Wherever your next vacation will take you, chances are you’re wondering how to cut expenses. Planning frugal travel meals can be one of your biggest cost cutters. Don’t forget that cuisine and dining is a big part of travel, though. Luckily, “frugal” doesn’t have to mean ordering from the fast food menu or only noshing on protein bars for the entire trip. There are plenty of delicious, inexpensive, and even healthy dining choices, whether you’re traveling with kids or preparing meals for one.

Load Up On Breakfast

Make your biggest meal one of your most frugal travel meals. This usually means breakfast, since you can order a huge breakfast for less than you’d spend on a big lunch or dinner. If you’re staying in a hotel, motel or hostel, ask the desk clerk if they offer a complimentary breakfast.

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If you eat enough for breakfast, you may be able to make it all the way to dinner with just a quick snack for lunch. This not only saves you money on one meal, but also cuts out the need to buy a second meal.

Plan A Budget And A Splurge

If you order inexpensive meals for most of your trip, you should be able to afford one splurge of a meal. Order a slice of pizza from a street vendor in Italy for a few nights in a row and treat yourself to a big, fancy dinner at the end of the week. One of the easiest ways to purchase frugal travel meals is to buy local. Bananas in Central America are less expensive than other fruits. If you’re in Paris, order a croissant and coffee for breakfast instead of bacon, eggs and home fries. Local cuisine will be less expensive than what you’re used to because it’s readily available. Plus, you’ll learn a lot about a different culture just by eating the way they do.

best Frugal travel meals

Dine Out Like A Local

If you opt to eat at neighborhood restaurants instead of busy tourist stops, you’ll be surprised how big your frugal travel meals will be. You can spend less and get more just by eating at local restaurants, pubs and cafes. Tourist destinations are often overpriced and the food won’t be as carefully prepared or tasty as at a local restaurant. Ask locals for suggestions or ask the hotel clerk where they like to eat.

Home Cooked Meals

The most frugal travel meals are the ones you cook yourself. Even one home cooked meal every day will save you tons of money. Most hotels have a small refrigerator and microwave in every room. Think of “home cooked” as simply not coming from a restaurant. If you’re roaming around a city like San Francisco or New York, duck into a grocery store and buy some deli meat, a roll, a small bag of pretzels and a can of soda. Heat up a couple of store-bought burritos for dinner for an easy $2 meal.