Along with home swapping as a way to save money on travel, another money saver is to bring food and water with you while traveling. I always pack food when we head out for a day at the beach, a bike ride or while on a home exchange to another country. With a baguette, cheese, dried meat, fruit from a local market, and a water container, you’ve got a picnic in your backpack and you can skip the high cost of going out to eat for every meal.
I’m not saying I don’t like to go to a restaurant or coffee shop to sit and people watch while traveling, it’s just I don’t like to pay for food items on a menu that I can easily make at home or pick-up and have with me for an impromptu picnic or meal. Feeding a family while on the road can be expensive if you have to eat at a restaurant 3 times a day. I try and plan for meals that are portable, simple, and healthy wherever we’re traveling and then splurge on a restaurant meal for a treat. Or splurge on dessert!
Frugal Travel Eating
These were some pot-stickers we splurged on in San Francisco. They were so good and delicious and not something I make at home. This was an afternoon snack and not an entire meal at a restaurant. A snack at a restaurant or small lunch is another way to indulge in restaurant food without going overboard on the expenses.
Water: A water container and cups or water bottles for each person. When our kids were little, I’d keep a thermos of water in my backpack and carry small plastic cups. Small cups also help if kids haven’t mastered the drinking fountain if you’re traveling with young children.
Peanut butter: Don’t leave home without it. Peanut butter (or your nut butter of choice) is an easy lunch with bread and fruit. It’s an instant picnic and no one will starve with a quick peanut butter sandwich.
Don’t try to carry on peanut butter on an airplane. It doesn’t pass the TSA screening and I nearly cried when I watched my organic peanut butter jar get tossed into the garbage can on a trip not too long ago. (Local food banks should have a donation bins at every airport for just this reason!) If checking luggage, tuck it in there. If only bringing carry-on (very smart of you! ), just buy some when you arrive at your destination.
Also, I always go for the plastic jar of peanut butter when packing it. I don’t want any broken items in my luggage.
The picture below is a trip we took to Long Island, Bahamas with our good friends. We went to the local bakery – otherwise known as Miss Ophelia’s home – where she bakes bread in her kitchen and keeps more goats in her yard than I’ve ever seen! We were there for an hour hearing stories about her life and adventures and left with the best tasting bread ever.
Wooden knife: Ok, it’s not really a knife but is more of a spreader but it works to cut most items or is it more of a dig into most items? Either way its useful when spreading peanut butter or for slicing soft cheeses. It also gets through security at the airport so let’s call it a spreader, shall we?
Dried fruit: Dried fruit fills in for us if we’re camping and can’t hit a market and we need something from the fruit and vegetable food group. Be sure to check ingredients on the packaging if buying. Often times, sweeteners and preservatives are added.
Those are the secret foods in my backpack for keeping my family fed.
What are the secret foods in your backpack?
Go Gingham related links:
Our first home exchange is here
Travel packing tips with a PDF chart are here
Frugal travel in San Francisco, CA is here
Home swapping and how to prepare your home for one
Vacation meal planning
Meal planning for campers
When traveling, I love to home exchange because it’s frugal and fun
You can sign-up for InterVac Home Exchange service by clicking the image below. Type in the name “TETREAULT” at checkout and receive $5.00 off your membership. InterVac is short for International Vacation but you can do exchanges within your own country as well. This is the website we’ve used for all 8 of our home exchanges. 4 of our home swaps have been in the US and 4 have been in Europe. If you’d like me to speak to your group or organization about home swapping, frugal living with style or blogging, please check here.