How To Eat Cheaply While Staying at a Hotel

If you travel for work or leisure often, you will likely spend a lot of time in hotels. Staying in hotels is relaxing and luxurious, but it can be expensive, especially for food. But you can save a lot of money if you know where to find your meals.

Here’s how to eat cheaply while staying at a hotel:

  1. Look for all-inclusive/ bed and breakfast deals.
  2. Search for a room with a kitchen.
  3. Go grocery shopping.
  4. Bring food from home.
  5. Avoid the minibar.
  6. Look for a hotel with a buffet.
  7. Ask for doggy bags if you eat at the restaurant.
  8. Check out the nearby fast-food restaurants.
  9. Avoid tourist areas.
  10. Bring a refillable water bottle.
  11. Bartering in other countries.
  12. Sample local street food.
  13. Talk to the locals.

Keep reading to learn more in detail about the tricks and tips that can help save you a fortune while staying at a hotel or traveling to a new city. These tips can help you save while still making the most out of your trip.

1. Look for All-Inclusive/ Bed and Breakfast Deals

Many hotels offer deals that include the cost of eating and drinks included in the room price. When all food and beverages are included in the room price, it is known as all-inclusive. But when only breakfast is included in the meal, the deal will be advertised as a bed and breakfast.

Making use of a bed and breakfast deal can save you a fortune. Hotels often have large breakfast stations full of delicious options for you to enjoy, which is a great way to fill your belly before you start your day.

As food is included as part of the bed and breakfast or an inclusive deal, you can save a fortune by eating at your hotel, as the cost of the room has already covered your meals.

2. Search for a Room With a Kitchen

The next thing to keep in mind when you are booking accommodation is a kitchen, which can save a fortune on your food expenses.

In some cities, finding a room with a kitchen can be a difficult task. However, you will still be able to find a room with a microwave and a fridge, which will be enough to reheat pre-cooked meals that you can buy in the store or bring from home.

Using a kitchen to cook or even reheat food is a great way to avoid overpaying at the hotel restaurant. A kitchen also allows you to eat cheap food that you enjoy. While a room with a kitchen may be more expensive to rent, the money you save on food with a kitchen is significant.

3. Go Grocery Shopping

The best way to save money while staying at a hotel is to use the local shops and markets. Going grocery shopping when you first check-in is a great way to get yourself set up for your stay.

You can buy snacks, soft drinks, and alcoholic beverages at a much lower price at a grocery store or local market. You can also purchase fresh ingredients for you to cook with if your room has a kitchen.

Going grocery shopping is also a fantastic way to absorb the culture and experience new ways of living. Depending on where you are traveling, you may find some exciting items while wandering around the markets and grocery stores.

You may even find a new type of food to try that you have not tried before.

4. Bring Food From Home

If you are going on a short trip to a hotel, one way that you can save a significant amount on food is by bringing food from home. Frozen meals can easily be reheated and enjoyed in your hotel.

Canned foods and pre-cooked meals are also beneficial as they can be reheated in the room’s microwave or stove. Pre-cooked rice is delicious food to bring with you to a hotel as it is easy to reheat and very versatile.

You can also bring snacks and soft drinks from home. These items are often overpriced at a nice hotel, so you can avoid paying too much for your favorite food and beverages.

5. Avoid the Minibar

The minibar in a hotel room is one of the most expensive aspects of staying in a hotel. If you are on a budget, you should avoid the minibar at all costs. Drinks and snacks that cost $1 in the store can easily cost over $2, or more, in a minibar.

The minibar may be a convenient and easy source of snacks and drinks, but convenience usually comes with a cost. The hotel minibar can quickly lead to an expensive bill when you go to check out.

To avoid unexpected expenses and enjoy an economical stay at a hotel, stay away from the minibar.

6. Look for a Hotel With a Buffet

Many hotels around the world offer buffet meals throughout the day. These meals usually have a cover charge that you have to pay before you can eat. However, once the cover charge has been paid, you can eat as much as you like.

Hotel buffets are a great way to save on food if you visit an expensive city or region. This is because you can pay for one meal and eat an entire day’s worth of food. While this is not the healthiest way to eat while traveling, it can be very affordable. And you can find some healthy options in almost any buffet.

A buffet also provides you with access to a wide variety of foods and drinks, which means that you can enjoy your favorite bites to eat without having to spend a fortune.

7. Ask for a Doggy Bag if You Eat at the Restaurant

Most restaurants in the United States allow customers to take leftover food home in what is known as a doggy bag. However, some restaurants might have an issue with this practice.

