It's not difficult to save money on food while travelling if you just follow some simple rules. This way you'll be able to prolong without too much effort your travel. Food is necessary for survival and well being, so it's important to learn how to find affordable meals while travelling. And try to not skip meals, since it could damage your mood and the quality of your travel. Food is never missing from my backpack: as a precautionary measure I always have some "safety" bread and bananas with me, or chocolate just in case for any reason I'm not able to have a proper meal.
You may want to consider even changing your diet: if you are not able to switch completely to vegetarian or vegan, try reducing at least your consumption of meat. You'll make happy the environment, the animals and your wallet.
9) Avoid Restaurants
The rule number one to save money on food is to avoid as much as possible to eat out at restaurants. Only an exception is admitted: if you go to the restaurant to taste the local cuisine, as a cultural experience, and not as a part of your daily routine: this wouldn't be economically sustainable for a budget traveller.
8) If you can't resist, eat where locals are eating
If you still can't stop eating at restaurants, then try at least to follow the rule to eat where locals are eating: you have good chances to have a yummy meal and to pay a fair price. Avoid touristic restaurant like the plague!
7) Cook affordable meals by yourself
The golden rule to save money on food is to cook affordable meals by yourself. Yes but where?
If you followed our tips on how to find free accommodation, you shouldn't have many problems to have also a kitchen available. As an example, if you are using a hospitality network to sleep, your host's apartment, most probably, has a kitchen that you can use. You can buy food also for your host and cook something traditional of your country, to thank him of his hospitality. Be sure that he is going to appreciate.
The same goes if you are doing an house sitting, where you can mind your own food and cook affordable meals. And even if you decided to pay for your accommodation, most of the hostels have a guest kitchen where it's possible to cook and socialize with the other travellers.
6) Buy local products from the farmers market
Try to buy local products, better if organic: not only you'll make a favor to the environment and to your health, but also local products are usually the cheapest, because they don't have to be imported and to travel. Food at the farmers market is also very fresh and colorful, making it a good opportunity for photos and a nice break from city life.
5) Make your sandwiches at the supermarket
At lunch usually it's time to visit around with no kitchen available. Fast travel food that you can find around is usually expensive and unhealthy. A smart thing to do is to cook something at home the evening before, or to take some leftovers from the dinner to be eaten at lunch.
If not possible, resist the temptation to go to the restaurant, and just take some food from the supermarket: it's possible to prepare some tasty sandwiches at a fraction of the price you would find it packed in a bar. Also hummus, canned beans and cheese are good options to prepare affordable meals on the go.
At the supermarket you can also fill up your bag with food to be cooked at dinner and to be eaten at breakfast.
Even in the most expensive country you'll find something cheap to prepare affordable meals. As an example in Norway, vegetables are so expensive that they are sold by piece; but in the same country we were able to buy 1 kg of muesli for 1€, when in Italy it's costing 3€ and in Germany 2€. So just look around and be flexible with your choice.
4) Find an Help Exchange
There are several networks where it's possible to find an assignment for a "private volunteering". It's like a work exchange, where your get food and accommodation in exchange of some hours of work per day. Commonly you are requested to work 4-5 hours per day, 5 days a week, in exchange of food and accommodation: but it's better to ask your host in advance for clarifications, because sometimes food is not included or they ask you to work longer.
The most popular websites for help exchange are Help-X and Workaway, unfortunetely both of them are not free.
Help Exchange is a platform where it's possible to find any kind of work assignment. Even if the website is not fancy, it is constantly updated and quite clear. http://www.helpx.net/
Workaway is very similar to Help-X, with the difference that the website is looking better. Choose one or the other according to the projects that you'll find. http://www.workaway.info/
3) Attend more free events
This technique requires a little bit more planning: you have to know in advance where to go, and it may be difficult to do it while you travel. Food in fact, is often offered for free in big cities where there are plenty of events everyday: inaugurations of new shops and restaurant, art exhibitions, celebrations, political venues. All of them have as a common denominator: food. I remind of having read once of a guy that was able to eat one whole year for free at every kind of event.
If you are not ashamed, even canteen for poor people usually cook extra food, that you can take after the homeless are served.
2) Take from nature and cook with camping equipment
As a last resort if you don't have a kitchen available and you still want to save money on food, you can take with you, your cooking equipment for camping, and use it not only outdoor but even while travelling in the cities.
If you are in the nature, you may be able also to find free food offered by Mother Earth: Bear Grylls style.
1) Only for the bravest: Dumpster Diving
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