You heard me. When traveling, I absolutely love and adore a grocery store meal. Wandering the aisles, looking at all the products I’d never dreamed existed (Green tea sandwich cookies? Don’t mind if I do!), and picking out my own special hodge-podge of a meal leaves me positively giddy. It also, incidentally, leaves me with a whole lot more cash in my pocket than I might otherwise have, which is probably the greater cause of my giddiness. Guys, I'm a tightwad, okay? Saving schemes are more exciting to me than the prospect of an NSYNC reunion. And I REALLY like NSYNC. Like a lot. Like more than is normal for a 34 year old.
Anyway, grocery store lunches are a major part of my cheap travel MO. Typically, George and I try to stay at a hotel or a B&B that includes breakfast so that we can stuff our faces in the morning (free!), eat a cheap grocery store lunch ($10 -$15), and then have the freedom to enjoy a dinner and a pint at a cozy local spot ($35 - $40) and still make it home under budget.
That said, when we budget for vacations, we usually factor in about $25 bucks per person a day for food, depending on where we’re traveling. It’s ambitious, but what can I say? I’m cheap and I like to travel, so I don’t have the luxury of like cackling wildly while throwing back spoons of $400-an-ounce caviar and demanding that the maître d bring me another bottle of champagne. (Not that that wouldn't be awesome ... and more than a little gross.)
So while my culinary recommendations might not be quite as civilized as those from others, that’s just fine with me. I’ll go right ahead and recommend you go for the grocery store baguette and brie in Paris, the convenience store wine and cured jamon in Barcelona, and I’ll toss in a container of to-go baked ziti from Marks & Spencer in London for good measure. Give it a try—it not only saves you money, it also provides a little cheap-food-scavenger-hunt adventure along the way. Bon appetite!
Come on, admit it. You love poking around non-familiar grocery stores, too. Any faves?