There have been times when I have been the starving, traveling Gator. Though I create a budget prior to my travels I always seem to overspend in one area or another. I never have been one to say that eating out is too luxurious for the student traveler but, you just have to be smart. There are definite ways to cut down your spending while still eating the local fair.
Let’s say you are in Paris. Of course you are going to go out and buy their world renowned croissants and coq au vin, but do you need to do that every night? No. This is one of my top rules when traveling; there is no need to eat out at a different restaurant each day or night.
There is a sure fire way to end your starvation as a traveling gator, you just have to follow some simple guidelines.
If I am traveling in groups it is very easy to go grocery shopping once you get to your destination and pick up some simple supplies in order to drop the cost of your food on the road and through each city. I tend to grab a box of cereal, bread for toast and sandwiches and some granola bars. Pick up some fruit from one of the local markets and you have a solid collection of snacks so that you don’t need to buy huge meals everywhere you go.
Maybe splurge on a big brunch somewhere a few times and some nice wine with dinner kind of meals, but as a traveling college student I know better than to think I can afford doing that every day.
Like we have to do sometimes during our finals at college we restrict our diets. The Ramen noodle diet seems to be one of the go to options. When I am traveling I need more energy and protein than Ramen can offer me. When I was backpacking in Europe with my best friend we decided to go on a Clif Bar diet. We would eat at least one Clif Bar a day (it provides plenty of protein and energy to keep you from being a Debby downer and a total pain) that we brought from home and then we have a bigger dinner at a restaurant later that day.
Sharing meals with a group is also a good idea. Buy two entrees and share between three people and split the price. You know that you tend to leave leftovers anyway so why not cut the waste?
Also, before leaving for your destination check Groupon or Living Social deals and you might just happen upon meal deals at popular local restaurants.
Look up popular dining options in the desired city and pick out the must eats and save your money
If you know any friends or family that live in the area hit them up and maybe suggest a dinner party at their place, you bring the wine and they treat you to some locally cooked food for cheap. Best deal: being treated and spending time with friends.
It is really easy to overspend on food when traveling so I have become pretty stingy. I am not starving, but I am mindful. Keep your eye out for deals and you can avoid coming home with an empty wallet.