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How can we afford to travel non stop?  


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.

Local dish in an italian InnLocal dish in an italian Inn9) 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!Local restaurant in IndiaLocal restaurant in India

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.Eating a yummy meal while couchsurfingEating a yummy meal while couchsurfing

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

Farmers market in RomaniaFarmers market in RomaniaAt 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/

Sikh people use to offer food to pilgrimsSikh people use to offer food to pilgrims3) 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.

Cooking while camping in HungaryCooking while camping in Hungary2) 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

Food recovered from the dumpster. Credit: Romuald BokejFood recovered from the dumpster. Credit: Romuald BokejThe ultimate resourse to save money on travel food (but even when not travelling) is dumpster diving. Also called skipping, it is an international movement fighting against food waste and reclaiming the food thrown in the dumpster. It's like recycling food from the garbage, but it's not as gross as it sounds. In fact food is usually taken from the dumpsters of the supermarkets in perfect conditions and often still packed. There are several reason why the food is thrown: most often because the expiring date is getting close, or the package is broken, or sometimes simply because the supermarket received a new load of goods and they have too many unsold items. It's an easy way to prepare free travel meals. Other easy places to find good food is in front of bakeries and pizzerias, where it's thrown daily, and you can even ask directly to the owner. There is also a wiki page with tips about the techniques and the places where to go and look for good food. http://trashwiki.org

If you' ve found this guide useful, consider donating us one day of travel, food or whatever you feel like, so that we can keep giving you good tips for free. Good karma for you!

You can read the other guides to become a professional gypsy traveller in the travel tips section.

Davide VadalàDavide Vadalà
In 2009 I quit my job to chase my dream of exploring our planet in a sustainable way and I haven't stopped yet. I love nature, sustainability, travel photography, handicrafts and hiking, and I never stop dreaming. More about Davide Vadala'.

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 Where are we now: Spain, Italy

 Going to:  New Horizons

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Davide and Oti

We are Davide and Otilia, two friends with itchy feet, living a non conventional life traveling around the world and learning everyday something new....
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