10 Best Ways to Eat Cheap While Traveling in 2023

Eating is one thing that most people love and when you are traveling in a different country eating out is more pleasure as well as expensive also. The budget travelers are always looking for ways to cut their costs whenever possible, but that doesn’t mean we won’t try Sushi in Japan, Butter Chicken in India, or Fries in Belgium.

In fact, going with the local foods is a part of the travel experience that most of the traveler believes. So, here I am going to share with you 10 easy tips on how to eat cheap while traveling.

eat cheap while traveling



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1. Eat Local Food:

Eating from a roadside food stall or local market is the best way to save money on food while traveling. In most of the tourist attractions, there are several small food stalls beside the road and from here you can eat cheap and tasty food for a few dollars.

Some travelers tend to avoid local street foods for hygienic purpose but personally I did not face any issue with local foods. Specially I enjoyed the street foods in Bangkok during my budget solo Thailand trip. It will not only save your money on food but also give you an opportunity to experience the food culture of a new country.

Local cheap food stall in bangkok
Local Food Stall in Bangkok

2. Book Accommodation with Kitchen:

I always try to book budget accommodation (Hostel, Guesthouse or Airbnb) with the kitchen. It will be way cheaper if you cook your own food in your accommodation kitchen. Buy some ready to cook food from local markets or supermarkets and make your cheap meal easily.

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The best part is you will meet people from different countries with different tastes in foods. Sometimes if you are lucky enough then you will find some unused foods from the ‘free food section’ that people leave back in the hostel kitchen. Believe me, cooking in the hostel is really fun which you should try.

Hostel Kitchen
Hostel Kitchen

3. Avoid Restaurants in Touristy Area and Ask the Locals:

Most restaurants you will find in the touristy area are at a higher price than usual. Avoid those restaurants ask the locals where they like to eat.

You can find small restaurants walking distance away from the main tourist spot with the same food for half of the price. You can taste here more authentic food.

4. Look for Free Breakfast and Skip Lunch:

I always try to book hotels or hostels which offer free breakfast. I usually eat a lot at breakfast and keep myself well stuffed. Thus I can skip my lunch and save a good amount of money. If you need to eat even after a heavy breakfast then you can take some dry foods like a biscuit, cookies, peanut, sweet bread, chocolate etc.

P.S: Sometimes I steal some extra pieces of bread, biscuits or cheese from the free breakfast area when no one is looking which I can eat while on the go. Though I won’t recommend it to anyone. 😛
Free Breakfast in Hostel
Free Breakfast in Hostel
Tips: Some hotels or hostels offer free breakfast increasing their fees. Avoid those hotels/hostels and do well research before booking your budget accommodation.

5. Bring Some Food from Home:

I always carry some ‘ready to eat’ food and dry foods like biscuits, chocolates, peanuts packet, noodles, dry soup mixes etc. which are lightweight also. This helped me a lot in my 8 days budget Switzerland travel to save my money as food in Switzerland is very expensive.

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This strategy will also save you from expensive airport food during your long wait at the airport.

Please Note: You need to be well aware of the food procedure at customs as some countries don’t allow to bring food.

6. Carry a Water Bottle:

Never forget to carry a reusable water bottle if you are a budget backpacker. Buying packaged drinking water will increase your travel budget. It is a good practice to top up your reusable bottle with water from the tap of your hotel or hostel. It can save you $2-3/day which is not bad for a long trip.

If you are an avid traveler or planning to travel to developing countries, consider buying a water filter bottle. Check out the top 10 water filters for travel if you’re not sure which one to purchase.

Reusable Water Bottles
Reusable Water Bottles

7. Visit Grocery Store:

No need to be worried if you cannot bring some snacks or dry food from home. Whenever you are in a major city you can find a supermarket or convenience stores. This is the best option to buy some snacks that are really cheap.

You can buy the necessary ingredients if you have a kitchen in your hostel. If it’s not, then buy some prepared meals like sandwich, pizza, noodles etc. which are much cheaper than any restaurant.

