A wonderful part of traveling is food. It’s certainly one of my favorite parts! And you can save money by eating like a local.

save money by eating like a local

So what do you do if you’re budget doesn’t allow for lots of fancy restaurant eating?

Save Money By Eating Like A Local

Actually, you’re in luck because we’ve found that some of the best and most authentic food doesn’t come from restaurants.

The street stalls and the grocery store can be economical places to find delicious and authentic foods. I’ve talked about street food a bit before and that was a great approach for us in Central America and Africa. In Europe though, we’ve found food stalls to be less prevalent and a bit more expensive. The markets, such as the one in Greenwich do have a lot of variety and especially some delicious ethnic food.PHOTO – London Market

But you’ll usually pay $7-$10 a plate and sometimes, most of the time we need lunch to cost a bit less. So we started to explore the grocery stores more carefully.

When staying with friends, in an Airbnb rental or Couchsurfing, we usually have access to a kitchen which really opens up the options. However, even without access to cooking facilities, the grocery store can offer quite a few meal options from ready to eat salads and sandwiches to an antipasta tray and a bottle of wine. All for a very reasonable price.

If you stick with what the locals are eating, you not only get a local experience, but usually those are the cheaper items as well.

We really enjoy seeing the variety and choices at grocery stores change as we move from country to country. Item availability and price shift based on what grows locally and what is popular, so you still get the chance to experience local cuisine at a cheaper price.

Tropical countries have all kinds of new fruits and vegetables to try (although you might need to employ the internet or a local to figure out how to select and prepare them.)

save money by eating like a local

Mexico had amazingly cheap bakeries where you could load up a tray for $2. Germany had an excellent selection of sliced meats and sausages and a half liter of high quality beer can be had for under $1. In Berlin, we spent a great evening snacking on pretzels and having a beer as we sat on a bench in a hip neighborhood and people-watched.

In France, the selection of cheeses is amazing, along with the baguettes and croissants of course. And a bottle of wine for $4.


save money by eating like a local

London has a huge culture of quick food and most stores have a case where you can pick up a salad or sandwich, a dessert and a drink for $4. They also sell single servings of things like cheese and fruit and always have silverware available as well.

save money by eating like a local

If the weather is nice picking up lunch and sitting along the Thames is a good choice. It was a bit cold while we were there so we headed to the British Museum. The museum has free entry and also happens to have a large room of tables where guests can either purchase food or eat packed lunches.

Save Money By Eating Like A Local

We’ve been trying to travel on a budget of $80 a day on this trip, so we’ve had to be creative and flexible, but we’ve always managed. And we don’t feel like we’re missing out on the cuisine of the countries we’ve visiting, we just don’t eat out in a lot of restaurants.

How do you make sure to taste the local cuisine when you travel?

The photo, “Ackees” is copyright (c) 2008 kaiton and made available under a Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 license.