One of the big challenges I hear often, especially from families, is that it’s extremely difficult to eat both inexpensively and in a way that doesn’t bring on indigestion while traveling. Fast food, quick-and-easy snacks, and convenience foods beckon while on the road. However, with very little effort, you can still manage to feed a family food with nutrients that does not cost you a fortune.
Step 1: Get lodging with a kitchen. This is a very important step. You can pay for a hotel with these amenities, but our family’s favorite to do this in an affordable way is to utilize airbnb.com. Here you can search a variety of homes and apartments that you can rent on your vacation for a fraction of the cost of a pricey hotel. As an added bonus, you get to live like a local of that area, which in our book, is way more fun than being with other tourists.
Step 2: Find a local grocery store. This could be a farmer’s market, a local organic food store, or even a big box store, provided they have a good selection of fresh produce, a variety of protein sources, and some snack items such as bulk nuts, dried fruits, and healthier bagged options such as kale chips or sweet potato chips.
Step 3: Share. When eating at restaurants, this is the best way to make your money stretch, while not overeating. We are all so used to thinking we need an entire meal at a restaurant, but the truth is that the portion sizes at most restaurants are way more calories than any of us need at one meal. So, have two family members share one entree, or get several appetizers and pass them around the table for all to sample.
Step 4: Exercise restraint. This does not mean that you are stuck cooking in the kitchen for every meal. Part of the fun of traveling is being able to try foods along the way. However, if you end up eating out at every single meal, your wallet will be way smaller and your waist will be way larger than when you started. Try to limit it to one meal a day at the most, and branch out to small local places rather than sticking to large chains. Some of the best food can be found at the smaller restaurants, and you will most likely pay less than if you visit the larger options. And if you are like my family, you figure you can eat at a chain restaurant anytime, but you may only have this one chance to try a locally-owned option.
These are just a few suggestions, but I think you will find that if you try one or more, you will be surprised how good you feel, both physically and financially!