Monday’s Money Saving Tips: Part 8 – Eating Locally

Save money by eating locally

Monday’s Money Saving Tips – Eat Locally

Today’s money saving tip is food related. Now I know some ‘local’ food places may not be the healthiest or tastiest cuisine. BUT you came here to travel and sample the local life and culture, so you need to start off with food. Eat locally.

Save money by eating locally

Eat in local restaurants like this gem of a place in Asuncion, Paraguay

5 Quick Money Saving tips when eating locally:

1. Listen to the Hostel Staff

Eat locally - empanadas in Uruguay

Listen to the hostel staff – they told me about this excellent Empanada takeaway place in Punta Del Este, URUGUAY

If the hostel or hotel you stay in recommend a local restaurant, GO TO IT. Honestly,they are not a marketing or advertising company – they usually know their stuff and they want customer satisfaction so they’ll tell you the best places and tips. Just make sure you tell them you don’t want to spend much money. I use this tactic often, and in most cases, they are close by so you can bring your food back to the hostel to eat.

2. Avoid Popular Tourist Restaurants

eat locally and avoid restaurants full of foreigners

Avoid restaurants with lots of foreigners in them

If you walk past a restaurant and see what appears to be lots of other foreigners or travellers then forget it and avoid it. In most cases this will be a popular tourist restaurant and they will charge a lot more. If you’re not on a budget, fair game, but these types of tourist traps attract new and naive travellers. Avoid them. Your meal two doors down could be half the price! Trust me.

3. Take Local Advice

Local restaurant in Bogota Colombia

My mate Julio took me to this local restaurant in Bogota, COLOMBIA

Cheap local food in Bogota Colombia

Take local advice – Enjoying a cheap local meal in Bogota, COLOMBIA

If a local friend or person tells you about a good, cheap local restaurant, always go there. Even just to check out the menu. If the locals eat there and it’s popular then you should eat there. I find the locals normally want foreigners to try their food. If it’s from a stranger, it’s still good advice, if it’s from a friend, you can guarantee you will enjoy your meal and pay less.

4. Buy Food At Night Markets

get cheap local food from Taiwan night markets

Buy food in Night Markets!! This barbecue feast in Taiwan cost me about 50 US cents!

This is possibly the best tip of them all – grab some really cheap local food from a night market stall and eat it at the hostel. This applies mostly to Asian countries, mainly Taiwan, China, Hong Kong and Malaysia.

local food in Taiwan night markets

Checking out the local food at a Taiwan night market

night market in Shinying Taiwan

An amazing range of fresh barbecued food at a night market in Shinying, TAIWAN

Head to a night market – suss out which one is popular, freshly cooked and that smells good. If it has a queue and the queue is full of locals, join the queue and copy what they buy! I love doing this. Sometimes you end up with random food you’ve never had before.  I have to mention that Taiwan is probably the best place I have ever been for night food markets.

5. Look Out For Promotions

saving money in Vientiane Laos

Eating locally in Vientiane, LAOS – Happy Hour on the beer!

It almost goes without saying but even local places and food markets have their own promotions, like say “6 bits of barbecued meat for a certain price”, “all you can eat rice for X Dollars” or “buy this and this and get a free this”. Be on the lookout for what the locals are doing, and ALWAYS check if things include free drinks. When you eat locally drinks are often included in meals so get checking those options!

In honesty the money saving tips on eating local food are endless and the experiences just amazing. Just take my advice – eat locally and you will be able to save money, meet locals, try new food and also realise what local food you don’t like!

Life’s an adventure, go somewhere without an English menu!!

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