Food is one of the most expensive items you can pay for over the course of your vacation. When you are experiencing a new city or country, you may be tempted to try every specialty food item to immerse yourself in the atmosphere. While this is an essential part of your vacation experience, you do not need to spend an excess of money to achieve this goal. There are a few tips you can follow to stick within a food budget of $30 per day for the length of your vacation.
Adhering to a food budget is easier when you know the food options available to you in any given area. You can choose to buy something small for breakfast, so you can splurge on a larger meal for dinner. Regardless of how you choose to stagger your $30 a day budget, you can eat affordably on any vacation you have planned by following the advice below.
Research Restaurant Options Before Your Trip
One of the easiest ways to keep the cost of food down during your trip, whether you are traveling abroad or within the United States, is to research the restaurant options in advance. Checking to see what restaurants are available near your hotel or your sightseeing destinations can help you gain an idea of how much each place charges for a meal. For example, you may find a nice restaurant by your hotel offering authentic Italian pizza for only a few dollars per slice. Knowing this before your trip can help you create a schedule of places to eat during your vacation. In doing so, you can plan out roughly how much you anticipate spending on each meal and alter your schedule accordingly to keep within your $30 a day budget.
If you find a nearby restaurant where you would like to have dinner, but you know they have steep prices for the food they offer, you can choose to eat at this restaurant one or two nights during your trip. Plan to have the free breakfast provided by your hotel in the morning and a quick, inexpensive lunch to ensure you have the money you need to afford a nicer dinner without busting your food budget.
Pack Your Own Snacks to Cut Down on Cravings
Snacking on your vacation can cost more than you think. You may believe you are sticking to your budget by purchasing snacks throughout the day for a few dollars, but these small purchases add up quickly. When you are traveling, it is best to save the bulk of your food budget for meals, as meals energize you better and help you to stay full longer. By spending most of your money on snacks, you are cutting into your ability to eat well and try new things while you are visiting a new destination. To avoid overspending on snacks, opt for packing your own snacks before you leave for vacation.
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Choose a variety of snacks you can eat throughout your trip to ensure you are cutting down on your cravings before they appear. By selecting items such as cookies, nuts, granola bars and crackers, you are giving yourself an assortment of snacks to choose from while you are exploring a new city. When you can reach into your bag for different snacks throughout the day, you are providing yourself with energy while sticking to your $30 a day budget. Having snacks on hand can additionally help you avoid the prospect of spending money on room service if you grow hungry once you return to your hotel room. By packing your own snacks before your trip, you ensure you always have access to food when you are feeling hungry. The snacks you purchase at home may only cost you a few dollars and you can budget for this influx of items when you are determining how much money you need for your vacation expenses.
Choose a Hotel Room with A Kitchenette
When you are traveling, you may be tempted to spend more on takeout than you would when at home. You do not want to deprive yourself of the experience of trying new cuisine, but purchasing three meals every day can quickly become costly, especially on a longer vacation. To stick to your $30 a day budget more easily, consider choosing a hotel room equipped with a kitchen or kitchenette. This feature can prove invaluable during your vacation, as it opens the possibility of creating your own meals every day. Typically, when you spend $30 on groceries, you are acquiring much more food than you would if you were buying $30 worth of restaurant food. To really maximize your vacation food budget, you can shop at any of the local grocery stores near your hotel and buy an array of items you can cook throughout the week.
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When you shop for food at a grocery store in a different country, you gain a better perspective on what the lifestyle is like for residents in this part of the world. You can try a wide variety of items by opting to make your own meals, as your budget stretches further and allows you to buy different things. You can speak with someone who works at the grocery store or at a local farmer’s market and ask him or her what ingredients he or she suggests. In doing so, you are immersing yourself in the culture while giving yourself the opportunity to find new foods to prepare when you return to your hotel room. You can choose to prepare as many or as few meals as you would like with your kitchenette, depending on how much you enjoy cooking. You may choose to only prepare dinner at the hotel simply because this tends to be the most expensive meal of the day. You can create a separate grocery budget, so you can still spend up to $30 for breakfast and lunch if need be.
If you want to cook your own groceries, keep in mind your activities during the day. Many visitors purchase groceries only to end up being too tired to cook. Another risk is getting hungry outside of your hotel and not wanting to return to cook, so you end up eating out instead. Not only are you spending more money on food, but you have the additional cost of wasted groceries.
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By Alfred Wickham –