When it comes to traveling, sometimes sacrifices have to be made. You’re on a budget, right? This will often mean not eating quite as frivolously as you’d like to, or skipping on a few of those expensive day trips.
If you’re anything like me, you’d prefer to save a little on the food you’re eating and use that money to go exploring.
After all, food in Europe can get pricey. No one particularly wants to waste money eating out all the time – they just don’t have the right solutions to change their holiday habits.
I know what you’re thinking, and no, skipping meals doesn’t mean starving yourself. It’s simply all about eating at better intervals and having handy tricks that can help.
Here are my tips for switching up your food schedule to make for an all-around better traveling experience.
Give fasting a try
Fasting has multiple, all-round health benefits. You don’t have to fast all day and there are many different styles that you can try out to suit your lifestyle.
My favorite is the 16-8 fast. It may seem daunting to think about not eating for 16 hours, however when you realize that you’re asleep for around half of those, and another four hours are after you’ve had a heavy dinner, it appears to be much easier.
I stop eating around 8pm then fast through to around 12pm the following day.
This not only helps with keeping my weight down, but it also balances out my blood sugar levels to keep me energized throughout the day/ It also saves me money that I would have otherwise spent on breakfast.
Yes, you’ll end up eating a larger lunch and dinner, but it’s much better for your wallet to eat two larger courses than three normal meals.
Bear in mind that I am not a dietician and you should speak to a doctor before embarking on your own fasting schedule.
Drink plenty of water
We all know the diet culture saying that if you feel hungry, drink some water. Despite the stigma surrounding this phrase, it is quite true that your body could be tricking you into thinking you’re hungry when in fact, you’re simply dehydrated.
Drinking a glass of water before and after meals can also help to suppress the appetite.
When traveling it may be difficult to come across water fountains, and I don’t like one-use-only plastic water bottles.
This is why I purchased a Kool8 water bottle. This stylish, high-quality bottle is perfect for keeping your water cool even in the hottest countries in Europe. It means I stay hydrated all day long and feel less hungry.
The bottles were even mentioned by Cool Things Chicago in their list of best water bottles for hiking in 2019 for their great capacity and ability to keep your beverages as cold as ice.
Buy snacks in bulk
A handy breakfast bar or two never go amiss in my traveling backpack. I like to buy these bars in bulk to keep them cheap and they always last.
If you’re looking to order online, I love XCore’s Pro Snacks. These bars have 27 grams of protein to keep you fuller for longer, and they’re really tasty.
The bars come in three different flavors which you can alternate to make sure you never get bored.
I find that one of these a day makes for a great, time-efficient meal replacement that will also help with muscle recovery from all those adventures!
Take advantage of free food
I don’t even have to be told to do this one, and I’m sure you don’t either! If you’re staying in a hotel which offers free breakfast, have it!
However, make sure to be clever about it. Don’t go straight in for the breakfast muffins or cereals- choose to have a well balanced, hearty first meal of the day to keep you going for longer (and you can always slip a breakfast muffin into your pocket on the way out!)
Similarly, if you’re on a tour or even in the supermarket and free food is being offered, don’t feel cheeky by going for it. After all, it’s saving you money to do all the sight-seeing you want to.
Eat like the locals
Rule number one for eating when traveling is to always eat as the locals do. Try not to reach out for the brands you’re more familiar with, as it’s likely these will be pricier and not taste as good as what you expect them to.
Eat the food the local restaurants specialize in.
It’s guaranteed to be not only tastier but cheaper too. Don’t be afraid to ask around for suggestions and check out a few places during the day before deciding where to go in the evening.
Stay in accommodation with a kitchen
Even if you’re staying in hostels, try to find somewhere that at least has a kettle and a microwave.
This way if you’re only feeling a little snack, you can throw together some cheap instant noodles rather than having to head to a pricey food store or the nearest cafe.
You’ll be able to easily find budget supermarkets and plan ahead with your food shop to avoid sky-high bills and unnecessary restaurant meals.
It’s great if you don’t really feel like going out either – sometimes an instant meal and some comfy clothes is all you need after a long day of traveling!
Look for discounts
Websites such as Groupon and Wowcher are great for finding food deals in Europe.
It simply means that even if you have no other choice than to go out for a meal, you can at least get it a little cheaper.
If you’re in education, many student cards often extend to international trips which will allow you to get your handy discount wherever you are.
Don’t be afraid to ask if stores and restaurants offer a discount – if you don’t ask, you’ll never know.