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Aside from airfare and accommodations, for many, one of the largest expenses when traveling is food. Many travelers often spend way too much money on eating out and half the time, it’s not even good or authentic food. That’s why earlier this year, I covered this topic in this article: Rick Steves’ Advice For Finding the Best Places to Eat in Europe and Not Getting Ripped Off

Well, Rick has shared another important tip that most travel experts, including me, practice. Rick posted on X, formerly known as Twitter: “When I travel, I enjoy a trip to the supermarket & the efficiency and economy of not spending time and money at restaurants every meal. I just relax in my room with a picnic dinner — or fancy it up by dining in a nearby park or lively square.

When I used to travel the world solo I rarely had a picnics in my room since I wanted to be social. But once I got married and had kids, my wife and I started having “carpet picnics” in our hotel room or a real picnic in a park or on a beach on a regular basis.

We do it for a number of reasons including the fact that it saves a ton of money. But the other reasons are that it’s much more relaxing as we don’t have to worry about the kids running around at a restaurant (though they rarely do), it’s a local experience as we either go to the grocery store or a farmer’s market (one of our favorite things to do) and it’s a lot healthier as we know exactly what we’re eating. My wife always travels with a portable kettle so that she can make her own tea but also so she can quickly make ramen noodles for the kids. She says that this portable travel kettle has saved us a small fortune on overpriced tea and coffee (she doesn’t trust the cleanliness of the kettles and coffeemakers in hotel rooms) and on food for the kids. You can read her full story about it here.

This is another reason why when we travel, we prefer accommodations with a kitchen, kitchenette or at minimum, a mini-fridge and a microwave. This way, we have food on the fly for our little ones (ages 4 and 6) because they tend to eat a lot and eat often. It’s also reason number 20 why we loved going on a cruise this summer.

We’re obviously not the only ones who travel like this.

Samantha Brown gave the Travel Channel this tip, “Locate the best public park for an afternoon picnic. Young kids can play on the equipment, older kids can kick a ball or throw a Frisbee, and adults can sit down and relax.”

JT and Katie Genter, both popular travel bloggers, commented on Rick’s tweet with: “This is such a critical part of Katie and my travels! We love checking out the local grocery store as you can learn so much about the local culture by what’s stocked – from endless cheeses in Bulgaria and aisles of baguettes in France to every fruit imaginable in Turkey.”

Since Rick is a household name for so many Americans I wrote about some of his other important travel tips:
Rick Steves’ Advice For Finding the Best Places to Eat in Europe and Not Getting Ripped Off
Rick Steves Got Pickpocketed in Paris: Here’s What He Wants You to Know
Why You Should Wear a Money Belt When You Travel

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2 Comments On "The Unsurprising Way Travel Experts Save Money on Food When Traveling and Have a Local Experience"
  1. Gayle Haye|

    The travel tea kettle is such a great idea thank you so much! 😊

  2. Barbara|

    I may have missed it, but I didn’t see one important tip. Most European markets indoor or outdoor do not like you to touch their products. Just ask for what you want. Some places now have disposable gloves by the fruits and veggies, but not many.

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