Ultimate Guide: How To Save Money On Food While Traveling

May 15

Spending money on eating out during your trip can quickly add up, but instead of giving you lame advice like most travel bloggers who will undoubtedly tell you to pass on the avocado toast, we're here to tell you that you can have your cake and eat it too!

Or to quote Marie Antionette, "Let them eat cake!"

Honestly, you'll be surprised to find just how much you can actually save on food.

And no we're not saying to eat EVERY meal at home or buy $2 hot dogs and look longingly at all the amazing food other people are eating like a peasant!

The truth is: you don't need to spend an arm and a leg to travel in style and today we're going to share all our money saving secrets with you!

Today's article is all about saving money food while you're traveling and it is part of the Ballin On A Budget Series in which we give you all our money saving strategies so you can travel more while spending less! So if you haven't see the other articles in this series, be sure to check those out!

To make this even easier, we've created a free Travel Hacking Checklist with all our tips and tricks in one convenient pdf just for you! So be sure to grab it here! 

Ok now let's dive right in!

Quick & Dirty Navigation


One great way to save some money on food is to look for all-inclusive bundles -- whether that's a hotel that comes with food included (or even just a breakfast buffet) or booking a tour on Viator that also comes with dinner or lunch (sometimes both)!

For example, when we were in Venice we booked a gondola ride that also came with a 4 course dinner that had wine included!  The dinner was at a cute little local restaurant that had seating outside in a mini courtyard.

It was magical and for literally the same price as a typical gondola ride costs! 

Eat Outside of Tourist Areas

Hate to break it to you, but the cold hard truth about restaurants located in high tourist areas is that they are literally banking on the idea that you're going to go there just because it's most convenient. 

Don't fall prey to their tricks Turkey Crew!

Because those restaurants cater to tourists, they have less quality food and higher prices. Beat them at their own game and just walk 2 blocks away from there to grab a higher quality meal for a significantly cheaper price.

During our first night in Venice, we were staying at an Airbnb in a residential neighborhood right along the edge of the city next to the ocean -- away from the tourist center of the city. While looking for a place to eat dinner, we stumbled upon this very quaint local restaurant called Ostaria Ale Do’ Marie where we literally had the most AMAZING Italian food we ever had! 

And guess what, our meal plus wine came out to only 12€ (approx. $14.78) versus the 18€ (approx. $22.18) that other restaurants were charging in the tourist areas! 

Pro Tip

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    If you're staying at an Airbnb, ask your host for great local spots. They're usually more than happy to let you in on the secret local gems!

Eating In

Ok ok we know what you're thinking, "You turkeys just said that I wouldn't have to make all my food just to save money!"

Hold up, just hear us out ok.

We're not saying to make ALL your meals and pack a bagged lunch everywhere you go. We're just saying to start getting a little creative with how you spend money on food by selecting one or two meals a day that you can make at home -- breakfast is an easy one!

Again, Airbnb’s are perfect for this because most of the time you'll have access to a kitchen, whereas in hotels you definitely won't.

Like we said before, we love the local experience and what better way to get that than going to local grocery markets to pick up fresh meat, produce, or a couple pastries for WAY cheaper than you'll get at the cafés!

Sometimes, in really expensive countries like France, Iceland, or Amsterdam we decided to make breakfast and dinner at home and eat out for lunch --because typically the lunch menu is cheaper than the dinner one -- which saved us a ton of money!

Road Food

When we were on a road trips (like we did in Iceland, France, and Italy) or planning on taking the train/bus for the majority of the day, we saved money by picking up what we call "road food" -- which is essentially sandwiches, chips and other quick snacks (aka tons of gummie bears) -- rather than getting expensive meals at pit stop restaurants.

Because of this, in Iceland we only spent $39 per person on food for 3 days versus the $270 we each could have spent had we eaten out for every meal! 

Can you believe that a fish and chips plus a coke = $30 in Iceland?!?!

Again, don't fall prey to their tricks Turkey Crew! Tricks are for kids!

Fun Fact

Icelandic people are OBSESSED with Coca Cola!! The grocery stores couldn't stock their shelves fast enough! 

Ok Turkeys, we hope you liked these tips and we can't wait to hear how you put them to the test and saved money on your own trips! Let us know in the comments below!

And if you have any of your own strategies that we didn't list here, let us know too! We would LOVE to hear about it!

Also, be sure to download your free copy of our Travel Hacking Checklist that has all of our money saving tips for hotels, flights, food, and more included in one convenient pdf!

Next time we'll be deep diving into how to save money the biggest trip expense: Flights!

Till net time Turkey Crew! Peace Out!

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