Food and travel are as intertwined as James and his Giant Peach. Whether you’re chowing down on scrumptious sushi in Japan or gobbling goulash in Budapest (were you Hungary? Sorry) sampling the culinary offerings of the country you’re visiting as as important – in my opinion – to your cultural experience as visiting twelve cathedrals. Yes, twelve whole cathedrals!
However, if you’ve already stumped up for your flights and accomodation (which if you used dealchecker, shouldn’t have set you back too much!) stretching to five-courses can be a pain in the pocket. Here are a few ways you can cut costs on food without compromising on deliciousness.
You’ll find ‘street food’ in most places around the world, but especially Asia. They generally consist of little food stalls where food is cooked openly, and most of the time, the fare on offer is absolutely delicious. The best Pad Thai I’ve ever had came from a street stall in Thailand, and many others say the same! It can cost as little as 60p to eat at these places – which in our world of £3.50 Pret e Manger sandwiches seems wonderfully ridiculous – and eating at them is a great way to integrate yourself into the culinary and cultural fabric of your destination!
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Obviously, if I had my way, I’d dine at michelin starred establishments every night of the week, but most of the time that’s sadly just not possible. Finding good buffets in a city can be a great way of eating for less; they offer great value for money, since they are all-you-can-eat, and you can (try to) fill up for the rest of the day! Don’t expect Gordon Ramsey-esque fare – it’s a buffet after all – but do expect to leave with a loosened belt.
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Here’s a fact: non-local food will ALWAYS be more expensive than local food. We get it; after ten nights of eating nothing but meze platters in Greece you might just fancy a big plate of meaty Italian pasta. Eat like the locals do and your purse will thank you. For example, in Cambodia a bowl of noodles and broth is under £1, but a big American hamburger? About four times as much. You do the maths!
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…And stay local
It’s a point we want to drill home, because it’s obvious, yet so many people find themselves paying through the nose for a meal in an overpriced restaurant, just because it was recommended by the hotel. Keep an eye out; where are the locals going? Ask around – the majority of locals in any area will be happy to guide you towards the best food in town. Come down from your ivory tower/hotel, explore the area, ask around and it won’t be long before you’re buried in a pile of delicious food for less than the price of a chocolate bar back home.
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Many restaurants offer lunch specials where items on the dinner menu are offered at a huge discount. You can get a delicious afternoon meal for a fraction of the cost you’d pay for the same meal in the evening. It’s certainly worth having an explore to find what cheap deals you can find!
Cards like the iAmsterdam card or the VisitOslo undoubtably save you money on transport and fun things to do, but they also offer some incredible discounts at many restaurants. Discounts start at around 15-25%!
Whilst we really believe in these tips, the only way to really save money on your holiday is to book cheaply in the first place Like the sound of any of the destinations we’ve mentioned? Find cheap flights to Greece with our flights tool, or a holiday in Italy!
Top image by Michael.Camirelli