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One of the easiest things to bust your budget on while traveling is food. It’s hard not to think “well I’m only here once, I might as well!” and then blow $100 on eating breakfast at the cafe in your B&B every morning. This was especially difficult for Jacob and I on our honeymoon in Costa Rica where the food was absolutely to die for. Anyway, here are some tips to help you stay out of the hole when it comes to food while traveling.
1. Make a treat budget for the duration of your trip
Its really tempting to think that you won’t spend a dime eating out or getting snacks when you’re on vacation. However, most people, when they’re honest with themselves, will realize that they occasionally splurge and grab fast food or a donut at a special local joint when the moment feels right.
Before you trick yourself into thinking you’ll spend less on a trip than you probably will, go ahead and budget money into your trip for those special occasions. It doesn’t have to be more than $10-$20 a person, but giving yourself that option won’t make you feel guilty when you break protocol.
2. Rent places that have kitchens (and/or free breakfasts)
Whether its an AirBnB or a hotel room, make sure they have access to a kitchen or at least a microwave! This will enable you to be able to cook your meals back at the room and save tons. If you have the ability to eat on vacation like you do at home then you’re spending about the same amount there as you would normally and therefore making your overall trip cheaper by not having to set aside a special food budget (with the exception of some treats here or there).
3. Bring pre-cooked food with you
By pre-cooking meals at home and bringing them along in a cooler you are not only saving money by not eating out, but you’re also saving time on your trip by not having to leave the cool place you’re at to try and find somewhere you can get food. This may seem like a silly thing, but Jacob and I use this egg container on almost every trip we take. It’s a million times better than having a soggy cardboard box filled with crushed eggs in your cooler.
4. Get your snacks before the start of the trip
You can order snacks in bulk on Amazon, find coupons, or simply hit up your cheapest local grocery store, but the most important thing is to load up before the start of your trip. The more convenient, the more expensive. If you load up on cheap snacks before your trip, you won’t have to stop at that gas station in the middle of nowhere and pay $10 for a pack of jerky down the road.
5. Lastly, download the apps for all the chain restaurants you can think of
Apps for places like Moe’s and Chickfila have deals almost weekly where they give out free appetizers, BOGO deals, or discounted food. If you download these apps and check them regularly you might luck out and nab yourself a free or cheap snack while you’re on the road.