Food is one of the largest expenses we all have when travelling. When planning a trip independently, we will book accommodation and transportation to the destination. Maybe we’ll also book some transfers or hire a car etc. But what about food? We have to eat every single day of our trip, possibly many times, and yet it is often overlooked in our budget. Do you want to learn how to save money on food while you travel? Keep reading!
Luckily there are so many ways that we can cut our food expenses while we are travelling. In this article, I will give you some simple and easy to follow tips so the next time you are planning a trip, you can save a lot of money!
When you travel you want to experience the destination and that involves, in most places, trying delicious local food. I’m not going to stop you from doing that! But how cool would it be if you knew how to cut on some silly food expenses so that you can spend your money on trying local foods or even doing local food tours?
How to save money on food while you travel
Book accommodation with free breakfast
Before booking your accommodation check if breakfast is included. Some hotels will include breakfast in the nightly rate while others will charge you anything between 7€ to 20€ per person. If you are staying for 4 nights that could be 20×4=80€ spent on breakfast! Would you ever spend that in your daily life? I didn’t think so.
Find an accommodation that offers free breakfast – it will be indicated on the booking platform or hotel’s website and you can use that daily breakfast for a big meal without paying more for it! 😉
Get an apartment or accommodation with a kitchen
Booking a self-catering unit or apartment, even going to a hostel and using the communal kitchen, will be your biggest saving during the trip, if you plan accordingly! Do grocery shopping on arrival and get some easy ingredients you can make a nice meal with. Cook them the first night and have food for the next few days! To make this one work even better…
Bring your own Tupperware and bamboo cutlery
Having your own container and cutlery when travelling has proven to be one of the best things ever for us. If you cook on one night you can take the leftovers for the following day’s lunch and while you are exploring you don’t have to come back home to eat or spend money on food. Depending on what you are exploring, coming back for lunch is nearly impossible and buying food while at a popular tourist site is almost always very expensive.
Personally I’ll take a good dinner out over an expensive lunch, so I would rather eat something from a container that’s homemade or even a sandwich and then sit down for a decent dinner somewhere beautiful.
Since I started getting serious about reducing my impact when I travel, I always carry both tupperware and bamboo cutlery my backpack. They are useful and can be used in multiple situations: from grocery shopping to meal transport to use instead of plastic plates at a market/food truck festival. They take very little space in your bag and are very versatile.
Stop buying drinks
Don’t worry – I’m not saying that you shouldn’t drink alcohol, although it is a big expense. I’m referring to not buying water bottles and soft drinks every time you are thirsty and on the go. Use your reusable bottle because water keeps you hydrated, you’ll save money and help the environment. It is a win-win if I’ve ever heard of one.
Going to the supermarket doesn’t make sense for a weekend trip or if you’re only staying for a couple nights, but if it is part of a longer trip or a long stay in one place, it will save a lot of money. I highly recommend that you pick up some groceries. You can always carry some fruits, bread and condiments (veggies, cheese, cold meat) or even get a bag of rice and cook it with different fresh products.
Explore outside of big tourist areas to get local prices and cuisine
When you leave the tourist areas the overpriced restaurants are left behind as well. By moving about 3 blocks away from a touristy hub you will already find under the radar, local bars or small restaurants with the same food and normally far better prices.
Food trucks, food stalls, street vendors… Street food presents itself in a variety of ways but grabbing a plate of rice and fried chicken at a Balinese street stall will cost you 1€ Yes… you’ve read that correctly. Always check that the establishment looks clean, and has some locals queuing, to try and minimise the bad decisions that will come with food poisoning. Try to apply logic to make sure you trust the place where you are getting food from: locals buying there is the best sign of all.
Start intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting is a method consisting of having a longer window without food, usually between 13 and 16h. By doing this your body has time every day to detox and properly digest the food you’ve eaten. You can read more about intermittent fasting here. In practical terms, it means that you only eat during a window of 9h a day, and fast for the remainder (while still drinking water of course). For example: you can eat only from 12h00 until 21h00. You can eat as many times you want during those 9h, but you’ll quickly find your body gets used to not eating until 12h00 again the next day and then you only need lunch and dinner, and maybe a snack once a day, without feeling hungry. You can also cut dinner out if you prefer your window to be early morning food.
Intermittent fasting is one of the ways that I use to save money on food while I travel!
Do you have any other tips on how to save money on food while you travel? Please share them below – new tips are always welcome!
