We get asked this quite a bit.
The answer is – it depends.
We don’t eat out 100% of the time when we have this one thing – a refrigerator.
We purchase yogurt, or some foods that can be eaten as snacks, or even store leftovers in a refrigerator. That helps cut down on meals eaten out. It’s not cooking but it’s still a replacement for a meal eaten out.
Then, if we book at a place that offers free or included breakfast, we eat there and then eat our other meals out – unless again, our room has a refrigerator.
When you add a refrigerator or microwave to our room/apartment then we can microwave eggs or even packaged meals. You can heat up leftovers and again, now only 1 or 2 meals a day need to be eaten out.
Next is…if we stay at an AirBnb with a full kitchen. There are some days when we don’t eat out at all and cook all our meals or heat up leftovers.
I can’t remember the last time we stayed somewhere that didn’t have at least a mini-cooler of some sort that keeps food ‘coolish’.
We do usually eat one meal a day out of the house.
It’s very rare that I would book a place without, at the very least, a refrigerator and a hot water carafe. With these two things, we can make our coffee or tea daily, make oatmeal for the kid, keep milk for cereal, get some salad or lunch meats and cheeses for lunch snacks and yogurt for breakfast or a snack.
Groceries and a Budget
Also, we LOVE grocery shopping. If we couldn’t buy anything to try at ‘home’ then that would suck. It’s one thing to just get some apples and bananas for Sebastian but it’s another to see some delicious sausages or meats that we want to try and be unable to.
You would think that we save money by eating in. Sometimes we do and sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we buy too much food for the fridge and then eat out more than we thought we would and then we have to throw it all away when we move to another location. This happens more that we’d like to admit.
Shawn and I each have monthly budgets for our own food. Mine is higher because I also get all of Sebastian’s food and snacks. We have pretty high budgets because eating around the world is important to us. Trying new things can cost a bit especially when you maybe don’t like the new food or perhaps fall in love and get more.
Our good budget may seem obscene to some but to others you may think it’s low or even perfect.
Currently, Shawn gets $775 USD and I get $900. That’s a total monthly food budget of $1675. We spent more than this a month traveling with Sam and Alex and when we lived in Seattle our monthly food budget was between 1500-2000k depending on the month and what kind of diet we were all on. This works out to about $25 a day and includes tip money as most countries do expect tipping…except in SE Asia and Japan. We still tip anyway though (not in Japan cuz its considered rude apparently). There is also a bit of padding should we want to use some of the money for massages or other things if we keep our spending low. It’s kind of a game we play sometimes. How can I get massages by eating less?
We had food budgets with the kids too. For the 16 months we traveled the world with Sam and Alex, we all had a daily food budget and they had to manage their money daily and weekly, as did we. It helped them to stop asking us for lattes, and snacks and big meals that they didn’t end up finishing. It worked brilliantly for our family budget and also I. Teaching them (and ourselves really) how to manage our money better.
So, so we cook while traveling?
Yup. Certainly not like I use to when we had our own kitchen and all the spices and pantry items needed to bake or to prepare meals like lasagna or make my own pizza from scratch but, we certainly cook.
This is what I made Sebastian and I for breakfast. Hot dogs and Eggs. The hot dogs aren’t the same as they are in the states. These are more like a sausage. We have Sea salt, Pepper and Cinnamon as staples we travel with and purchase Butter and Olive oil when needed. The other night I made Butter Chicken with Balsamic Vinegar – YUM. Just butter, salt, pepper, chicken and the Vinegar. Delicious.
Our lives are not a vacation. We are simply location independent and hop around but still work each day (at least a little), play with our toddler who also needs a nap each day, sometimes want to be homebodies or need lots of fresh air. We love to walk for a couple of hours each day exploring our neighborhoods and cities or even beach towns we are in. We can’t always take food with us and honestly, we don’t want to do picnics all the time. We like seeing something in a window, purchasing it and then sitting on a bench outside in the sun enjoying it. We love the flexibility of the system we have in place and it suits us perfectly.
Do you cook while you travel or avoid it at all costs because it’s a vacation?