10 Ways to Eat Well, Lose Weight, and Save Money While Traveling

Monday, May 16, 2011 

Hello Everyone, athens wifey of a roadie

As usual, I’m in a hotel room. It’s 10:21 p.m. here in Salt Lake City and I’m hungry. After writing this, I’m eating leftover Chinese and Indian food. I know it’s late but I huffed it for an extra 10 minutes on the treadmill today at the hotel gym and I’ve been controlling my portions.

When you are the wife of a roadie you really need to buckle down on your eating habits. Between the places you visit around the world and the delectable delights served at each locale – you’re bound to gain some weight and lose some money. In a perfect world, the opposite would happen but we all know this is far from a perfect world.

For the most part though while traveling, my husband and I have managed to enjoy local fare while at the same time NOT breaking our wallets or necessarily our diets (which is basically a everything-in-moderation-diet). So here are some Wifey of a Roadie tips for how to enjoy eating while on vacation, save some money, and maybe even lose a few pounds.

wifey of a roadie

Tips to Live Well While Traveling

1. Walk – How else did my husband and I actually lose a few pounds in Rome, which might as well be the pasta capitol of the world. No kidding, we ate lots of pasta and a few extras like pizza and gelato and we still lost weight. Anyways, Rome is really a city to get lost in and tour on foot. Walking is the best way to explore a city and it saves you money on transportation fees!

2. Share – Whenever we can, my husband and I share our food. Most of the time, portions are huge anyway. This also cuts down on cost and calories! Recently, in Salt Lake City, my husband and I split a salmon dinner and a slice of raspberry cheesecake. We were satisfied and guilt-free. Cost: About $20 for what could have easily been a $40 dinner if we had ordered individual entrees and desserts.

P.S. We generally don’t share if we’re splurging on a fancy dinner at a fancy restaurant (this we do at least once during our vacations). We just don’t feel comfortable asking for an extra plate at a fancy place (plus we usually want to order different things) but we do take away our leftovers if we can – see point number 7.

3. Snack – When you’re on the go, snacking is really the way to go. In Hawaii, where we did a lot of hiking, swimming, and walking, we pretty much survived on Macadamia nuts that we bought from local convenience stores. This kept us fueled and filled during the day. Then, at night, we ate decent-sized dinners. Snacking on small meals throughout the day helps control your weight and your budget.

4. Street Food – Food vendors on the street offer an inexpensive way to taste local eats. New York, of course, has awesome street food you can’t totally experience New York City without a good ‘ole New York hot dog. The roasted peanuts are also good – both as a protein-rich snack and for keeping your hands warm on a cold New York day.

5.  McDonald’s – If you’re traveling internationally and see a McDonald’s don’t pass it up. Often times, McDonald’s tries to incorporate local food into their menu. For example, in Germany, the breakfast sausages were definitely German. In Hawaii, the McDonald’s had the traditional Spam, eggs, and rice Hawaiian breakfast as well as a Taro pie. Try street food and McDonald’s and save a few bucks. Share what you buy at these places and cut a few calories while saving even more money.

6. Grocery Stores and Convenience Stores – are awesome places to grab snacks and drinks at a fraction of the price. In London, the small grocery store across the street from my fancy five-star hotel was where I oftentimes went for lunch and dinner. At the store I spent, what would have been (at the most) the equivalent to 5 U.S. Dollars, for a decent sized pre-packaged portion of pasta with fresh mozzarella and basil. The same dinner ordered at the hotel would easily have been about 15 U.S. Dollars. If the weather is nice, take your food to a nearby park, eat it there, and take a stroll afterwards. You’re eating good and staying fit!

7. Hotel Refrigerators are Your Friends – If there is a refrigerator in our hotel room, my husband and I have at least one leftover dinner when we travel. Score a refrigerator and a microwave in your hotel room and you are totally set. Actually, we’ve sometimes made use of the mini-bar fridge (there’s a trick to cramming leftovers in there without moving its contents and tripping the “charge-to-your-room” alarm but I don’t recommend doing this unless you really know what you’re doing).

Anyways, saving your leftovers and eating them later is another way to save money on food when traveling but this also means that you don’t finish all your dinner at the restaurant. Remember, eating smaller portions a few times a day is better for weight control and your digestive system compared to having one huge meal a day. So save some for later!

8. The Hotel has a Gym so Use It – You’re paying for it people so you might as well use it. If anything, at least stop in the hotel gym to see if there are any complimentary bottles of water or fresh fruit for the taking. The gym at The London in New York had refrigerated bottles of water. The US Grant Hotel in San Diego and The Waikiki Edition in Hawaii had both free water and free fruit. Do a little bit of exercising then grab a bottle of water and an apple and there you go – instant calorie burn and no-cost snack!

9. Stairs – If you can, take them. It’s so simple but at some point (more than likely many points) during your travels you’ll come across stairs. Going up and down staircases increases your calorie burn.  So skip the escalators and elevators and hit those steps instead!

10. Complimentary Hotel Breakfast – You may be tempted to sleep in but don’t skip this very important meal especially if it’s free. Having a good breakfast will keep you fueled throughout the day and keep you from overeating during lunch. When planning a vacation, look to stay in hotels that serve a complimentary breakfast.

The Hotel Modigliani in Rome had a complimentary breakfast to die for with prosciutto, freshly squeezed juices, just-out-of-the-oven breads and sliced cheeses. My husband and I are not morning people but you betcha we got our butts out of bed early every morning to eat that breakfast! That’s one meal down and zero dollars spent!

Wifey of a Roadie – sitting down to eat some leftovers!