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Saturday, October 25, 2014

How to Save Money on Food

Eating on on vacation can add up quickly. Sometimes I feel like our bank account drains rather fast when we travel just because we want to eat well. Fortunately, we have figured out ways to save here and there throughout our trip when dining out, so we still have money to sightsee and do other things. Not only do we never go around hungry, but we also try many local foods and enjoy our dining experiences.

Food trucks

Mobile meals are all the rage and getting better in quality all the time. In Portland, we have some of the best food trucks in the nation, but street  food is great to try everywhere. It is cheaper than traditional dining and usually there are several food trucks grouped together, so there's a good variety that should please everyone in your travel group. Tempe, like other cities, has food trucks near the university, but also specific days where all the trucks gather at the farmers market. 

University District

The area around colleges can be a veritable mine of cheap eats and shops. School kids can't afford to spend much, so there's often a good variety of affordable dining. When in Seattle, we stayed in the University district and walked to several great small eateries. 

When I stayed in Tempe, I was not far from the ASU campus. Though the area is bustling with some of the hippest restaurants and nightspots - not really all buddies to your wallet - it also has quite a few gems that are moderately priced and downright cheap. I opted to grab dinner at a little place called Glutton's and was given a choice of ordering off the menu, consisting of Chinese and American dishes, or items on kabobs that were grilled. Not knowing what I was really hungry for, I ordered 5 skewers, a side of rice and a soda. It was fun food and full of flavor and cost me less than $11...for dinner. That's crazy, right? Tempe us full of little finds like that, and so are many other university towns.

Split plates
You gotta eat, but unlike when you eat out at home, you don't always want to take leftovers with you. It's tough to carry your take out box around sightseeing and sometimes you don't have a place to store it or warm it up in your room. Since many places serve you more than you can or should eat, it can be really convenient to split an entree between two of you. Eric and I do this quite often when we travel. It saves us money and helps us not overeat.

Eat breakfast in your room 

I will often book rooms that have kitchens or kitchenettes. I'm not a morning person and would rather spend my time getting ready, checking email and listening to the news. I don't particularly look forward to getting up an hour earlier so I can ho grab breakfast before I'm starting my day. Instead, I hit the grocery store when I get in and purchase quick items for breakfasts: cereal, bagels, eggs & fruit. It's enough to get me going in the morning and last me through lunch, plus it's a lot cheaper than going out to eat (even to Starbucks) everyday.

Another good way to save on food without having to make a grocery run is bustling o book a room that includes breakfast. There are quite a few that now offer hot breakfast instead of just a cold continental, and the rates are not much more than for a regularly priced room. When I was searching rooms to stay in Tempe, even many of the very budget hotels included breakfast and other extras, giving you a better value for your money.

These are just some of my favorite ways to save on food everywhere I go. Find more ways to save on your trip to Tempe, check out the city guide on Hipmunk.

Disclaimer: This post was inspired by my partnership with Hipmunk - a great site to find low hotel rates wherever you travel. #hipmunkcitylove

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