Travel Tips

How to Save Money on Food and Drinks and other While Travelling

Last updated 21/October/2017

Here are 11 tips from my experience, for how you can save money on food and drinks and other related activities while travelling.

Tips to save money on Food and Drinks

1. Buy water in supermarket/use sport water bottle with filter

In Europe, a small bottle of water in a touristic place or restaurant costs around 2-3 EUR for a 0,33 – 0,50 litres bottle. In the meantime, if you go to the nearest supermarket, you can get a 1,5 litres water bottle starting as cheap as 0,20 EUR. Some travellers prefer to drink tap water. If you are the person who prefers to drink tap water, I recommend you to buy a sport water bottle with a filter. There are many products available on the market, one of them is inexpensive BritaThis sport bottle filters and reduces chlorine taste and odour found in tap water as you drink.

2. Grab a pastry/fruit from your hotel

If you have breakfast included in your room rate, you can save money on food, just grab a pastry or a piece of fruit and take those with you for snacks during the day. Don’t do it noticeably to the hotel staff, though. 

3. Ask reception to prepare free lunch packet (if you are on All-Inclusive/Full board)

If you stay in a hotel with All-Inclusive/Full board catering included in your room rate, and you are going to miss a lunch, don’t forget to ask at the reception to provide you with a free lunch packet. Usually, you should notify the reception in the evening before the day when you will miss a lunch. Such service is practised almost in all hotels, disregard whether it’s 2 or 5-star hotel.

4. Book an apartment

Consider booking an apartment with own kitchen. With this option, you can cook yourself whatever you want and save money on restaurants. To book an apartment, I recommend Airbnb which is world’s largest apartments booking site. Use my Airbnb welcome link to get 25 USD off your first stay. 

5. Use supermarkets

Supermarkets nowadays offer a full variety of prepared food and coffee drinks. Usually, you will find many types of prepared sandwiches, salads and sometimes even a coffee machine in the supermarkets, and the prices are up to 2 times cheaper than you would pay in a restaurant coffee shop. If you travel to Baltics, you will be positively surprised how big is the variety of on-site prepared food in supermarkets: sushi, grilled meat and vegetables, salads. 

6. Avoid eating at airport/aircraft

In most of Europe, airport food is very expensive. Before your flight, check whether your airline offers free food on board. If a meal is not included, then check the airline website prices for the meals. Meals typically cost around 5-6 EUR for pasta/lasagne and 10-15 EUR for a full set meal (main dish, salads, drink). Since passengers are allowed to bring their own food to the airport and to the aircraft, you can make a few sandwiches while in the hotel and bring it with you to the airport. As I am a bit lazy to prepare sandwiches, I usually, take with me to the airport some 5-6 bananas and crackers (don’t take salty ones). 

Tips to save money at your destination

7. Look for free activities

There are usually a lot of free activities for the travellers in any destination. For example, some museums have free admission anytime or it’s discounted after a certain time of day. Search for the community website and look at the events calendar to see what is going on in town while you are there. In some bigger cities, you can attend a free walking tour. I have prepared a full list of free walking tours all over the world, find your city in the list and enjoy a free excursion!

8. Look for city pass cards

Depending on the city, you can get a free entry to top museums, discounts at restaurants and shops, free public transportation including hop on hop off touristic bus, free guidebooks. 

9. Stay outside a city 

On many occasions, it’s cheaper to stay away from areas with big tourist attractions. You can always commute to the attractions with public transportation and then go back to your hotel to sleep. For example, when I travel to Barcelona, I never stay in the city, but in nearby resort towns like Calella or Lloret de Mar where the prices for accommodation are almost two times cheaper. Read my case study on comparing prices for a stay in Barcelona and nearby resort  Costa Brava

10. Go offseason

Everything is cheaper in offseason: plane tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals etc. Tourism industry tries to charge the fortune during the peak season but provides very cheap prices during the offseason. Also, you will avoid large crowds of tourists and will have more pleasant time exploring the attractions. 

11. Use Public transport, Uber and Taxify

Whenever is possible, use public transport as it’s the cheapest transportation method anywhere. However, if you are a group of people, sometimes it’s cheaper to commute with a taxi, especially in the Eastern Europe, where the prices for taxi are not so expensive. For example, ride for 4 people from Riga (Latvia) airport to the city centre with the bus will cost 4,60 if the tickets are bought in the airport kiosk or 8 EUR if bought at a driver. In the same time, if you use a Taxify mobile application, a ride will cost you about 7-8 EUR. If you have never used Uber and Taxify before, I have coupons for your free first ride! (up to 5 EUR).  

Taxify free first ride coupon: GRIGORIJSKDY

To add the coupon code in Taxify app, go to Promotions and enter the promo code GRIGORIJSKDY 

Uber  free first ride coupon: ehfdii

To add the coupon code in Uber app, go to Payment – Promotions – Add promo/gift code ehfdii

So these are my tips on how to save money on food, attractions and other travel-related expenses. Do you have any other suggestions on how to save money while travelling? Add your ideas to the comments sections below. 

P.S. Some of the links in this article are referral links, meaning, at no extra cost for you, I will earn small commissions from your booking that will help to reduce the costs of running this blog.