When it comes to traveling abroad, flights and accommodation often chew up the biggest chunks of the budget. But eating out can also be a large expense, especially if it’s multiple times a day. So how can families manage travel – and eat – without stressing about the cost? We pack food – and other things – for our travel.
Stay in self-catering accommodation
It’s obvious, of course, but this option can save you a lot of money. Plus, you often get to see how the locals live instead of the neighborhood where the hotels are located. This is not to say that you shouldn’t eat out when traveling. To not do so would be missing out. A few months ago, my husband and I took our two daughters to the Seychelles and we saved big by renting a self-catering two-bedroom flat with a kitchen. Breakfast, lunch and dinner for all four of us was prepared in that kitchen. We only ate one meal out. Which is how we managed to spend less than US$500 in a week in a pricey paradise.
Bring your own food
This sounds a little crazy, but I always bring food from home. That way, even if we’re staying in a hotel, we can have something to eat without having to go to a restaurant. On my list of essentials are:
- instant coffee
- instant noodles
- peanut butter (in small individual packets or a whole jar)
- jam (as above)
- small boxes of milk (for the cereal or for the Kraft Dinner, see below)
And if we’re staying in self-catering accommodations I’ll also pack the following:
- a box or two of Kraft Dinner
- dried pasta
- pasta stir-through sauce
- cans of tuna packed in brine
- chicken-stock cubes
- dried fruit
Bring your own dishes
Not your good dishes. Plastic ones. We got ours at Ikea, and they have been a great investment. I pack a plate, bowl, fork, knife and spoon for every person traveling. I also bring reusable coffee mugs. That way, my coffee is in a nice big mug and not the usual tiny thimble of a cup provided by the owners of the apartment or house. The other thing I pack are reusable plastic containers for sandwiches, fruit and vegetables. That way, we are set when we are out seeing the sights and want to have lunch and snacks.
Visit the hypermarket
Or find out where the locals shop. The little markets, the small corner shops that are there for convenience are often very expensive. Bigger stores will have better prices. Also, many supermarkets are increasingly stocking ready meals.
Treat yourself to meals out
Just do a little research and decide where you want to go before you’re hungry, so you make the best decision for your family rather than choosing when you are “hangry” — that is to say, hungry and angry — which is never a good idea.
Featured photo: Rui Silvestre/Unsplash
Addicted to traveling with her husband and two daughters, Phairis has visited more than 20 countries while in the UAE, including stays in Myanmar, Laos and Romania. Phairis started the Extra Bag Community on Facebook to encourage people to research whatever donations are needed at their destination, whether it is clothing or school supplies, and then find a place to distribute them upon arrival.