With the use of the internet, travel planning has become a far easier task to handle. We can now cover the A to Z of planning using different tools and websites that are available to us absolutely free. Here’s my list of most trusted websites, so you don’t have to spend the time searching for them yourself and can go straight to planning your next adventure or getaway.
The ultimate list of travel planning tools
Skyscanner: Hands down my go to website every time I need to look for flights. You can check for oneway, return and multicity flights. You can choose anywhere as the destination and it lets you browse the cheapest flights from your starting point to anywhere in the world. I also like to check the map option, at the right corner of the date, to see the prices in the map – this helps with inspiration if you are running short on that!
Scott’s Cheap Flights: Subscribe to get the best flight details on your continent. You get to choose where you live and they send you emails when a flight offer has been found. Those emails will let you score some amazing flight deals if you are able to take leave/travel on those dates!
Chepo Air: One of the most under appreciated or lesser-known websites, Chepo air will find you deals for both flights and other travel packages from your starting point to your destination based on the selected dates.
Air Wander: You enter your dates, point of origin and point of arrival and it will find you the best stopovers. By using it you can add another destination to your trip without paying for an extra flight. A Stopover is stopping between 2 planes that have been bought on the same ticket, but allowing you to have anywhere from hours to days in the middle destination.
Skiplagged: A completely different concept right here: finding cheaper flights by looking for a longer flight to a further destination and then offering you to get that one and just stay in the “connection” destination (as that is the final destination you want to go to.
Hopper: This app keeps track of a flight you want to buy and updates you on price drops (or increases) so you don’t pay more than you need to for your flight. You can also select a route with no date for the app to tell you when something new comes up.
Bonus – Lounge Buddy: This has to be one of the best apps life has brought my way. Lounge Buddy let’s you buy entrance to certain lodges all over the world. The lounge makes travelling more comfortable. It is not worth it if you are in a destination for only an hour with barely enough time to go to the toilet and connect with your next flight, but anything longer than that and I would say it’s time to get a lounge pass. Lounges are restricted areas in airports where you get access by purchasing business class flights, owning a certain debit/credit card (like AMEX) or paying to get in. Prices start at 25€ but you have to look at it as an investment. Wifi is quicker than in the general area, there’s food for you to eat and complimentary drinks. Chairs tend to be comfier and some of them have coaches as well as plug points so you can charge your devices.
Airbnb: the leading apartment website in the world, Airbnb lists private houses/rooms/apartments /properties available for short-term rent so that you can stay in them during your trip. If you have never used it before, Here’s a link to get 25€ off on your first purchase. What I like about Airbnb besides how convenient it is are the filters. As someone obsessed with sleeping in unique places being able to filter for “hot tub” or “campervan” or “castle” makes all the difference.
Booking: The place to go for guesthouses and hotels. I like that you can select via map, stars, category and filters like “late check-in”. When I’m flying and arriving at a place late at night this is my go-to website to make sure I can check in and someone will be there to give me the keys. Use this code for a discount!
Hostel World: My bible for the cheapest accommodation and central locations. I like hotels because you get to know people and are surrounded by those who want to interact with other travellers. The receptions are always full of local advice and if you have grown too old or tired of dorms, it’s always worth considering the private rooms.
Glamping Hub: if like me you love to sleep in treehouses, tipis or other great places, this website is for you. They have a selection of unique accommodations that you can choose from and book directly.
Agoda: a great hotel booking platform mostly focused in Asia.
Rome to Rio: it is like the bible of transport. They tell you how to get from point A to point B by car, bus, ferry, tram and flight. It is a very interesting tool to use when you’re not sure of what the transportation options are for your upcoming trip.
Rental Cars: my go to website to compare different individual companies. You can book through their website and I like the interface, it is easy to use and understand.
Seat 61: get all the information you need to travel by train in Europe and around the world. From routes to timetables and other information that you need to know before you start your train trip!
Get Your Guide: Even though I am not really one for set activities, there are some experiences that benefit from a guide/tour whether I like it or not. For these I like to check local operators by googling the activity I’m interested in doing or following previous bloggers recommendations. When that fails I use them.
World Nomads: I think it’s the easiest website to buy insurance from. It is a little bit cheaper if you buy from local insurances where you live, but it is good to compare all your options.
TRANSFER MONEY INTERNATIONALLY
World Nomads: one of the best platforms I’ve come across. They let you transfer money internationally with a fee that up to 8 times lower than the one charged by traditional banks. The way it works is pretty intelligent: they have bank accounts in different countries. If you are in France and need to send money to the UK you will transfer your amount to a french bank, and with the exchange rate of the day from TransferWise, their account in the UK will send the equivalent in pounds. Life saver and so useful!
