Tips to Save Money on Food While you Travel

If you’re on a long backpacking trip then naturally eating 3 times a day will take its toll on your bank balance. My initial solution to this was simply not to eat 3 times a day. However soon excessive weight loss and pain-inducing hunger let me know that’s not always a sustainable solution. So I learned some pretty obvious ways to save money on food. Just keep them in mind.

save money on food
save money on food

Ignore the Lonely Planet, Youtube and Instagram

I would go as far as to say that the day a restaurant gets featured in the LP is the day that it stops being a local eatery. t is now going to frequented by hordes of backpackers. Expect price hikes, portion shrinkage and a general reduction in quality and price. So as a rule, don’t eat where the LP suggests.

Leave your western cravings for the west!

Of course, there are days when you can’t stomach that curry for breakfast. And now and again we all need to indulge in a footlong from Subway (meatless marinara please). As long as you remember that these are special occasions and not a daily occurrence you’ll be fine.

When I meet people who are spending upwards of $50 per day on their trip they are invariably eating cheeseburgers and pizzas frequently. Keep it local and it will keep it cheap. And besides, you can eat cheeseburgers to your heart’s content when you get home. How many other opportunities are you going to get to eat deep-fried scorpion?!

Also, try to spend time in the cheapest countries to visit too!

Hit up the local markets

These places are guaranteed to be stocking endless amounts of delicious local food. And they very very rarely charge you a foreigner price. Most likely you’ll have to point, smile, play charades and still have no idea what you’re ordering. But that’s a fun experience in itself. And yes, you may have to sit on a splintered wooden bench and eat with your hands but that’s all part of the fun. And for a fraction of the price too.


If you’re travelling in North America, Europe, Australia, Japan etc then supermarkets are a gift from God. It’s expensive to eat out every day in these countries so get yourself down to the local supermarket (preferably at the end of the day when stuff is getting reduced). Stock up for breakfast/lunch the next day. You can pick up bread rolls, cheese, drinks for a fraction of the price of a local restaurant. Even cheaper if you go in a group, bulk buy and cook for each other.

Don’t be averse to becoming a veggie

Red meat is delicious, but awful ethically and for your health. End of story. True, but you’ll see as you travel around the world meat is also expensive. And generally pretty poor quality. So if you have the mental strength to turn your back on the meat world every now and again then you’re food will be cheaper, better quality and less likely to have you hugging the toilet bowl for a couple of days (especially true in India). And leave you grateful for having that digital nomad health insurance! Click here to make sure you have the best insurance ($10 a week!).

I hope these tips to save money on food helps keep some of those precious notes intact in your wallet. Travelling is one constant expense (mind you, it’s worth every penny) so it’s important to cut corners when we can. Hopefully, this will cut a few for you!

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