Staying at five-star resorts and hotels is a great way to travel, but you will quickly discover that the cost of “eating out” away from home stacks up on a day-to-day basis. So how can you enjoy the many culinary delights of your destination without it breaking the bank? One great way to savour and experience the local food scene is to shop at grocery stores or in produce markets. Many stores will have deli counters selling all manner of cold meats, cheeses and salads, cooked chickens, also fresh bread, canned and jarred goodies, packets of dry crackers, ditto for some markets. And if your accommodation features tea and coffee making facilities including an electric kettle, you can also consider adding dried noodles or rice pots to your shopping list. A key thing to remember if you are planning to go down this path, however, is get hold of simple utensils to use, such as paper or plastic plates, plastic cutlery and at least one knife for cutting meat or items such as tomatoes – or bring them with you in your luggage. Also remember to add a bottle opener to your packing list, including a corkscrew, or plan on buying wine with a screw-off top. And if you’re really serious about self-catering, consider packing a cool bag and a picnic kit which will have wine glasses and all the basic utensils you’ll need.
Restaurant meals are a wonderful way to savour the local food scene, with new places to eat being part of the fun of travelling. If you’re staying at a hotel, ask bartenders, wait staff or baristas where they personally like to eat, or do some research at home before you and draw up a hit list of affordable places where locals go and which are well rated. At your destination, look out for lunch or early bird dinner specials as you sightsee or explore, along with fixed menus offers, all-you-can eat buffets, or offers where kids eat free if you’re travelling as a family. Another option, depending on where you’re travelling to, is to buy meal deal coupons from sites such as Scoopon or Living Social, making sure they are valid for the time you’re travelling there, and remembering to book them before you leave home to avoid missing out. And if you are travelling to a country where it isn’t safe to drink tap water, don’t take risks and buy bottled water from supermarkets or convenience stores; getting sick from eating food is a real risk when you’re away from home, once which increases if you add dodgy water to the menu.