We all know how expensive traveling to Europe is. The cost of plane tickets, gas, and lodging seems to be getting more and more expensive. Also, all this does not account for the fun activities you plan to indulge in once you arrive. And even further, you will have the large expense of paying for all of your food you plan on eating during your vacation.
Without a doubt, food is costly, especially if you plan to enjoy local dishes throughout your trip. However, unknown to many travelers, there are so many alternatives for saving money on food, which many people tend to overlook. You might be used to eating a certain way at home, but it can be expensive to maintain that lifestyle while you are abroad.
So, what are the tips and tricks to avoid spending your whole travel budget on food? Continue reading to learn more about eating cheaply in Europe. With these tips, you can save money for another activity!
Consider Eating A Heavy Lunch
In most European countries, dinner prices are usually much higher compared to lunch. To do this, dine at places that sell large portions of filling food. In those cases, if you eat a heavy lunch, you might not be bothered to eat dinner. Alternatively, you can eat a light snack for dinner, which is way cheaper.
Eat From Prix Fixe Menus
Some restaurants offer two or three-course meals for a set price. If you are in Europe, take advantage of these offers. To maintain health, you might consider skipping dessert for one or two days and only get a two-course meal. On rare occasions, maybe once or twice, you can eat dessert-your waistline and wallet will thank you.
Be Cautious Eating Out
You might consider eating out and if you do so, avoid going to touristy places. Try not to go to the restaurants right in the city center, main squares, or next to main attractions. These restaurants will likely have higher prices as tourists naturally dine at them frequently. Instead, walk a few blocks away from these areas and find a nice, local cafe to dine in.
Go Where Locals Eat
As a pro tip, never ask locals where you can go for a special evening; this is not a good idea if you are on a budget. Instead, tell them that all you want is good, fresh food at a low cost. Remember, you will never find any of these places in any guide book as such, ask your taxi driver, housekeeper or that shop attendant for recommendations. Be clear about what you want and you will get the right recommendations.
Consider Eating Street Food
We all know that eating street food, especially from food trucks, is a great way to eat well and save some money. There are a lot of options such as lampredotto porchetta, pizza, crepes, plus other local cuisines that you might consider giving a try. This is a fun way to try new foods as well!
Have you ever been to Italy and ordered any house wines? France also has some of the best in house wines. In most cases, they are usually far better than any bottled wine on the market. Plus, they are cheaper. Also, consider drinking tap water instead of bottled water. This is because tap water in Europe is usually safe to drink and will not cost you as much as bottled water.
Take Advantage Of Free Breakfast
When considering the best accommodation, look for places that offer breakfast every day. There are so many hotels that provide breakfast, but if you are not going for a hotel, consider an apartment or Airbnb with breakfast offers. If you take heavy breakfast and lunch, you might as well skip dinner. Likewise, if you eat your breakfast late, you can skip lunch and eat dinner, thus saving some extra dollars.
Go To Food Courts
You will find food courts everywhere you go. Some will be cheaper than others depending on location and the kind of food you order. If you order KFC, be ready to pay like an international visitor. However, you can choose local cuisines and they come at a lower price. Furthermore, small stalls usually sell food at a low cost, and if you check them out towards the close of business, you might be lucky and get food at a discounted price.
Supermarkets usually have cheap and delicious ready-made food. Alternatively, buy ingredients and prepare something simple at home. For instance, instead of that subway sandwich for $12, buy bread in the supermarket, along with ham, tomatoes, and lettuce. You could put together 10 sandwiches for the same cost.
If you are living in a hostel or apartment that has a kitchen, you can cook simple meals for yourself. For something as small as hot water and a packet of noodles, you will be able to put together a meal. Also, check out the bakery section in the supermarket. You might get delicious bites at a bargain price.
As a pro tip, if you want to shop in a supermarket, consider going to smaller supermarkets as opposed to bigger, already established ones. You will always find the same products, just in different packaging and at a lower price.
If you are considering staying with couch surfing, you will be lucky since most of the hosts are more than willing to feed you for free. However, do not just expect this, as you might end up being disappointed. Rather, be grateful for whatever you are offered. However, if you approach them with the idea of taking advantage of them, you might have the worst experience on your vacation.
Going on vacation, especially in Europe, does not mean spending every last penny. There are several ways you can have fun while on budget. You have to make a conscious decision with your money and stick to it. Eating on a budget in Europe does not just happen, you plan and practice to see the fruits of your efforts. Consider what might work you and if possible, implement all these tips; your wallet will thank you.