When you travel to a new destination, check out which restaurants allow you to bring food home later. This means that if you go out for a meal during your stay, you won’t have to worry about finishing every bite of your dinner. Instead, you can stretch one meal into two by saving the bits you haven’t eaten for the next meal.

This is not the cheapest way to eat while staying in a hotel, but you can still reduce expenses by saving a part of your meal for another meal.

8. Check Out the Nearby Fast Food Restaurants

Depending on where you are in the world, fast-food chains are likely to be one of the cheapest places to eat. In Europe and North America in particular, fast food chains such as McDonald’s and KFC have a menu filled with cheap food.

You can find burgers and chicken nuggets for just a few dollars in fast food chains. They are also readily available almost anywhere on earth. As long as you stay in a city, you won’t have to look far to find a cheap and delicious fast food place.

If you are staying far away from home and beginning to feel homesick, fast food restaurants can also provide you with a comforting reminder of life at home.

Of course, fast food restaurants have a reputation for not being very healthy. As a result, you may want to avoid eating fast food every day, especially traveling for an extended period. However, you can still enjoy some fast food from time to time without ill effects on your health.

9. Avoid Tourist Areas

Cities that receive many tourists each year will change their prices and expenses to make more money off of travelers. Areas with high concentrations of tourists are far more expensive than other places that tourists don’t know about.

These areas with high tourist concentration are known as tourist traps.

Tourist traps are expected at any popular holiday destination, so to avoid these areas, get a taxi or public transport away from the city center and tourist attractions. This allows you to escape the tourist prices.

You will find local restaurants outside of these pricey tourist areas. These restaurants will not only be cheaper, but they will have authentic food enjoyed by locals of the city that you are visiting.

Leaving the tourist areas will allow you to enjoy an affordable meal while experiencing the city’s authentic culture. This will significantly enhance your travel experience, and you are saving money while doing so.

10. Bring a Refillable Water Bottle

One expense that many travelers do not account for is drinking water. A water bottle may only cost a few cents to a couple of dollars, depending on where you visit. However, you are likely to drink more than one bottle of water every day.

The cost of all of these bottles of water can quickly accumulate to a lot of money throughout your stay.

You can avoid this by bringing a refillable water bottle, which can be refilled at any water fountain or drinking water tap that you find. You can avoid paying dollars per day on the water by packing a reusable bottle in your bag.

Refillable water bottles also reduce your reliance on single-use plastics, as they are a significant issue for the environment as they are causing severe harm to the oceans.

Therefore using a refillable water bottle is an environmentally friendly option for staying hydrated.

11. Bartering In Other Countries

Bartering is a very effective way to cut down on the cost of your food while staying at a hotel. However, bartering is not culturally accepted everywhere. For example, you can’t barter over the price of your meal in an expensive New York restaurant.

Bartering is customary in many cultures, particularly in markets and developing nations. If you are traveling in countries like Thailand or Vietnam, you should rely on your bartering skills. In countries where you can barter, you can negotiate a lower price.

In some cases, you can buy food for significantly less money if you are effective at bartering.

12. Sample the Local Street Food

In many countries, street food is trendy and common. Food purchased from street vendors is almost always affordable and delicious.

Some travelers are wary of trying street food in case they get a bout of traveler’s tummy. There are a few ways that you can avoid this from happening. One way to ensure that the street food is safe to eat and enjoyable is by visiting the vendors that have lines of people waiting to eat.

Only the best street vendors have long lines of both tourists and locals.

Street food is almost always authentic local cuisine. Therefore, if you wish to experience the culinary culture without paying to visit expensive restaurants, street food might be your best choice.

13. Talk to the Locals

The last trick to saving money on food while staying at a hotel is by speaking to the locals. Local people know where to get good food at an affordable price. They will also be able to provide you with insight on where to visit and where to avoid.

This is crucial information if you are traveling on a budget.

The only problem with this trick is that the language barriers can prevent you from effectively communicating with the locals that you meet while traveling.

If you speak the language of wherever you are visiting, make sure you ask a local person to give you the ins and outs of where to visit while in town. If you don’t speak the language, be sure to seek out locals that can understand you and see if they can offer directions.

Final Thoughts

Eating cheaply while staying at a hotel can be a difficult task for travelers to master.

The best way to eat cheap while staying at a hotel is to choose a room that allows you to cook or at least reheat your meals. You also might want to search for accommodation deals that provide you with meals included in your stay.

Another great way to reduce your food expenses is by making use of the local facilities and amenities. Fast food restaurants, grocery stores, street food vendors, and markets are all great ways to save on food while traveling.


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