It seems travel is in the veins of young people these days as more and more articles on reasons to travel the world and how to do it cheap keep cropping up. As someone who enjoys travel and isn’t exactly aiming for the luxury experience (I’m a student) – but also loves food – here are my five tips on eating abroad on a budget. Note: these tips are primarily aimed at travelling in and around Europe as I’ve yet to explore outside of it.
1. Step away from the city centre
Often in big cities, alongside the Coliseum or the Notre Dame, are rows and rows of outdoor restaurants, cafes and ‘foodie promoters’ trying to lure you in. Let’s just say spending €10 on a stunningly average pizza in the centre of Lisbon is up there in my travel regrets. First off the food in these places is good at best but never worth the ridiculous city centre prices. It’s a cliché but if you want really good, cheap food going local is a must. A tiny pizzeria just fifteen minutes from the Trevi Fountain could have the best pizza in Italy tucked away inside. I had some of the best paninis at the Moon Café in Milan that happened to be next to my hotel but you would never stumble across on an ordinary day of sightseeing. Websites like Trip Advisor can be great for finding the best of the best in local cuisine at prices far better than any tourist trap.
Countries such as Spain and Italy have a strong tapas culture and it is worth making the most of it wherever you are. Bars and cafes will often have plates of bruschetta, chorizo, olives etc. laden and all you have to do is buy a drink and take your pick. When out exploring Madrid at night we came across several real tapas bars where we’d each hand in €2 for a beer and then watch as plate after plate of meats, cheese and bread came out for us.
3. Breakfast included?
Finding a hotel or maybe even a hostel with breakfast included can be a great, free start to your day. Load up on bread, meat and cereal and if you’re feeling sneaky smuggle some back to your room. A hearty breakfast is the best start to a long day of travel and sights.
4. Eat in
As much as trying out local cuisine is a must when travelling the world, you wouldn’t eat out every night at home so why do it abroad? Sandwiches are a staple diet for backpackers – head to the shop and buy some bread, meat or cheese and snacks. You can eat at your hostel or pack lunches and save yourself a ton of cash. Plus, sometimes eating lunch overlooking a crystal blue bay or in a sunny, lush park beats heading into a café.
5. Don’t snub McDonald’s
“Why would I eat a cheeseburger when I can eat that at home?” As much as veering away from fast-food joints like McDonald’s is ideal sometimes paying €1 for a burger is the way to go. A lot of McDonald’s in Europe also have a McCafe, which includes a few more local treats like macaroons in Paris. McDonald’s also has WiFi, making it the perfect spot to grab a cheap bite while uploading some of your holiday photos. Though the food and possibly price is better outside of the city centre, when you’re feet are aching and you’d kill for some fries just give in to that yellow M.
By Emily Rowe