When you’re planning a trip, chances are you’ve put it off one too many times when your estimated expense reached a certain point.
Sure, websites will tell you approximately how much you can expect to spend each day in your destination, and those numbers might not be appealing to your wallet.
And it’s not like you can just skip dinner…so how do I suggest you cut food expenses out of your travel budget?
Simple. Use these hacks I’m about to give you, and shave up to $1,000 off your grand total.
Food is such a large part of our daily life, sometimes the price next to it slips right by without considering how much that meal sets us back.
When you’re traveling, that can be even more of a problem.
That’s especially true if you’re not familiar with the restaurants, or if you’re in a high tourist traffic area that’ll hit you with marked-up prices.
But how can you enjoy your vacation without splurging on the local food and delicacies?
As someone who lives for her sweet tooth, I’d happily skip a steakhouse dinner in exchange for a homegrown chocolate shop or bakery.
For a lot of people, dining is a big part of traveling, and often times seen as an opportunity to broaden your horizons and treat yourself to something nice.
But if you’re in a destination, especially common tourist attractions, you could be spending $1,000 or more just on food for a few days on vacation.
When I was researching our trip to Las Vegas, I found a very helpful resource by doing a quick Google search for “Average daily cost of [Las Vegas],” or enter your destination.
More often than not, you can find someone who has done the calculations for you as to how much you can expect to spend on transportation, food, and attractions in a certain area.
While all of this information is useful, knowing how much you will likely spend on food doesn’t help you save money.
For example, the information I found said the average price for one person to visit the Las Vegas strip is $250 per day. Of that, $65 is dedicated solely towards food.
If you’re traveling for, let’s say, 7 days with two people, you’ve just allocated $910 for meals.
That’s not including a flight, rental car, hotel stay, or any sight-seeing activities.
And now this is where you say you don’t believe me when I tell you can in fact travel on a budget.
After all, I’m the one who just told you that you’d drop a grand on food.
But there’s a right way and a wrong way to buy food when traveling.
And chances are, the ‘average’ traveler has been doing it the wrong way.
First, you needn’t forget that unless you’re going somewhere very far away or exotic, you can take advantage of grocery stores.
A box of pasta and sauce can cost less than $10 for a meal that feeds 4; a plate of pasta at a restaurant that feeds 1 person can be up to $30.
When you’re at home, you don’t go out to extravagant restaurants for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Take advantage of kitchenettes in suites if you have them, and microwaves for leftover food and snacks.
You don’t have to pay full-price for everything that passes your lips.
It’s possible to have a simple breakfast and lunch from the grocery store and afford to go out to dinner. There’s a balance you have to find here.
You also should consider redefining what you consider fine dining.
If you’re like me, you’d be unhappy paying upwards of $40 per plate if the meal is smaller than a dinner roll.
Fine dining is often misconstrued to mean ‘satisfying.’ Just because a restaurant has a prestigious aura, it could just be a means of overcharging you.
Keep your senses alert, and don’t spend more than you’re comfortable.
My last piece of advice t is if you don’t want to forego the fancy restaurant experience on your trip, consider visiting during lunch hours instead of dinner.
The menu is often changed between meal times, and lunch prices are usually a bit lower. You also can beat the dinner rush should you wish to steer clear of unwieldy wait times.
There are tons of other ways to reduce how much you spend unnecessarily while traveling.
The important thing to remember is no matter the amount of your budget, there’s always way to make the trip you’re dreaming about a reality.