Restaurants, Cafes & Takeaways
The most obvious choice would be to avoid the areas that are popular with tourists as these will be the most expensive. There are ways around this though and you can avoid paying high bills by looking out for special offers. Some restaurants will advertise special offers or three course deals as a way to attract customers on the premises or a board outside. Alternatively, look out in local newspapers, or if you’re in a major city, there are often free magazines with voucher deals on food offers. Similarly, searching online will unearth a selection of inexpensive or 2 for 1 deals that you can take advantage of and print out before you go.
Another way of having a great meal at a cheaper rate is to hunt down local takeaway restaurants and take it back to your room (and I’m not talking fast food outlets here!) The food you buy will be just as good as if you had a sit down dinner but for much less money. If it’s a sunny day, you could make a picnic of it in a local park!
Street Food & Markets
Eating cheaply from street vendors often puts people off in the belief that it might not be as hygienic as eating in a restaurant or cafe. This is very rare however, and food from the street can be not only the cheapest, but also the tastiest. If you do have concerns, head to a stall that looks popular with the locals – this will be a good sign that the food you’re buying is quality and great value for money.
Markets are great places for eating cheaply and the more local the market, the cheaper the food. The popularity of local farmers’ markets offers wealth of top notch quality food – both to buy a lunchtime snack or to buy fruit and other munchies for when you’re on the move. If you're staying somewhere with kitchen facilities, markets are a great place to source your ingredients to cook back at your accommodation. Buying fresh fish or meat from a market can help you create a mouth-watering dinner, and depending on which country you’re in, try asking for a local recipe you can follow and you’ll probably manage to purchase all the ingredients fresh at the market.
Many bars and diners will have a happy hour advertised so you can take advantage of their special offers and treat yourself to a cocktail or two! Whilst wondering around, take note of which bars offer a happy hour and go back at the appropriate time or day. Some restaurants will also offer a free glass of wine with your meal and if not, make sure your order the house wine, frequently served in carafes for a cheaper alternative. If you like to have a tipple in your hotel room, go to a supermarket and buy a bottle to have later at your leisure.
We all like to splash out on a lovely meal whist on holiday but you can balance out your budget by having some dinners in local areas rather than the tourist hotspots. Going to a local cafe for lunch will save you a small fortune and the food can be just as great. Likewise, try local bakeries for fresh food and snacks on the go. Talk to local people about their favourite eateries or do your research on internet sites to find out where local people are eating – you can find little gems for high quality, cheap food that won’t cost you a fortune.
The ways you can eat cheaply on holiday can vary hugely depending on the country you’re visiting – tapas in Spain, pub deals in London, street food in India – the list is endless! But it doesn’t have to be expensive or unhealthy, and eating out is such a huge part of people’s culture so get involved and grab yourself a tasty snack without it eating into your holiday’s budget.