Top 5 Tips for Eating Well (And Cheap) While Traveling

Food Budgets, Travel Tips

Welcome to the third of a six-part collaboration between Mint and Brewing Happiness. I’m Haley, the girl behind Brewing Happiness – a blog about celebrating the small healthy choices we make in our lives, complete with recipes for everybody!

In the first two articles I covered grocery shopping on a budget, and provided a healthy 7-day meal plan for under $150! Today I am going to shift my focus to eating healthy while traveling. As a person who has created a career around eating healthy, it is important to me to keep this up even when I am traveling.

This past month I set out on a month-long trip around Europe, so I had the chance to figure out the best strategies for eating healthy on a travel budget. I found that there is a delicate balance between penny pinching, eating healthy, and really indulging in the local cuisine. I didn’t want to miss out on any of that, and I figure you don’t either. So today I am going to share my top five tips with you! I promise there is a way to indulge (in a healthy way) on a budget.

#1 Come prepared.

Avoid wasting money on snacks at cafes or airports or train stations by coming prepared with your own snacks. Maybe this means trail mix, or protein bars, or nut butter or fruit – whatever it is, it’s much more cost effective to buy them preemptively than to buy them on the go. This way you can save your money for the meals that matter. Don’t let hanger drain your bank account!

#2 Be choosy.

Take time to do your research before visiting a city – search on the internet or ask friends for recommendations – and make a list of the top restaurants you must try. Then you can allocate a larger percentage of your food budget to those specific meals. That way you are nearly guaranteed a food experience that you will like, and you aren’t thoughtlessly spending money at cafes or restaurants that may or may not be worth it.

#3 Split food.

If you are traveling with another person or a group, splitting meals is a great way to save money. It allows for you to be able to try more dishes at one restaurant without breaking the bank. That way you can experience all of your destination’s food offerings without spending a fortune. It is also very helpful in practicing moderation (see tip 5.) BONUS – it helps prevent food waste!

#4 The market (AKA. grocery store) is your best friend.

If you run out of snacks or if you are lucky enough to stay in a place with a kitchen, grabbing snacks or meal supplies at the grocery store can save you so much money. Do your big spending at your list of top restaurants, and save the rest of your money by grabbing food at the market. (HINT: cheese and meat boards are a great cheap meal to buy at the store.) You can still try exciting local products at the market that will save you money at the same time. Especially if you are a coffee drinker, buying coffee at the market and making it in your accommodations will save you tons of money on your trip.

#5 Practice moderation.

It is easy to give into the “YOLO” mentality when traveling, and be tempted to order anything and everything on a menu that looks good. But the truth is that you will enjoy the meal more if you limit your order to one or two items. This way you won’t waste food, and you won’t break the bank. You can always return to a restaurant that blew you away, or save your money to try other unique menu items at the next restaurant you go to. That way you get to indulge in a healthy way!

So that’s it – my top 5 tips for eating well and cheaply while traveling! I know that travel isn’t always cheap, but it is possible to do well on a budget, especially when it comes to food. I hope these tips have helped inspire and remind you that eating healthy while traveling isn’t very hard.

Follow along!

Over the next couple of months I’ll be covering tons of ways to be healthy on a budget. So keep an eye out for those and head over to Brewing Happiness for healthy recipe inspiration in the meantime!


Haley Hunt Davis is the voice behind Brewing Happiness, a food blog dedicated to celebrating healthier choices. Haley makes “health-ified” versions of everyone’s favorite foods, like pizza and chicken nuggets, as well as suggestions for how to make every dish fit one’s lifestyle. For more from Haley, follow her on InstagramFacebookPinterest and Twitter.

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