I travel solo often. Even on organized tours, I often wander off on my own during free time. When it comes to meals, I learned a great tip long ago from the Boogie Down Bronx Twins — eat local and save yourself some cash.
I was talking with a colleague recently who talked about his long-ago trip to Venice. He described a restaurant right near St. Mark’s Square which had different prices depending on which section you sat in. The closer to the water, the more expensive the prices. His meal would have been less expensive if he had sat in the back. Regardless of what he spent, he probably spent much more than he should have. The restaurant that he described sounded familiar. I think I passed it on my way to a better, less expensive option further into the city of Venice.
I’m not necessarily frugal, so this blog won’t be filled with many tips on how to save. However, food is an easy cost to control. The best way to do that is skip the hotel restaurants and the tourist areas. If you wander even a few streets over from the tourist areas, you will find clean and (usually) safe places to eat for a fraction of the cost.
I meandered along the lanes in Venice, hoping to stumble across a bar that I heard Hemingway used to frequent. Failing to find the bar, I continued down lanes and over bridges. I took random twists and turns (don’t try this if you get lost easily; I don’t), and allowed my whims to lead me. I ended up at a vice nice pizzeria and enjoyed a salad and glass of Prosecco for a fraction of the cost I would have paid closer to St. Mark’s Square. Do you want to know what the bonus was? It was uncrowded and quiet. I had time to rest, relax, and recharge. When I made it back to St. Mark’s Square to rejoin the tour, I was in much better shape than my fellow tour takers who had to wait a long time for overpriced food in restaurants smack dab in the tourist area.
The next time you find yourself in a foreign country, save yourself some aggravation and cash and get away from the tourist areas. You might save enough euro, pounds, francs, or rubles to bring a souvenir back for me.