Traveling and eating out are synonymous with one another. When you’re on the road, you’re not planning meals as you normally would at home, and you typically have less time to prepare anything healthy to eat. Most of the time you opt to eat out at restaurants, fast-food joints, or go for snacks throughout the day rather than full meals. While the convenience of these practices is undeniable, it can have a noticeable effect on your health (and on your wallet). Below are nine helpful tips and strategies to keep your heart healthy and your bank account happy.
1. Shop at Local Grocery Stores
While we typically associate traveling with eating out, you would never eat three meals per day at restaurants if you were at home. Eating out not only costs more than buying from a grocery store, but it also pulls funds away from experiencing the area you’re visiting beyond the local cuisine. You can save a substantial amount of spending money by simply saving 1 or 2 (even 3) meals per day from the grocery store. Plan out your grocery lists for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and leave space for yourself to go out once or twice for each daily meal (so you can still get the local culinary experience). A good hybrid strategy is to find a local market that you can get both groceries and locally grown/distributed items.
2. Try to Avoid Restaurants When Possible
Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, being away from home can mean that eating out at diners and restaurants could be your only option. As mentioned above, eating out can drain your finances fast, and according to an article published on OneCape Health News, those meals may be packing more calories than you may be aware of. In fact, “More than 92 percent of the meals studied exceeded caloric recommendations for a single meal.” So eat out sparingly, because your wallet and your health can be affected adversely.
3. Look for Housing with a Kitchen
Many hotels and Airbnbs have kitchens that are available if requested. While this will not always save you money, you will have greater control over your health and calorie intake. This is also a good way to maintain a natural/specialized diet if you’re looking to eat healthier as well as save money.
4. Pack Smart Snacks
Bring what you can. If you’re able to take a box of healthy granola bars on the plane, you should do so. If you can keep your motor running throughout the day and keep everyday meals small, you’ll be able to control your spending, appetite, and health all at once.
5. Don’t JUST Snack – Eat Full Meals, Too
Even though it’s a great penny saver, it’s not always realistic to pack a full set of snacks and meals for a trip. If you can’t avoid spending money on food as you travel, or if you’re unable to carry snacks with you, make sure to consume real meals. A bag of chips, coffee, a scoop of yogurt, and a piece of fruit can end up costing more than a heartier and more satisfying meal. While it might seem cheaper when you look at the lower prices of each item, it also adds up quickly. Ideally, you’re looking for best value (nutritional and price) which isn’t found in the snack section alone (and especially not in an energy drink).
6. Find a Free Lunch
Many conferences and hotels have some free meal that they’ll give away throughout the day. While you won’t be able to control your diet as easily, this can be a good way to supplement eating out and cooking wit
7. Combine Food with Entertainment
Try to keep an eye out for areas where you can combine your meals with an experience. This doesn’t mean you have to go to a fair or a hotdog stand. You can take a cooking class, or visit a farmer’s market or specialty store. These activities can be a perfect way to ensure cost-effectiveness and personal health/diet.
8. Bring Reusable Water Bottles
This is rather self-explanatory, but the hidden costs of water bottles can add up quickly. Staying hydrated is critically important to living healthy, and can come in handy throughout the day during meals when you’re looking for something to quench your thirst or wash down a sandwich.
9. Find Deals in Advance