How to save on food on the road
I do not like to think about my budget too much when I’m trying exotic dishes in a new country.
That was the whole point of saving, right? You saved all this time back home so that you could have an awesome experience. But if I’m staying at one place for more than a few days or I am on the go and looking just to satiate my hunger, I prefer budget options. Here’s how to save on food on the road (after you’ve done your bit of splurging, of course!).
Get in sandwich mode: I love sandwiches, wraps and rolls because they are usually both filling and cheap. I can live on sandwiches for days, especially when I am short on cash. Believe me, it is not bad at all!
Carry your snacks: I usually carry my snacks with me. Apart from cookies and cakes, the good old sattu (ground gram) is a very practical food to carry around. When on a trip, I usually have a small pack of sattu and some sugar to go with it. When hungry, it takes two minutes to get my mug out, put some sugar and sattu in it, pour in some water, mix-mix-mix and drink it. Tastes quite pleasant and it is very filling. For a slightly more elaborate meal, carry some packs of instant noodles.
Cook: Shopping at the local market and cooking simple dishes at your hostel or B&B kitchen can save you a lot of money. This might be too much work if you’re just staying for a day or two. But you sure can consider cooking when you’re around for a few more days. If you are Couchsurfing, offer to cook dinner for your hosts! They will appreciate it.
Avoid buying water: When you are in a country where everyone drinks tap water, never buy water. Carry an empty bottle and keep refilling it. Also, in a large number of countries, especially in the West, the usual practice is to buy a drink whenever you buy some food or snack. Avoid doing this. The water in your backpack serves the purpose.
Stay clear of Starbucks: Or any similar coffee chain for that matter! Spending that amount on coffee, especially when you are travelling on a budget, makes zero sense.
Eat at popular local eateries: If you do not want to cook and prefer to eat at a cheap restaurant, choose roadside places where you see a large number of people having meals. If so many people can eat there and not get sick, chances are that you will be fine too. But wait, if everyone in the crowd are locals, check out the food and decide if you want to go ahead. The food that suits the local guy may not suit you.
Cut down on the alcohol: We do like to grab a drink every now and then and that’s fine. But are you overdoing it? Alcohol can seriously cut into your budget if you are not careful.