Having all your travel information in only one document proves tricky when we have hotel confirmation, plane tickets, train tickets and more. To have all my information organised and be able to have an overview of my daily planning I created a handy spreadsheet where you’ll be able to organise all your information easily and detailed.
Shameless self promo for the spreadsheet that is going to make it possible: all your travel information in one document!
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These travel planning tools are essential when I’m booking a trip. Knowing where to go for the right information also saves me time! I recommend you bookmark this page and come back to it when you need to find something specific.
Let me know if you use any other travel tools that aren’t already on this list?
Planning the details of your next trip is very important to you.
You like to keep a budget and to know where you can cut costs.
You want to have an overview of your entire trip in one document.
Well done! You’re in the right place. If you’re here, you are an obsessive travel planner like me and love to organise all the little details before you go off on your adventure. Maybe you’re here after some obsessive google keyword research and, like me, have checked many different websites to try and find the best travel planner to use. Well, YOU CAN STOP LOOKING NOW, you’ve found it!
I have been using a mix of word and excel for years to organise my trips and budget. When I started looking for a travel planner that had it all in one place, I couldn’t find anything! That’s what made me tidy up my own one and make it look pretty for all of you.
The only travel planner you will ever need
I gave my travel spreadsheet a makeover to make it practical, clear and to make sure it ticks all the boxes to be the best travel planner and the only one you’ll need. After all this is why the name of my travel spreadsheet is The Only Travel Planner You Will Ever Need.
What you will find in the travel spreadsheet:
Tab 1: Day to day over view & instructions for the spreadsheet
In this first tabl you will find the instructions to use the document (it’s not hard, don’t worry!). You can fill in the nams of all travellers and see an abstract of your day, day to day. It will help when you need to check quickly what’s the plan for day Y of the trip.
Tab 2: Accommodation
You can write down your accommodation addresses, the types of the rooms, the number of nights and all inclusions.
Utilitzeu cada columna per omplir els màxims detalls que tingueu sobre els llocs on us quedeu a dormir. Alguns dels detalls disponibles per omplir són l’adreça, les inclusions, el número de nits o el tipus d’habitacions/apartaments on us quedeu.
Tab 3: Transport
The tab for flights, transfers, buses or rental cars. Include your transport number and the arrival and departure cities as well.
Tab 4: Miscellaneous
All those travel costs that we struggle to remember like: insurance, how much does your bank charge you per transaction abroad and your visa costs. You won’t forget a thing!
Tab 5: Budget
When you are travelling with family, friends or your SO, understanding if someone owes you money is always complicated. Simply fill in the details for your costs and split the cost in percentages amongst you. The planner will then calculate the money you should pay in and the money you are owed! Life saving!
Why is The Only Travel Planner You Will Ever Need the best travel planner out there?
The best part is the only travel planner you will ever need is free. Yup, you got that right!
It has tabs for all different expenses
trip overview on the first tab
If you are in my subscribers list you’ll be able to access it from this month’s newsletter OR you can use this shiny box underneath to grab your free copy – you will not only gain instant access to the spreadsheet so you can start planning now, but you’ll get monthly newsletters with new content on the blog, including my best travel tips and tricks!
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Travelling to Africa seems complicated with all the health requirements, visas and the general feeling of not knowing exactly what you should pack with you. Here’s your Uganda & Rwanda carry-on packing list to help you pick everything you need for your holiday.
Easy and detailed steps make the planning process easier. I’ve been travelling as long as I can remember and I’ve spent a fair few hours planning. I even do it professionally now – so I consider myself an expert when it comes to travel planning. I learnt from the best and continue to grow each time I plan a trip for myself or my clients. So I’ve compiled a “How to plan any trip” list for you.
How to plan any trip in 11 easy steps
1. Decide where are you going
This is the most obvious first step, Duh, Anna. But without it you won’t be going anywhere, so take some time to decide where you want to go most. I find inspiration on Travel blogs, Instagram and Pinterest. Most of my trips are a combination of the following reasons combined to make them happen:
Budget: I always budget my travels. I am an obsessive travel planner, so budgeting, making checklists and making sure I do my research way in advance of my travels si very important to me. I like to know what the daily budget for a place will be. In some places with 30-40USD per day you have more than enough and others need some more money. Different times of year in different destinations will also have higher or lower prices. This factor is important.
