Travel Blunders to Avoid: Eating Out Every Meal

Posted on October 7, 2011


When you travel, money seems to go fast: especially when you spend it on coffees and pastries for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, and a big dinner in a restaurant in the evening. Many student travelers get frustrated by the amount of money they spend on food, and by the poor quality of the food they find themselves eating. Travel meals don’t have to take such an enormous bite out of your travel budget.

How to Avoid this Travel Blunder:

Eating out every meal.

Don’t get us wrong, we love gastronomical tourism, and think it’s important to sample the food and drink of places you travel to. It’s only normal to want to eat out at new restaurants, observe an important aspect of another culture, and not have to cook for yourself. But the costs from eating out for every meal during your travels can add up pretty quickly, and can prevent you from participating in other activities that you might have wanted to experience. Here is how to avoid this mistake.

Book a hostel that serves meals. A lot of hostels offer breakfast included, or have cheap lunch and dinner options. On you can look up the kind of breakfast offered. If your hostel doesn’t serve meals, a it may have a community kitchen, so you and your fellow backpackers can split the cost of ingredients and cook for yourselves.

Pack a picnic lunch. Even if you don’t eat at restaurants, you can still eat for cheap somewhere with a view and the chance for people-watching. Pick up wine, cheese, bread and sandwich meat from a market, and pack a picnic lunch. You can enjoy your meal in the middle of a park in Amsterdam, at the foot of the Eifel Tower, or even on a Gondola in Italy — for much cheaper than you would at a tourist-ridden restaurant.

Steer clear from tourist traps. It is completely fine to eat out a few times during your travels. Keep in mind that when you do eat out, avoid places in the center of a square or busy area.  These places will be extremely over-priced, and may honestly not be as good as you had hoped.  Go to a local dive or a mom and pop restaurant away from a city’s center. These are the restaurants that will give you a real cultural experience, have high-quality ingredients, and will definitely be the cheapest.

Pack snacks. Whether it be food from home to eat at the airport or mid-day snack, the money you save from even little snack breaks adds up! Buy yourself a bag of apples or nuts, and carry something with you to save money and avoid the travel “hanger” (that’s hunger + anger = hanger!).


Do you have any advice for eating while traveling abroad? Let us know your gastro-tourism stories and tips in the comments below!

Posted in: FOOD, TIPS