These last few months have been a whirlwind of travel! I drove to Los Angeles for a wine event, flew to Hawaii in early October on vacation, jetted to Santa Barbara for my mom’s birthday, and just came back from Lake Tahoe yesterday for another wine event. When I was sitting at the airport yesterday, my stomach grumbled at me, “get me some healthy food!”
When you eat well on a regular basis, it can be tough on your stomach (not to mention your wallet!) to eat out all of the time. Restaurants use fats you may not be used to eating — and much more of them. You’ll likely be eating fewer fruits and vegetables and your fiber intake will likely plummet. So short of carrying all of your own meals, how can you save your stomach and bank account?
Here’s my list of top ten ways to eat cheaply and healthfully when traveling
- Think like a kid. When ordering room service, look for the items on the kids’ menu. Portions are often smaller and cheaper. Avoid the fries and burgers and look for items like pasta with marinara sauce.
- Avoid the hotel deli/snack shop and stop by a grocery store before you check in. Stock up on fruits, trail mix and cereal. If your hotel room has a little fridge, opt for some yogurt. Perfect for a quick, healthy breakfast!
- Pack your own lunch. If you have a little fridge, you can get some cold cuts, bread and cheese for quick sandwiches. If you don’t, peanut butter and jelly can be left unrefrigerated for days. Add some fruit and trail mix/granola bars and you’ve saved yourself another overpriced meal.
- Mix your own tropical drinks. If you’re craving a mojito, buy the tiny one-serving liquor bottles they often sell at tourist shops, add some Seven-Up and some mint from the grocery store. Add a little ice, and voila, you’ve saved yourself $15 at the hotel bar.
- Split it. Traveling with someone? Split the entree and add a large salad to your meal.
- Choose one of out three: bread, wine, dessert. If you choose the wine, skip dessert and ask that the bread basket be taken away. Likewise for the other choices.
- Do it the French way. Craving a latte at Starbucks or Peet’s? Try a cafe au lait — it’s like a latte, but made with drip instead of espresso. Often a couple bucks cheaper.
- Check out the local wine shop. Restaurants often mark up wines two or three times. Save your money and buy a good bottle of wine before settling in to eat. But always call ahead and ask about corkage. Some restaurants charge up to $65!
- Pack grub before you fly. Sure, you could get greasy, over-priced food at the airport before you fly, or you could get a nice little meal packed at home. You choose.
- Snooze in a condo. Staying somewhere for a week? Opt to rent a condo (Vacation rentals by owner – VRBO.com) instead of a hotel. Cooking a few meals in can save you big bucks.