By Diana Zarowin - NYU Graduate
*The holidays are coming up and you know what that means? Yes, finals, but also travel. Don’t leave it to the last minute like I did and save yourself time, money, and hassle by following the below tips whether you are heading home or on a family vacation. *
First, Where Does Your Money Even Go When Traveling?
Most students do not live close to a major airport or train station. So you will likely spend an unnecessary $60 on a cab or Uber if you plan last minute. $25 on airport splurges (food, booze, magazines). That’s already $85 more than the ticket you booked last minute with 2 connections to save $50.
I polled a number of my well-traveled friends to gain further insight into how to save money on food while exploring nationally or abroad. Check out these seven tips and enjoy your next trip!
Pack Your Own Snacks
This is a travel staple for me. I always make sure to stock up on healthy packaged eats (Think: granola bars, nuts, dried fruit) before heading out on any trip. Snacks like these fill you up and can be easily tossed in a bag before starting your day. Also, buying snacks in bulk is a great way to save money at the outset. Costco, we basically love ya.
YELP it up and Look for Specials
YELP is a great resource while traveling. Namely because the app gives insider tips into saving opportunities and specials. I dare you to mention while at a restaurant that you’re there while traveling, as I practically bet they’ll give you a little extra treat, too!
Sit by the Bar
This is a favorite tip of mine. If traveling with a small group, ask to sit by the bar while at restaurants. Bartenders and servers will often give bar-seat customers extra drinks and small tasters (they add up, trust me!), fresh out of the kitchen.
Going on Vacation? Ask the Locals with GoJourny.com
Go where the locals go! Get off the beaten path and seek out amazingly delicious local eats. Try GoJouny.com for curated eating itineraries from the best chefs.
Hit Up a Supermarket, or at Least a CVS
Find a grocery store and stock up early, especially if you’ll be in the same spot for a few days. Don’t feel pressured to eat out every meal! Purchase snacks in bulk, breakfast options, and other easy on-the-go items like fruits. That way, you’ll also save yourself the time and hassled of figuring out every single food choice throughout your travels. Simple, cheap, effective. Score!
Budget Your Big Meal of the Day
Allow for one of your daily meals to be on the more expensive side and budget cheaper meals and snacks for the rest of the day. Make sure that your more expensive meal happens to also be your biggest meal – energy boost to keep touring on for the rest of the day! - which will take longer to digest and keep you full, potentially for hours. Snacks, then, don’t seem all that bad when you just need a small bite to hold you over!
Hot Water is Your Friend
This one’s super easy to #DIY. Pack easy basics (i.e. oatmeal, soup, tea) that can be made using hot water in a hotel room coffee machine. Water is free, use of the coffee machine is included in your room stay costs, and the aforementioned foods are filling and delicious. Win-win-win all around!