You took the days off work, booked a sweet place to stay, made a reservation at that restaurant Bon Appetit ranked the coolest in town AND mapped out the way to the best gelato place for dessert. You’ve planned it all out and you’re ready to tackle your vacation like a foodie champion.
But let’s be real, you deserve better than that mini danish at the hotel’s continental breakfast, and eating three meals a day out gets pricey and causes restaurant fatigue. It can all leave you feeling slightly over-buttered and over-salted.
With just a little extra thought, it’s easy to stay healthy, savor your meals out and save some cash while travelling.
Here are my 5 tried and tested travel tips for eating healthy on the cheap:
- Air Bnb
If you haven’t checked it out yet, now’s the time. Fabes and I have stayed at Air Bnb apartments in Melbourne, London, Paris, Manhattan and Brooklyn (and are booked at places in New Orleans and Charleston next month) and we’ve always had great experiences. It’s typically much cheaper than a mediocre hotel in a major city and you have access to a kitchen and a neighborhood where locals actually live. It’s a win from all angles.
- Make your own breakfast
Assuming you’re a breakfast person (please say you are), an Air Bnb rental makes this super easy. You’ll likely have access to a fridge, stove and microwave — so hit the closest grocery store and get yogurt, fruit, eggs, oatmeal — you know, whatever your favorites are. Stuff like this is way cheaper to make at home than buying out, and just as good. But don’t forget to treat yourself to a killer brunch if the opportunity presents itself (it is two meals in one, after all. And there are usually mimosas.)
A fun and cheap lunch (or even dinner) option if the weather’s nice and you’re in a beautiful place. Just pack a couple of essentials like a fork and knife and maybe some sea salt and pick some things up a market while you’re out and about. A recent picnic on the fly involved a quick trip to the grocery store where I bought fresh bread rolls, hummus, cucumber, tomato, spinach and an avocado. It all came together in a cheap and easy veggie sandwich with some extra crudites and dip. Cheese and olives are also welcome additions to this scenario.
- Easy Dinners/Nights In
If I’m staying anywhere for longer than two or three nights, a night in can be the most welcome option. Going to great restaurants is one of my favorite things, but I love the fact that it’s usually a special event. Keep it fresh by planning a chill night in with a bit of lighter fare — make a big protein-packed salad or heat up a store-bought vegetable soup and trick it out with some spinach, chickpeas and chili flakes. Shop the local farmer’s market to get inspired.
- Carry snacks with you
On all-day discover-thons in a new city it’s just good sense to bring water and snacks. When my blood sugar dips, things can get out of hand quickly. I’m talking crossing the line from my normal level of sass straight into snappy territory. Packing some trail mix or fruit keeps hunger and arguments at bay until you find that super cute cafe that’s down a laneway with no visible signage. Hanger is real. Prevent it where you can.
What are your favorite travel tips (healthy or not)? Do you have any tips for my first trip to Charleston, SC? Tell me in the comments!