Cultural Experience | Resources

Budget Hacks for Eating Abroad

 One of the most memorable parts of traveling is indulging in delicious local cuisine. Here’s how to eat your way around the world while still sticking to your student-travel budget.

Know When to Splurge 

One of the easiest ways of saving big on food is getting creative with each meal. Breakfast is versatile in that it can include on-the-go protein bars, a quick coffee, and pastry at a cafe, or homemade eggs and fresh squeezed orange juice from the local store (these are all but a few euros each). For lunch, it’s helpful to find cafes or restaurants with cheaper deals and specials. Spain has the perfect tapas bar, 100 Montaditos, that offers 1 euro tapas on certain days of the week. Dinner is nice to splurge on, however, it really is more about the company. Grab a group of friends, hit up the local grocery store where everyone can buy the necessary ingredients, and make a cheap, home-cooked meal. There are always parks and open areas to have an outside potluck!

– Kristin Naujok, Texas A&M

Eat a Big Lunch 

 Since a trip is incomplete without trying out the local cuisine, eat out at restaurants and cafes during lunch instead of dinner.  The prices of mains during lunch are much more inexpensive. For dinner, opt for street food or head to the local grocery store.

-Angela Serednicki, Ryerson University 

Look out for Deals 

To get a great deal, be aware of the signs on the street showing these magnificent deals. In London, there are tons of restaurants that serve multiple courses for one solid price. That could be an easy way to know what the cost of things is like at the restaurant and to gauge if you should go in or not. Just stay aware in any city and looking for coupons is always a good option!

-Paige Wagner, Susquehanna Univeristy

Cafeteria style places let you get a lot of food for cheap since it usually goes by weight and things are made in bulk. And a good Turkish döner is always cheap and filling for those in Germany or any place close because they’re everywhere. Morning bakery bread is also filling and can be less than $1

— Sammy McIsaac, University of Massachusetts

Many bars abroad, especially small local ones, have happy hour deals. The deals can apply to both food or drinks depending on the day and the time. Find the best time to go and get half off, BOGO, or special discounts!
– Meagan Hughes, Perdue university

Share Your Food With Friends
One option for saving money while eating out abroad is to split meals. The extra money you saved could even be used for a treat later on in the day. Additionally, oftentimes hotels and hostels offer free breakfasts. Take advantage of these opportunities because it will save a good amount of money that can be spent on other fun excursions or special occasions.
– Elizabeth Tzagournis, Ohio State University

When you eat out, portions are usually twice the size of a regular serving. To help get your money worth and to avoid overeating, try setting aside half to eat later. Also, be sure to compare any happy hour deals, lunch deals, etc. to the original price of the meal. While it may appear to be a good deal, it may actually be cheaper to buy off the regular menu. Last but not least, if eating in a large group, try going family style. Have everyone buy an appetizer & entree to share amongst the table.

-Alyssa San Agustin, Cal State, San Marcos

Head to the Market 

One of my favorite ways to save money while still having a wonderful meal is to grab a bite to eat at a local food market. Many of the large European cities have daily markets while smaller towns are more likely to have them on a weekly basis. If you’re spending an extended period of time somewhere, get to know the local markets and find out where you can purchase the best and cheapest produce, meat, cheese and bread. If you’re only passing through, local markets can make for great places to stock up on snacks for a picnic or to try a taste of the local cuisine.
-Veronica White, University of East Anglia

It’s nice to go out to eat, but save those expensive restaurants for special occasions. You save a ton of money by cooking for yourself. If you’re abroad for a semester (or longer) look into getting a card at your local grocery store. For example, in Florance, the local chain is Conrad. The Conrad card works just like store cards do at home in the US- you get discounts on marked brands for many of the essential items you regularly purchase. If you’re hopping from city to city, many hostels have kitchen areas where you can store and cook food, too!
– Sarah Allen, Perdue University

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Angela Serednicki

Ryerson University | 11 stories

Angela Serednicki is a writer living in Toronto, Canada.

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