7 Ways to Save Money on Food While Traveling
Now in full disclosure, I don’t always eat in while traveling. In fact, food is a huge part of culture! But food can be a key area to cut costs while traveling.
1: Bring Cheap Non-Perishable Food With You
I like to bring along Clif bars and raw nuts. If you are confused why clif bars, I my favorite RXBARs anymore due to low acid. The chocolate is off limits and it’s a bummer. But I can now have certain Clif Bars! They do contain some sugar but still work well to keep me full and feeling great. Clif bars are also cheaper. We were even able to get some cash back on Ibotta with them (RXBARS are on there frequently too) The bag of raw almonds I got are from Aldi! Some other examples are
- Jars of olives
- instant soups (just watch the ingredients!)
Note: you can bring perishable items on the plane, but it can be a bit of work to keep them in good condition. When traveling alone I do this, but with my little one(s) it’s even more to carry.
2:Drink Water Often
Okay so this isn’t rocket science, but WILL save you money. Choosing to drink water can easily save you $3+ a meal for soft drinks and $10+ for adult beverages. Now I’m not suggestion you totally forego all drinks, but alternating drinks and water isn’t just good for your body, but for your wallet.
3: No Hotel Fridge? Bring a Cooler
If your hotel doesn’t have a fridge, don’t give up on buying groceries yet! Bring a cooler. Soft sided coolers will save you some precious safe. Nearly all hotels have ice machines, so keeping your food cold is as simple as refilling the ice when needed. This takes a little more work, but if it’s money that’s tight, then it’s a good option.
4. Buy Groceries OR Have Them Delivered!
If you are super close and it’s convenient, you can buy groceries and bring them back. But if you’re like me and 1. don’t have a rental car 2. do have a baby along and 3. It’s 95 degrees and too far to walk with refrigerator items……that’s easier said than done. So I decided to order from Publix through Instacart. This store is definitely more expensive than Aldi, but it’s also cheaper than the $18 appetizers I saw in one of the resorts’ restaurants. Here a few examples of inexpensive things I ordered:
- Pre-hardboiled eggs (way more per egg, but still a cheap protein option!)
- baby carrots
Grocery Delivery Services & Coupons
- Instacart – The first delivery is FREE. I did spend a little more per item because I shopped through a nicer store, but I didn’t have https://inst.cr/t/Xxvza1MCSto get an Uber or Lyft. Also, the baby got to sleep after traveling all morning. My experience was great. I ordered my food around 3pm and it was delivered right at 7pm the same day. You can even pay for expedited delivery if you’re really hungry, but I decided to keep it free. The service works with whoever is in the area. Where I am Costco is even a listed option! Also, you can order alcohol, which can be a huge saver.
Get $20 Off Your First Instacart Order HERE. (The offer should pop up right away.)
- Amazon Fresh – Although I don’t have Prime anymore (no regrets!), if you’re near a WholeFoods Amazon Fresh is a good option for PrimeMembers. You can always start with a free trial of AmazonFresh then downgrade after your vacation (just remember to cancel so you don’t end up paying for the service!) Click here for the FREE trial. This also gets you a free trial of Amazon Prime for 30 days, so again make sure to cancel if you don’t want that forever. It’s a great short-term solution! Although Wholefoods is a priceier store, the options are still better than dining out every meal. When I said my hotel had $18 appetizers, I meant it.
5: Stay Somewhere with a Kitchen
Okay, so my first points were all based around hotels….well one great way to ensure you can save money is to rent somewhere with a kitchen. VRBO and HomeAway are great for cheaper travel. Both have the options to search for rentals with a full kitchen included.
6: Search for Inexpensive Food
Some of the best meals of my lie were in small hole-in-the-wall restaurants. The locally owned places can also be affordable. My favorite way to search is by going online and sorting by budget. I’ve used TripAdvisor for this for well over a decade. Other sites/apps like Yelp also have this option. If you turn the filter for the cheapest eats on right away, you won’t even know what you’re missing.
Order a large meal and share it with someone else. Okay, so this isn’t an option for everyone. My husband is an example of this. But if I visit with a friend and we both want to save, it can be a great option. This is especially true if you use money sharing apps like Venmo and Zelle.
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While you’re away, consider renting out YOUR space to earn income
Hi, my name is Rachel Smith. I’m a personal finance nerd, Aldi connoissuer, book lover, yoga enthusiast, and budgeting wiz. I was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska but currently call Michigan home. I want to help people with their finances and eating healthy on a tight budget (no matter what your cost-of-living area is!)