I wrote an article about European travel on how to Get to Europe – 22% Off , you might have read it. I know a lot of people put off travel overseas because they think it is too expensive. I learned a few tricks the last time I went to Europe that can cut your travel expense by 25% or more.
When you are planning your budget, most people say that a major expense when traveling is food and a place to stay. Let's take a look at how to cut your food expense. Here are a couple of ideas that might help you save some money - euros, pounds, Swiss Francs or whatever currency you are spending.
When you are booking your hotel, look for the words full or half pension. What this means is that meals are included in the rate. Half pension will mean that you get breakfast and full pension means you will get breakfast and dinner. This one tip will really add up to save money for a trip of 7 or 10 days.
You can also send e-mail before you book and ask about breakfast or dinner being included in the rates. If meals are not quoted as part of the lodging fee, see if the room has a small ice box or refrigerator in the room. I brought instant oatmeal (just add hot water) along with fruit, energy bars and cheese to store in the fridge. Cheese will keep fairly well as long as it is kept cool.
If you are traveling from the states you will most likely arrive at your destination in the morning and having a some instant oatmeal with an apple was just the thing I needed for a quick energy boost.
Ask the front desk about the location of the nearest food mart close to your hotel. Different countries have different snacks and it is interesting to go the the food mart to see what the locals eat.
This should cover breakfast. But what about lunch? When I planned my trip, I set aside so many days of nice (expensive) lunches and even nicer (even more expensive) dinners. I knew in advance where and when I would be living high, but I did not do it every day. Our trip was 13 days. We had a nicer dinner the first night. And had another "nicer" dinner about every three nights. On the middle day, between "nicer" dinners we had a "nice" lunch. So it wasn't like we were not enjoying ourselves. We just didn't splurge all the time, but were conservative - just like we would be if we were still in the states.
A "nice" lunch will cost approx US $45 - 22 euros or 11 euros each. It always sounds better when you look at the euro price, until you convert the money to US dollars. Plan on at least twice that or more for a nicer dinner.
When we were in München the first day, we checked out the bakeries, the delis and the pastry shops. Just being inside the pastry shop seeing and smelling everything, I felt the pounds going to my waistline. These shops cater to the locals and the prices are not what most tourists pay by going to a sit down restaurant. The bread!! - When you walk into the bakery all you can smell is fresh bread and rolls. I wish I could have brought that smell home in a spray can.
The only thing we needed was a knife to cut the bread since we naturally didn't pack one. But we found one that we cut the bread and used to smooth the butter with. Don't forget when you are at the food mart to check out packaged goods for lunch. Also, some delis have hot meals to go, so check those too.
If you purchase a hot meal at a deli, look for plastic ware like knife, fork and spoon. We found some places charged 1 euro for these and others gave them away for free.
We found that the best places had lines to get in, so we knew the food was going to be good. Also most places had menus posted outside so you could get a look at the prices before waiting in line and sitting down and finding out the place was one of those "nicer" places.
You don't have to spend a lot of money for food on your trip. Just pretend you are back home and get your breakfast, lunch and dinner at the grocery and you'll be money ahead.
If you find something, let me know, O.K.?
Until next time, let me know what is on your mind, and how you are doing, O.K.? You can send me your questions or comments on my bio page. My next article will be out shortly.
Jim Fortune - the BellaOnline Budget Travel Guy