Eating on a Budget in Europe..
Food is something you have to factor into your budget no matter where you go.
If you’re a foodie like me it can be challenging to fill your gastronomic needs with the local foods and still keep the costs down. Luckily there are a few ways you can still eat great food while traveling on a budget.
1. Hit up the local grocery store.
We have frequented grocery stores in Iceland, Paris and all through Italy. I love it. It’s a great way to see a slice of the local life but it’s also a great way to buy some excellent local food on a budget. Paris grocery stores have huge baguettes for about .70 cents. Pair that with some local cheese for about 3 Euro and a bottle of wine for another 3 Euro and you’ve got yourself a nice little picnic for 2 people for less than 8 Euro. Iceland had outstanding hummus for about $2 and Italy had amazing bottles of Olive Oil for about 2 Euro. Wherever we were it was always easy to find yummy, whole foods at the grocery stores. Another reason I love Europe – the snacks which sell by the bucket load in the U.S. are not very popular here. I think a large part of the reason is because they are expensive (far more pricey than the U.S. example: a can of coke will run you $3 in Iceland and $2 in Paris) and also because the good, quality food is much cheaper. You really can get amazing cheese for $2 or $3 in Europe and the veggies and fruit also seems to be much cheaper.
2. Farmer’s Markets
It seems that every city in the world has some version of a farmer’s market. It’s worth hitting up because you can usually find unique, local foods at a budget price. Plus it is also really fun to stroll around market streets and just watch the local people going about their daily shopping. I’ve noticed most people in Europe shop more frequently than their U.S. counterparts. The focus in Europe is definitely more on fresh, quality foods and so it isn’t usual for people to go to the market every day or every other day to get fresh bread, cheese, etc. If I could spend every day sitting around at a market watching people buzz around I think I would. I love the environment and the backpacker friendly food.
3. Go big at lunch, small for dinner.
If you want to eat out go for lunch. You’ll save a ton of money that way and you might even get bigger portions. Also as I’ve learned in Italy this is how people eat in Europe. They eat HUGE lunches and then a very small dinner. The lunch menus are always much cheaper than the dinner menus. Not only is it better for your savings account but it’s also better for your waistline. I love this way of life and I’m definitely going to try and stick with it.
4. Bring some food staples with you.
We heard coffee in Iceland was expensive and it was. So we went to Starbucks and bought some VIA to go packs before we left. It was a great way to save money and still have a morning caffeine fix. We also brought some other staples like breakfast bars and oatmeal. I’m not a big breakfast person but it was nice to have something cheap and quick to munch on instead of buying something mid morning. Plus it came in handy a few times when it was siesta time (all the stores and restaurants are closed) and we were really hungry.
5. Check out the street food.
Yum – street food! In Iceland it’s the hot dog, in Paris it’s crepes and Paninis and in Italy it’s pizza and gelato. Street food is always a cheap way to fill up your tummy quickly. I didn’t partake of the hot dog in Iceland but I definitely had enough paninis and pizza to float a boat for the rest of the trip. In my opinion Paris had the best street food because they sell foot long Paninis for 3 euro each! Not only are they tasty but they are actually filling and you can easy have one for a quick and cheap dinner without feeling hungry a couple of hours later.
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