Traveling on a Budget : Eating

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Hello lovely people!

Today I go a bit off topic and talk to you about how to eat on a budget while traveling. I know this is not a traditional recipe, but let’s just say it is a recipe on how to travel without spending tons of money. As some of you might know I am currently in Athens and while walking around the city I came up with this idea. It is so easy to fall for tourist traps while traveling (believe me I fell in hundreds), so I hope a little guide might be helpful. But before I would like to add, that these advice highly depend on the country you would like to visit and also on my personal experience, so feel free to speak out in case you have a different opinion about something. Besides, you probably already know many of these advice, especially when you like to travel, but hopefully there will be some new ones as well.

I was thinking of writing blog posts about different topics, but today I would like to start with my favorite topic: Food.

Food on a budget

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For me, one of the best things about traveling is to try local food. It is so interesting how different countries use fruits, vegetables, spices and other foodstuff. Let’s take chickpeas as an example. In Israel it is used as Hummus or Falafel, in India they use it in a curry and in Genova (Italy) they bake bread out of its flour. I think a great way to find out about local food (without googeling it) is to ask locals about their favorite dish – maybe the taxi driver, maybe the hostel owner, maybe a random person on the street – they are also very likely to be able to give you a recommendation of a place to get it for a reasonable price. Moreover, try to avoid eating out in touristic places, rather go to a smaller street. A really good indicator of a restaurant with high quality food is when locals chose this place. But don’t just go into restaurants be brave and try street food -just make sure it looks clean. Sometimes when you walk around the city you will crave a snack, but there are no good food options available. It is always very helpful to have something small with you: an energy bar, some nuts, an apple.. it will help you to avoid eating too expensive an unhealthy. Further, if you stay longer at one place, try to find an accommodation where you are able to cook and/or where breakfast is included. Like I said before, it is great to eat local food, but it is definitely cheaper and probably more healthy if you can also cook some meals for yourself. In some hostels you can even find some free food (e.g. food which former travellers have left) and some hostels also offer a free meal at certain nights. In Ghana, for example, I stayed in a hostel where they offered vegetarian, local food once a week. I asked the lady who was in charge of cooking if I could join and help her preparing the food. She was super happy about it and we spend a lovely day going to the market, chopping vegetables, cooking and serving the food. If you like cooking classes, try to find classes who support local communities. In most bigger cities, there are plenty of classes available, but most them are very pricy and further, locals do not benefit from it. If you are in Asia take a look into backstreet academy they offer many different kind of courses with local hosts. I did one cooking class in Nepal with a lovely woman and I had a blast. I came into her house and she explained me everything while sitting on her living room floor. You could also check if there are meet ups in your destination, which offer cooking lessons, they are often quite cheap. Finally, my last advice: if you are in a country who has different hygenic standards than your own, avoid fresh food and meat. Like many institutions advice: “cook it, peel it or forget it!”

Summarized:

  • Ask locals for food recommendations
  • Avoid touristic areas and see where locals eat
  • Try street food (if it looks safe to eat)
  • Avoid fresh fruits and vegetables in countries with a lower hygenic standard
  • Choose an accommodation with a kitchen and/or breakfast included
  • If you chose to prepare your own food go to local markets for groceries
  • See if hostels offer free food
  • Find vegetarian restaurants here: (Happy Cow)
  • Look for cooking classes which support locals
  • Print out how to say your special diet needs in the local language and show it to the people when ordering food
  • Bring snacks for a day trip

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