1. Drink, drink, drink water -- In many countries tap water can cause serious stomach upsets yet buying easily portable bottled water can become very expensive. Here's one woman's advice. Travel with your own stainless steel reusable water bottle. Not only is it the healthiest choice (no crevices for bacteria to lodge) but it is eco-friendly as well. When possible fill your bottle with water supplied on your breakfast buffet or if you are in one place for a few days, buy a galloon jug of water and refill from there. This last option is much cheaper than buying separate small bottles of water.
2. Carry a large plastic mug and pack some individual packages of oatmeal, hot chocolate and a small supply of 2-minute noodle soups. It's easy to get hot water almost anywhere you are. Simply mix and presto you've saved at least a buck. This tip comes in very handy during long train rides.
3. Have snacks available when you need them -- There are times during the day when your energy wanes and you really need a snack. Buying candy and chocolate bars on the spot make both the calories and expenses soar. Instead visit a bulk food emporium prior to your trip and buy a supply of dried fruits and almonds. Mix, then package in individual portions in plastic snack bags and they are there, at a fraction of the price, when you need them.
4. Cereal bags keep everything fresh -- Save the large empty waxed bags that hold the contents of your cereal boxes. If they keep your cereal fresh for so long they will be great at storing any left-overs from your breakfast plate. This doesn't mean you should be packing a lunch from the breakfast buffet table but if you don't finish that muffin, take it with you. Somewhere around 3:00 PM you'll be glad you did.
5. Picnics are definitely money savers -- They are cheaper and (depending on your choices) healthier than eating in restaurants. Head to the market and have fun picking out a small bread stick (ask for une baguette if you are in France), cheese, cold meat and a small bottle of wine or juice. Oh what a feast you will have! P.S. You know those thin colored plastic tablecloths sold in the party supply section of the dollar store? They have a multitude of uses and are definitely light enough to pop into your pack. Pick your favorite color, pay your four quarters and you now have a tablecloth to cover your hotel bed as you snack and watch TV or for those delightful picnics in the park.
6. Fruit is a healthy and low cost dessert -- On average a pastry will cost you close to $2.00 and it's absolutely filled with sugar. We say, pop into the supermarket pick up your supply of apples and oranges for a day or two. They don't need refrigeration, they cost at least 50% less than cakes and most important of all, they are a healthy choice.
7. If you are yearning for cookies with your coffee, check the supermarket shelves for a store brand packet of tea biscuits. They are always an economical choice. P.S. Next head to the produce department and pick up a small plastic bag. Later put your open box of cookies in that bag to keep the opened package fresh and ready for that next cup of tea or coffee.
8. When out for the evening drink like a local -- When choosing alcoholic beverages, choose the local beers and wines. They're fun to try and you will pay far less than if you order the special imported brands you drink at home.
9. Grilled cheese sandwiches on the go -- My favorite money saving tip for families on the road is to purchase a loaf of whole wheat bread, good cheddar cheese and a roll of tin foil. Back at your hotel wrap the cheddar cheese sandwiches in foil and use the iron in your room to make hearty grilled cheese sandwiches at a fraction of the price you'd pay anywhere else. Add some slices of tart apple to the mix. The kids love 'em!
10. Be an inventive cook -- Pack an easy recipe and cook dinner at a hostel -- Tuna casserole is a cinch to make, the ingredients are inexpensive and the finished product can be shared with new travel friends. You'll not only save money you'll be the star of the hostel.
11. Big splurge restaurants are part of the fun when you travel -- Eating out is enjoyable yet it doesn't have to cost a fortune. Simply trade your big splurge for a business man's lunch rather than a romantic dinner out. Guaranteed you'll be eating the same dishes at a much more affordable price. And, if you are solo you'll be a lot more comfortable.
12. Last minute specials at the market -- Most markets are closed one day of the week and the afternoon before that they put their produce and baked goods up for sale. For example Friday night and Saturday are the Sabbath in Israel. By 2:00 PM on Friday you can get great deals for your next picnic meal.
13. Need a fast, inexpensive meal? -- Don't eat at restaurants that post English menus. These are tourist spots with higher prices. Look for the small spots where the office workers congregate. You'll get hearty food at a lesser price.
14. Finally, don't forget about MacDonalds -- We suggest you stop there for an inexpensive cup of coffee. The brew isn't half bad and you get the added opportunity to use their bathrooms (save on tipping, too) and also to log on to their free WIFI. A great deal!