A few of my friends have a slight problem going travelling with me. They want to shell out big money at fancy restaurants and on expensive experiences. I don’t share that desire. Personally, I find that when I am in a country, city, or region, for a period of time, there is always plenty to keep me busy without breaking the bank. Besides, keeping a little thrifty ensures that I can spend longer in these places and enjoy them that much more!
Now the title of this article might get a few people riled up but, don’t fret, I’m not going to tell anyone that they shouldn’t enjoy the delicacies of whichever country they plan to visit. Fully immersing oneself in local culture means stuffing your face with whatever sed culture has to offer.
- Shop at a local store.
What I will say is that, in order to enjoy local food, you really don’t need to dine out at Michelin star restaurants and sample fine liqueurs to boot. Take France for example. Visit a local boulangerie for your bread, a charcuterie, and perhaps even an epicier. Ask what a Frenchman would eat at each one and then construct yourself a fine baguette with all you are given!
Even a local supermarket like Auchan, in France, will provide you with most of the ingredients that a local would use on a day to day basis. Do your research, pick up the delicacies of your host nation, and enjoy!
- Ask a local where they eat.
Should you wish to grab a bite at a restaurant, ask your host or a passing local where they might eat. Put down the travel guide and open your mouth with a somewhat loose tongue. It’s hard to go wrong when a denizen of the area tells you what they like. After all, if you’re English, I’d bet you’d be able to name a fantastic pub in your area if someone asked your advice!
- Take advantage of local hospitality.
Don’t be too cheeky but, if you meet some friendly locals, there’s no harm in subtly hinting at wanting to try a local home cooked meal.
I’ve found that, in countries like Italy and France, locals have occasionally wanted me to try their fine home cooked food. Apparently we Brits don’t have a reputation for culinary excellence! If you get such an opportunity, it’s one you should totally take. Just ensure that everything is above board of course, and offer a little money to cover the ingredient costs! It will still be substantially cheaper than eating out.
- Grab some streetfood!
This is my favourite option of the bunch! Of course, not everywhere has stalls selling street foods but, for places that do, tuck in where possible!
From pad thai in Bangkok, to empenadas in Mexico, nothing fills the belly without emptying the wallet like some good street food. Even if it looks unsavoury, give it a go! Actually, maybe not always, I’ve definitely made the mistake of trusting street vendor food-quality once too often!
This is all simple advice, but I think there’s something to be taken from it and applied. Save yourself some money on your next trip with a hint of frugality!