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Budget Travel:How To Cut Down On Your Meal Bills While On A Vacation

Updated on June 16, 2011

Pack Lime Rice and Poori Potato Paliya for Travel as they do not go stale quickly

Lime rice
Lime rice
Poori with Potato Paliya
Poori with Potato Paliya | Source

Simple Tips To Cut Meal Costs While On Holiday

Traveling light and spending less, but enjoying every moment of your holiday, is what all look forward to. Simple solutions to adhere to, while traveling will help curb unnecessary expenditure. And that includes meals.

I remember my mother and aunt packing 2 large picnic baskets full of goodies for us 4 kids while traveling from Bangalore to New Delhi, about 4 decades ago. We would travel by train (and those days it was the steam engine) for a full 3 days and arrive in New Delhi all covered in soot to visit our grandma. Our baskets of goodies contained an assortment of biscuits, bread, boiled eggs, salt and pepper, jam butter, slices of tomato and cucumber and some pooris and potato paliya. Lime rice with peanuts and plenty of bananas,oranges and apples would also be taken along. A pickle bottle also was a must as also a large water keg and an earthern water pot called khooja to keep drinking water cool. The water would soon be over and my uncle used to fill them at the major stations. Pooris and potato paliya and lime rice were often finished for the first 2 meals on the train. And thereafter jam and butter sandwiches or cucumber and tomato sandwiches along with a boiled egg each would be our meal upto day 2. We often munched on homemade chaklis, biscuits, prepared before we left. Day 3 would have to be fruits bought at local railway stations or if we halted at any major station, and the eateries looked hygienic, then our parents would get us some food from there. Hand towels and forks, knife and spoons, tumblers and plates were all carried from home, used and washed after use.

So today, when you need to travel and do not want to spend too much on food, you can follow the tips given below.

  • Whether you plan your holiday early or take of on the spur of the moment, it would be wise to choose hotels that offer free breakfast and dinner. Some offer only free breakfast. Most hotels include this in the tariff, so check with them before booking.
  • After breakfast, one normally goes sightseeing, and so, having lunch at a restaurant serving local cuisine, will give you a chance to savor the specialties of local food. If you want to further cut down on your expenses, neighborhood eateries serving local food will be even cheaper.
  • Authentic street food is still more cheaper and gives you a different taste of local, popular food. Places of tourist interest always have some eateries that are often expensive and are best avoided. If you feel that the eateries do not prepare and serve food in hygienic conditions, just avoid them.
  • It would be best to stock up your mini-bar in the hotel, with some cold cuts and ready to eat food packets from the local supermarket.
  • You can also pick up some bread, bakery items such as puffs and croissants, along with jam, peanut butter, cheese and flavored milk or fruit juice. You can make your own peanut butter or cheese or jam sandwiches, in the hotel room and carry them with you while out sightseeing.
  • If you have kids accompanying you, consider packing some biscuits of their favorite kind, and carry some boiled eggs from home, without cracking the shells. But finish them before they go stale.
  • Carry fruits that can be eaten without needing to be cut. Oranges, bananas and apples are excellent when you want to munch while traveling.
  • Also carry some dry fruits with you in little packets in your pocket or handbag. Popping a few groundnuts, almonds, cashews or raisins, figs into your mouth can give you energy when you cannot sit down to have a meal.
  • Drinking water is by far the most important and buying mineral water can beat into your budget. An alternative is to carry your own water bottle from home and fill it up with potable water from your hotel before you embark every morning on your sightseeing trip.

Following these simple tips will help you keep a tab on your expenses and your holiday need not be so expensive as to make you shy away from planning your next holiday.


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    • oceansnsunsets profile image


      7 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Why is it that we always turn to fast food or even more expensive food to be "healthier" when out and about? We sure have gotten far away from what you mention, packing a picnic or at least some healthy snacks to eat while traveling? Are we too busy, or lazy? Maybe so, sometimes. What DOES appeal to me is saving that much more money, by planning ahead and having healthier options. Sometimes, the food you get when traveling may not even taste or be that good. Great hub!

    • SaMcNutt profile image


      7 years ago from Englewood, CO

      My husband and I often got to the supermarket where we are staying. We enjoy this because we feel like it is part of learning about the local community. Although, in Paris it is more fun to go to the seciality markets. The supermarches were too commercial.

      Great fun hub. Love your personal experience. We might be traveling to India in the fall. Can't wait.

    • cardelean profile image


      7 years ago from Michigan

      All of these are great tips. What a great adventure you had on that train! We are planning a vacation this summer and we will stay at hotels that have breakfast included as well as packing a cooler of food for stops on the drive there. It really does save money!

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 

      7 years ago from UK

      Great ideas- I too remember all those picnic hampers my mum made and the delicious little snacks we carried around while on vacation or on a day trip. All this talk about lemon and tomato rice makes me hungry! I wrote a hub on 'spice up your rice' on how to make all these flavored rices! voted up!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      I think these are very good suggestions for saving money while traveling. Lunches are usually cheaper than dinners so you idea of buying some items at a local store should really help. Voted/ rated up.


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