Season of the year: there are two main seasonal factors for me. The easy one is picking the season depending on what to do (e.g. good weather for a beach destination and very cold for a winter ski trip). Then the rainy season is the second factor I like to check. With the high season and low season + the rainy season I can make out what the shoulder season will be. Shoulder season are the months in between high season and low season. Travelling in shoulder season if your dates are flexible is my favourite thing because you get lower prices, less crowds and the weather is still/already nice.
How much time do I need/have: I wouldn’t travel to a destination where you need at least 7-10 days if I only had 3.
2. Check if you need a visa and what the health requirements are
Some nationalities like EU citizens or Canadians for example have an easy access to a higher number of countries. The first stop is always passport index. The website is very easy to check and has categories for visa free, entry visa or visa needed. With a clear colour palette the first check is done. After checking that, head to the countries’ embassies’ website to double-check the listing on passport index is up to date. The next necessary step is to check if vaccinations or preventive medicine are needed. For example, in a lot of African countries the Yellow Fever vaccination is required and malaria preventive pills have to be taken.
3. Pick out your dates and research flights
If you have the opportunity to be flexible with dates. 2 or 3 days can make a huge difference to your final price.
The golden rule: Always check your flights using the incognito option on your browser. By doing that they do not keep cookies from your searches and won’t make them more expensive the next time you visit for the same dates and destination.
My recommendation is to check different apps. For the first app use hopper on your phone. Then check Skyscanner with at least 5 tabs to manually check dates (I find this to be the more reliable option, rather than checking for the cheapest month option – a personal OCD). The next step is to check the same airports and different dates and afterwards multi-airports (if the trip can be organised that way). It is always better to check one way for both legs of the journey and return – sometimes there are good deals to be found.
Silver rule: Subscribe to the newsletters of major airlines. You can score some nice prices if you are subscribed. I have a rule on my email that makes me not see the emails in my inbox if they come from let’s say Emirates. Then they are all in the folder “Airlines” – and I only check that when I’m looking for flights!
No one is exactly sure what the best tricks for scoring cheap flights are. For me, once I’ve decided on my dates I also check google flights matrix (still on incognito). I try to do international flights between 3 and 6 months in advance and domestic flights between 1 and 2 months in advance. Because I’m an obsessive planner I planned my whole year’s trips at the beginning, and although the dates were flexible and have been getting clearer over the months I knew roughly which destinations and which times of year I wanted to go. Tuesday afternoon is a well-known day to get good flights. At the end of the day trying to find flights in uncomfortable hours usually makes the for the better deal in my experience.
4. Check the route order & your way of transportation
After many hours of research using travel blogs and Instagram I have a vague idea of every place I want to visit (usually more than 50). Seeing as though I am not a full time traveller I have to try and fit in as many activities and sights as possible without overloading the planning.
This requires cutting the massive list down into only the most practical sights on the route I want to take, not more than 2-4 activities per day (depending on the activity, of course). Once I have organised the route and things to do I head to my amazing spreadsheet and update the details.
I include in this step deciding how to get around. In major cities or capitals I usually take taxis from and to the airport and use my legs or public transport to move around. In Slovenia I rented a car for a 7 day roadtrip and for Croatia I used buses. It really depends on my route and how easy and stress free public transport is.
Extra tip: I like to check step 3 and 4 of how to plan any trip together. The answer is simple: if I make the route starting at the final destination and that makes more sense flight and transportation wise I usually swap the order.
5. Booking the accommodation
I rarely leave things for last minute. This is because I have become hooked on sleeping in unique accommodation or unusual places. I have a list per country with amazing hotels, lodges, resorts or Airbnbs where I want to sleep. So my next move is to check my list and see if there’s anything for that country/area. For Uganda and Rwanda I didn’t have anything on my list but the places we choose ended up making the cut for my “Sweet Dreams” section – instead in Slovenia I planned the route based on availability for Garden Village as I knew I was going to be sleeping there.
When I don’t have a “must sleep” on my list I check the cheapest available accommodation. I like hostels for the vibe and location, Airbnb if I don’t want to be social (Grab your 39€ disccount if it’s the first time you are using the website!) and hotels (I use booking.com) when I need a late check-in or some other option that I can filter on the website.
Having Sweet Dreams in a tree house!
6. Booking the main activities
Now that we have the dates and are sure on the flights, what is it that you you want to do while you’re there? Some destinations require a lot of planning in advance and some are better for just winging it. For example in June this year when I went Gorilla Tracking in Uganda I booked my permits 6 months in advance, because they do sell out quite fast.
