Editor’s Note: While we all wish we had unlimited funding for culinary creations whilst traveling, here at NileGuide we are constantly searching for new and creative ways to conserve our hard earned travel dollars. We asked Gabi Moskowitz of BrokeAss Gourmet to share a few thoughts on how to save money while still partaking in local fare.
As the co-founder and manager of BrokeAss Gourmet, I provide readers with gourmet recipes that never cost more than $20. I believe that good eating is an important element of an enjoyable life and it shouldn’t be expensive—a sentiment I always carry with me on my travels. Some of the best food I’ve had has been in tiny storefronts in faraway destinations—fish tacos on the side of the road in Mexico, pain a beurre in Paris, falafel in Israel…none of it ever costing very much. The key to traveling as a BrokeAss gourmand is simple: a little research and planning.
Stock up before you leave home. Head to Trader Joe’s or a wholesale store like Costco and pick up an array of healthy snacks to keep with you during the day. Treats like trail mix, beef jerky and dried fruit will keep you satiated as you sight-see (and they’ll keep you from ordering room service when you get the late-night munchies). Carry reusable water bottles with you and keep them full to stave off dehydration and avoid the need for expensive sodas or juices (most cafes or fast food restaurants will let you refill water bottles for free).
Discover the local hidden gems. Use NileGuide to find the best inexpensive, off-the-beaten path restaurants. Investigate the BYOB policies of restaurants nearby. Often restaurants that don’t serve alcohol will allow you to bring your own wine or beer for a minimal (if any) corkage fee. This makes an evening of great food and drinks all that much more financially attainable.
Master the picnic. Pick up a couple baguettes, a few cheeses, sliced meats and some fresh fruit. Add in the snacks you so wisely brought with you from home and a bottle of wine or a 6-pack of beer and you have all the makings of a delicious, indulgent picnic. Choose a nice spot with a view or at least great people-watching.
Do your research. Wherever you go, there is good cheap and sometimes even free food to be found. Use NileGuide to scope out art galleries that have free wine and cheese, bars that offer happy hours with free snacks or interesting cooking classes that include dinner. The more you can combine activities with food, the more fun stuff you will be able to pack into your vacation and save money on dining.
When you get home, eat at home. It can be hard when you return from a trip to go back to eating at home, when you’ve been enjoying having your meals prepared for you, but it’s the best way I know of to counteract vacation-related overspending and/or overeating. Cooking is a great way to center yourself and get your finances and eating habits back on track as you reorient to life in the real world. Whenever I return from a trip, I like to recreate meals I had while away. It’s a wonderful way to retain a connection to the experiences of my vacation while reestablishing myself in my life at home.
Have any other yummy budget tips? Leave ’em in the comments!
All photos courtesy of the BrokeAss Gourmet