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When travelling, wouldn’t you rather spend your cash on sightseeing and alcohol? I would too, but spending money on food is an unfortunate necessity.

In trying to stretch every penny, it can be easy to lapse into unsatisfactory habits of always opting for the golden arches of maccas, or that dirty £2 kebab.

But it doesn’t have to be like that! Using the tips below, you can ensure eating never becomes a financial burden, and actually indulge in the local cuisine, without breaking the bank.

DIY

Be brave and do it yourself! The best possible way to cut costs, and actually eat well, is to be self-sufficient. Book accommodation that has at least a kitchenette and whip up some epic meals yourself. It isn’t hard to eat as the locals do. Part of the fun is walking around a foreign supermarket and scoping out all the different and exciting delicacies they have to offer. Even better, get to the local markets. What an experience it is to be yelled at by a big, fat, Greek fishmonger and walk away with a dinner’s worth of fresh fish, for the price of a cheese burger.

Also, cooking for yourself (usually) means leftovers. Take advantage and use those for tomorrow’s lunch. Doesn’t dinner always taste better the next day anyway?

Don’t be a Tourist

Oh, there’s a main town square with loads of umbrellas and dining furniture outside? Stay away from it! This might be a pretty obvious one, but it needs to be stressed - avoid the touristy spots like the plague. You can usually spot these a mile away; there are often hundreds of tables, big sandwich boards screaming “Tourist Menu” and patrons that have clearly just stepped off of a cruise ship.

Thanks to review and compare sites like TripAdvisor, it is difficult to find that gem of a restaurant that no other traveller has ever visited before. But, simply by going for a walk off the beaten track, you can eat where the locals eat and for cheap. Just stay away from those umbrellas.

Social Media is the Ideal Travelling Partner

Twitter - whether you love it or hate it - will become your new best travelling buddy. Along with other social media platforms, most restaurants and bars use Twitter to shout about their deals, discounts and daily specials. Get online, hashtag the heck out of the area you are in, and find those cheap eats.

Look for the Freebies and Discounts

Everyone loves free stuff. Free food? Even better. The best chance of scoring some is to look for accommodation with breakfast included. Often hostels chuck on a bit of cereal with toast and spreads, or if you’re lucky, a cheap hotel can often put on a proper breakfast buffet.

Also, in Europe loads of places will have a buddy-up “stay here and eat there” system going on with a local restaurant. Look for those if you want up to 20% discounts and free drinks. 

Legit Street Food (before it became “hip”)

For cheap, local cuisine, you can’t go wrong with street food. And I’m not talking about the overpriced, gourmet burger joints you find along London’s Southbank. Look for street vendors selling £1.50 gyros in Greece or £3 paella in Spain. While these establishments aren’t going to win a Michelin Star anytime soon, they serve legitimately tasty food, and for the price, you can’t complain.

Our jobs as globetrotters is to immerse ourselves in the world’s different cultures - in Europe, the societal backbones are usually food orientated. There are ways to keep costs down, so budget accordingly and indulge!


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How to eat on a backpacker's budget around Europe
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