One thing that I have learned over time that enables me to save money traveling is to have snacks and meals on hand.
Don’t get me wrong, I love food. And going to new restaurants is one of my favorite parts of traveling. But when you are on a trip for a few days, it can get old quickly – and expensive. To save money traveling, I use this trick. As an added bonus, you will save tons of time with this tip so you have more time to explore the city.
Where to Go
One of the first things I like to do when I land is go to my hotel, relax, then head to the nearest grocery store, or convenience store. If you want to save even more time, you can plan ahead and see what is around your hotel and have it mapped out. The best way to find a grocery store near your hotel (especially if you are planning ahead) is to go to Yelp. Here you can type in the hotel’s address, and search “grocery store” and it will pull up the ones closest to your hotel. Then I go in and buy my food.
What to Get
I usually get a little of each of these three categories: breakfast, lunch, and snacks.
For breakfast I like things like yogurt (if you have a mini fridge) and oatmeal. Oatmeal is the one thing you can make it almost any hotel room. Since you can make it in either the microwave, or if you don’t have one in your room you can use the coffee pot! To make it even easier, you can buy the single serve bowls so you do not have to find a bowl to cook it in. Or if you want to buy packets you can use whatever coffee mugs or cups the hotel provides.
For snacks I like things like bananas, granola bars, and almonds. Something easy to grab and go. You want at least a couple of snacks that you can throw in your bag, especially when you have a full day of activities planned and don’t want to be burdened with being hungry and grumpy.
Lunch can be tough, depending on your hotel situation. If you have a refrigerator, I like to go for the pre-made salads and sandwiches. One of my favorite places to go for this kind of stuff is Trader Joe’s. They have so many pre-made options (that are healthy, too!) This is the perfect break from all of the fatty foods you have probably been eating all trip long. Just about every grocery store and convenience store has something of this sort. You can even buy what you need to make your own sandwiches.
Of course, I like to get some waters, too. Good drinking water can be hard to find in a hotel, so save your money and just buy a small pack at the grocery store. Otherwise you might end up spending a fortune throughout the trip in convenience stores, vending machines, or the hotel’s store. All options that are way more expensive than if you would have just bought a pack in the first place.
Also, if you plan to eat something that requires silverware make sure you plan for that too. Some pre-made salads might come with it. Other things won’t. You can either buy a small pack at the store, or get them from your hotel. If your hotel has a free breakfast in the morning you can get them from there. Or if you just call down to the front desk and ask, they will most likely oblige.
Saving Even More Time and Money
If you have the room for it, you can even bring food from home. If you have room in your suitcase throw some snacks in there. Of course this option limits you to only non perishable foods, but you can still bring quite a bit, and save yourself some time when you get there.
Save Money Traveling
So there you have it, my super simple tip to help you save money traveling. I cannot express enough how much this has improved my experience while traveling. Don’t let your hunger and time crunch ruin your trip. Eat in for at least one meal a day, with snacks, and go out and eat whatever you want for the rest of your meals! You will appreciate the food more if you don’t eat out every meal, plus this will save you a lot of time and money.