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What To Eat When You Travel So You Can Save Money

Posted by Emily Cummings on 2/21/17, 1:37 PM

ILP ChinaGelato in Italy, noodles in China, pierogis in Poland, borscht in Russia, kibinai in Lithuania  —  One of the best things about travel is the food, but how to eat it all and save your money?

You’ve scrimped, saved and fundraised so you can finally afford that trip to Europe; so don’t go wasting all your money on food. But don’t go home without tasting some of the awesome snacks you can only get abroad! See the problem? 

Need more money saving tips? Of course you do! We all love saving money. Check out this free guide to paying less for your semester abroad. 

But don't worry— you can still find your favorite local snacks while keeping your budget if you do these things:

  • Eat Free Food
  • Pack Lightweight Treats
  • Spend Money On Real Food
  • Eat Local 
  • Stay Away From Touristy Spots 

Eat Free Food 

Seems obvious, right? When you are volunteering with ILP, you have 3 meals a day that you don’t have to pay for…so take advantage of that! You’ll need to find breakfast, lunch and dinner yourself while you are on vacation, so you’ll still have time to try out some local restaurants.

Sometimes you can still eat free on vacations if you can find a hotel or hostel that serves a free breakfast. And to save on other meals, see if you can get a student discount at restaurants, or try bargaining to lower the price on street food when your whole group orders from the same noodle guy. 

ILP Thailand

Pack Lightweight Treats 

Granola bars, oatmeal packets, and these lightweight snacks are all great ones to bring! You might be able to find the same brands abroad in the American or imported section of your grocery store while abroad, but it’ll be way more expensive there than here.

I loved traveling with my own trail mix; I either bough a big bag before my trip, or made my own form what I could find at my local grocery store. That way, I could eat a big breakfast (free, at my hostel), snack for lunch then eat dinner and only have to buy one meal. 

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Spend Money On Real Food 

Sugary cereal, lightweight pastries and candy might be super yummy, but buying something that will actually help you stay full (like protein packed almonds) is going to be your best bet if you want to budget.

If you go out for a cafe, opt to spend money on a sandwich or filling soup instead of on pastries and coffee; you'll end up staying full longer. 

ILP Adventure in Europe

Eat Local

While you're living abroad for a while, you're probably going to start craving something more familiar...and suddenly you're going to think McDonalds is the motherland. It's nice to get a break from the rice in China and just get some chicken nuggets, but eating at McDonalds and shopping in the expensive imported snack section is a quick way to burn through your budget.

Local food is always always way less money than American food!!  So experience the local food while you can. You might be dying for a Big Mac, but keep in mind that you can’t get Pad Thai like this for under a dollar when you fly home in a few months. 

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Stay Away From Touristy Spots 

Living in a foreign country for a semester means you are going to be able to live (and look) like a local, instead of a tourist…so keep away from those touristy spots. Don’t eat right by the Coliseum because prices are going to be loads higher than a restaurant just a few blocks away.

Line up at the places the locals eat at for great food at a great price.

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You can also save money on your semester abroad (and after you get home) with ideas on our blog — check 'em out right here.

 Oh, and if you are worried about money, school or selling your partment getting in the way of you traveling the world for an entire semester, stop your worrying! We've got a free ebook to help you figure all that stuff out, just click that green button: 

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Topics: All The Travel Tips, All About ILP + Volunteering Abroad, Saving Money + Fundraising

Exploring The World For Nearly 30 Years

Hi! We are ILP, a non-profit org that has service abroad opportunities for college-age volunteers. We share our tips for making the most of your time traveling and living abroad.

ILP Semester Abroad

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