill you in on what the best menu items are and when the best times to visit each eatery are so you do not have to deal with long waits or crowds. There is nothing wrong with relying on the advice of locals.

If you will be traveling by train or bus, prepare a small meal for yourself to carry along. Train car meals can be overpriced, and depending on the rest stops buses frequently hit can get expensive rather quickly – they do realize they have a captive audience. The meal you prepare need not be fancy, it just needs to travel well which means it takes up little space, does not make a mess, and preferably does not require a special carry along thermos-type container to keep it from going bad. A small step like this can save more than you would imagine as most people tend to overload on rest stop goodies.If you will be traveling by car, you can really pile up the savings because you do have the space available to prepare more food and make use of coolers without the headache of having to tote them everywhere even after they are empty.

A final way to save money on food when traveling is to take advantage of specials. If you can book a hotel that offers free continental breakfasts, that is a plus. Just bear in mind that a free breakfast is not worth overpaying for a room. Also keep your eye out for coupon books and discounts available through various agencies. Even if you do not book through an organization like AAA, if you are a member you can sometimes get discounts just for presenting your card. The same is often true for AARP members. Also watch for local coupon books that can at times be purchased online. if for instance you know you will be traveling to Austin, see if there is a coupon book you can purchase that will provide ample food discounts at places you know you are likely to eat.

The bottom line when it comes to eating on the cheap when traveling is to do your homework. See what is available beforehand and ask for some input from the people you encounter when you arrive. Most people are happy to lend a little friendly advice and it costs nothing to receive.


One Response to “How to eat cheap when you travel”

  1. sallykwitt said

    Good ideas Amanda!

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