How to eat cheap while traveling
Grocery store

8. Less Drink, Less Meat:

Try to avoid drink and meat as much as possible while traveling as both are pretty expensive in foreign countries. Moreover if by any chance you are not in control while drinking you might end up your trip with fatal consequences.

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I am not saying to enjoy your trip with only veggies but try to skip one nonveg meal every day that ultimately saves your budget on your long trip.

9. Use Discounts or Coupons:

Some restaurants and grocery stores often offer discounts if you are a student, teacher or senior citizen. Always keep your eyes open to avail of those discounts. Don’t be shy to ask the restaurant manager if there is any discount. I got several discounts on the total bill just by asking if there is any discount for travelers which most of the travelers hesitate to do.

You can also use some coupon websites like ‘Groupon’ that offers restaurant deals. You can save a good amount of money by using this kind of coupon. You can also try some free travel apps like OpenRice, Zomato etc to get cheap food on your doos steps.

10 Best Ways to Eat Cheap While Traveling in 2023

10. Share Your Meals:

It is not a problem when you traveling with family or friends or in a group. But when you are traveling solo try to make some travel friends and share your meal with them. It will not only reduce the cost but also you will get a chance to get close with other travelers from different countries.

Eating on a low budget doesn’t mean that you won’t enjoy your food. You can keep both your belly and pocket full by using these 10 amazing tips on how to eat cheap while traveling.

Let me know if you also have some money-saving tricks on food.

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Happy traveling… 🙂

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  1. Great tips! I agree with street food. It took me a few trips, but eventually, when I got comfortable with the idea of “street” food, I realized what I was missing out on – in price and flavors!

  2. Great tips, thank you. You can spend a fortune on food when travelling, so this is great advice!

  3. Food is part of the reason why I travel and I wouldn’t be able to skip local restaurants. I agree though that street food is amazing, especially in countries from South East Asia, where is very cheap as well. Cutting off drinking and spending those money on a nice meal in a local restaurant works as well to stay in your budget.

    1. Thank you Joana for your comment. In south east Asian countries local street foods are really cheap that save a lot of money on food.

  4. Simon Starchevsky says:

    Excellent advice for beginner and expert travelers – you can always stand to save a little money to pay for your next adventure. I will never forget the Shanghai street food, so happy we didn’t listen to our tour guide’s warnings.


    Great tips. Thanks for sharing this can really help on my next trip

  6. Wonderful tips! I usually travel reasonable as I just eat one meal in a restaurant and then eat another one in the hotel room. On the last trip, I just want to eat cheap but healthy meals because I was just traveling a lot.

    1. Yup Aissami , if one can survive with one meal that will save a lot of money during traveling.

  7. These are some great tips. I love being able to enjoy new food on a budget.

  8. When I go on travel I’ve always eaten on the street foods because for me it’s a part of adventure aside from cheap prizes you can taste their local foods love your tips it helpful a lot:)

  9. Serena Rogers says:

    Haha I like the “steal bit of breakfast for lunch” asking the locals is also a good tip. Thanks for sharing!

  10. When we travel we always try to eat local or cook for ourselves! Great tips

  11. Great article and great tips. Food can be a huge expense while traveling so this is super useful advice.

  12. I always use free breakfast to fill myself up and then skip lunch. Also I look for places where the locals eat. The food is cheap and healthy.

  13. I love to travel and part of it is spending for food. I make sure, I research on what food to eat and I prefer local foods so I can try it as well.

  14. Jessica A says:

    I love all of these ideas, but I thought it was always hard bringing food from another country in the airport

  15. Elizabeth O says:

    I think carrying a water bottle everytime is wise. It ‘s so expensive to buy bottled all the time and its very essential that we hydrate when travelling.

  16. thisisjohnnyy19 says:

    These are nice ideas and great tips to be keep in mind while travelling. This is a good help, thank you so much for this!

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