Locate your main objective for the trip (some trips might not have a main one): going on a 2 day hike, checking a major city landmark, sightseeing a capital in three days or road tripping. Some of the stops along the way might need you to book in advance for an activity or concert etc.
7. Download a conversion app
It is key to always know the exchange rate. My favourite app for this is called converter [LINK]. It works both online and offline which makes it very versatile. It’s always better to know how much money I should be getting when exchanging one’s currency.
8. Have offline maps
Download maps.me for offline maps. I also use Waze when I have data.
9. Pack your bag
Decide which items you are going to take as well as which bag or suitcase. I have been travelling carry-on only for over a year and couldn’t be happier with the decision. Check my summer packing list here.
10. Get insurance
The less sexy part about planning and yet one of the most important ones. Make sure your insurance covers repatriation and some medical problems as well as minor theft. I have used AXA, Winthertur and World Nomads. I like them all. World Nomads is the online interface I like to use the most: easy and clear on inclusions.
11. Have copies of your documents online
Things happen. So have copies of passport, drivers license, id’s, vaccination and others on the cloud or in your email, just in case!
With this easy guide on how to plan any trip you will be able to get hands on quickly and make sure you’ve checked all the necessary information. Now you only need to start planning your own trip!
Since my mum taught me all those years ago to roll up my clothes when packing them to save space it has become a finely honed skill. I should admit I didn’t enjoy it at first and repeatedly asked for help but over the years I’ve developed such a talent for rolling that my friends ask me to help them pack and when they need tips for last minute tricks they come to me. I have been a minimalist packer for a couple years now, but previously I had used the carry-on suitcase Samsonite Aspire Xlite. Until more recently when I swapped to a carry-on backpack for all my trips.
How to pick the best carry-on backpack for your travels
After extensive (obsessive if I’m honest) research, last summer(2017) I finally selected and bought the Osprey Farpoint 40L and I’ve never looked back (except to admire the Osprey sitting on my shoulders). It’s the perfect fit for local weekends away, long weekends in foreign countries or even 2 weeks of travelling through Italy, Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina. The below packing list is the one I used for my summer trip for 2 weeks last year.
The Osprey Fairpoint has become my go-to backpack. The most important feature of the bag is fact that it is carry-on size, which means every time I’m at the airport I can avoid queuing to check in bags and spend zero time waiting at the conveyor belt on the way out. I love that I have everything with me, significantly lowering the risk of any losses, and being able to use anything in my bag at any time.
You can read a full review of the Osprey Fairpoint 40L here (coming soon! You can subscribe using the right sidebar to receive the monthly newsletter with new additions and more!)
Most important carry on backpack tips
Before we dive head first into the necessary items list, here are some bullet points to keep in mind before you start packing:
Stop packing should-haves: we have all packed a nice dress “in case” we needed it, the forth pair of jeans “in case” we needed it or three day bags “in case” we needed it. I have been guilty of over-packing a number of times. The first time you try to fit everything in a small backpack or suitcase you feel you don’t have enough: clothes, accessories or electronics. If you fight this urge to pack your “just in case” items your back will thank you and you will soon realise you’re really not missing anything.
Bring mix and match clothing items: forget about that great floral t-shirt that only looks cute with the white shorts. And the striped pants also have to stay home, I’m afraid. Pick clothes that are easy to wash (e.g. not delicate) and are easy to combine. Pick t-shirts/shirts that can go with every pair of trousers and shoes that can go with all your clothes. My favourites are one colour t-shirts and jeans/black trousers, but that’s a personal preference ?
Have a try out trip: we’re not born with knowledge. The first couple trips, even if you follow my list, you are still likely to pack one more shirt “just in case” and a pair of amazing shorts that can only be worn with one t-shirt but that’s fine, you will see how you don’t end up using these items and won’t pack them again the next time.
How to pack it
Please keep in mind the laws of balance. Put the heaviest stuff at the bottom of your carry-on backpack as they will sit closer to your back – this makes it easier to carry. The best way to pack is to roll up your clothes: this will avoid wrinkling, free up more space and keep the bag organised. Although I continue to roll I recently splurged on a set of packing cubes, which help me have my already rolled clothing even further organised than before, and makes it very easy to take stuff in and out of the backpack without untidying the rest of my belongings.
Minimalist carry on backpack packing list for summer
Although the basics are the same for every destination and season, this carry on backpack list is specially designed for women travelling in summer.
Hi! I’m Anna!
A filmmaker & budget expert. I review unique places to sleep and write detailed itineraries. Read More
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