6 Simple Tips to Save Money and Time on Travel Meals

When you’re travelling abroad it’s so tempting to eat out for every single meal, whether it’s coffee and cake for breakfast at a cute cafe, lunch at the local eating hot-spot, or a delicious dinner looking out to the sunset (with a glass of vino of course). I definitely relate to this dilemma and know how hard it can be to avoid popping into every delicious restaurant or cafe in sight!

When you’re at home it’s different because you know you’ll always get another chance, but on holiday it’s hard to miss out on all enticing places to eat because you never know when you’ll next be back. What I suggest is a compromise: eating out for some of your meals, choose breakfast, lunch or dinner out, each day of your holiday, but then all the other meals cook at the accommodation you are staying at. Ultimately the goal here is to be able to save you money so you can enjoy even more amazing holidays!

Here are 6 simple tips to save you money and time on travel meals:

1. Stay somewhere that offers self-catering kitchens

This may seem obvious, but the first step is choosing accommodation that offers a self-catering option. This means you will have a kitchen where you will be able to cook your own food, rather than having to go out and spend a lot on extra eating out. Otherwise, the most you can expect from many standards hotels is a kettle and maybe a mini-fridge. 

Luckily many of the options listed on different holiday accommodation booking websites such as Airbnb have kitchens, so be sure to take a look at all the different amazing options listed around the world. It might not be the same as the kitchen you are used to back home, but it will be sure to have all the equipment you need to rustle up some great meals. In many of the places that you can find to stay there will also be wonderful balconies or relaxing terraces where you can enjoy your culinary creation!

Grape vine shade.

2. Try to plan what you’re going to eat before food shopping

This tactic also goes for when you are food shopping back at home but applies even more so on holiday. The best way to avoid impulse buys and things you don’t really need, like that tempting bar of chocolate or tasty looking pack of cookies, is to plan what you are going to eat for the next couple of days or even your whole trip. This is especially true when you are on holiday as you will probably come across a variety of interesting products in different languages.

If you don’t have a plan, before you know it you’ll be walking out the shop with bags of goodies and nothing to make a proper meal. So before heading out food shopping, have a list of what to buy for your breakfasts, lunches and dinners, and whatever you do, don’t go shopping when you’re hungry! This will save you money on not buying unnecessary items and time on not wandering aimlessly around the shop. 

3. Don’t forget the basics

There are basic items that are essential if you want to be able to cook delicious meals when you are at your holiday destination. These include salt, pepper and olive oil and should preferably be purchased on your first food shop after arrival. Often you will you be able to find a smaller, local independent food store close to the accommodation you are staying at, especially if you are staying in an urban area. Here you can find many of the food items you need for either the same or often less than bigger supermarkets.

You will be able to support a local business, plus avoid many of the temptations that you would find in a larger supermarket which have many deals and offers designed to make you spend as much as possible, often on things you weren't even shopping for.

4. Buy locally produced items

While this is certainly not always the case, very often the food products that are produced within the country you are staying will be cheaper than buying foreign imports. This, of course, is because there have not been importing costs added onto the final price. So while it can be tempting to buy products that you used to back home such as baked beans for British travellers, you will often find that these are at a premium cost as opposed to what you would normally pay. 

Instead, it is much more cost-effective to stick to products that the locals eat themselves. These will not be seen as novelty items by the food shop or supermarket, so the costs will be much cheaper.

5. Plan to make simple and tasty staple meals

As you are on holiday, you don’t want to be spending all your time cooking, of course, so plan to make simple and tasty meals. This will keep the costs down and the time you need to spend in the kitchen. 

In the mornings' cereal or toast is a great option, as these are filling, cheap and easy to find and prepare. For lunches, you could prepare sandwiches or baguettes which also have the added benefit that you can wrap these up and take with you to eat while you exploring the local area, or lounging at the beach. Add to this some items of fruit, a bag of nuts and a bottle of water and you have an easy, healthy lunch. 

For dinner, you could cook a delicious pasta dish with a salad to share, or other meals that are quick and yummy like rice and vegetables. All of these take minimal time to prepare, can be relatively tasty, will fill you up and save you money.

6. Don’t waste your leftovers 

Ideally, in the self-catering accommodation that you are staying in, there will be Tupperware where you can store any food you don’t finish to eat the next day. If not you can always head out to buy something to wrap over the dishes to keep things fresh in the fridge such as salads. Alternatively, you could bring your own containers with you on your holiday for some extra forward planning.

Food waste is a massive problem across most developed countries in the world, so by cutting this out on your holiday this is good for both your holiday budget and the environment. It will also mean again that you can save time as well. If there is something you didn’t finish for dinner the night before such as pasta or rice, you could eat this the next day for lunch. If it’s in a Tupperware container you can take it out with you for a picnic on the beach. 

Hopefully, these simple tips have given you some great ideas on how to save money and time on holiday cooking. If you have any other suggestions, let me know via my social media channels, and if you enjoyed this post and think it could benefit your friends and family then please share it. Enjoy your next trip!

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For more superb holiday money-saving tips I recommend checking out this excellent website: Great Deals Made Easy


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