I track every penny I spend because this is the only way I can effectively travel on a budget. As I mentioned in my three-part post, The secret to living as a nomad, minimising expenses and managing your money are necessary if you want to travel this way.
I want to show you how much I spend on food while travelling through Europe to give you a better perspective about the cost of healthy whole foods. Healthy eating is my priority no matter where I am so I will pay whatever costs necessary. Fortunately, eating primarily fruits and veggies while travelling is affordable! Being vegan isn’t expensive.
My food expenses for July.
July included time spent in Berlin (July 1-6), two weeks in Palma (July 6-20), and Barcelona (July 20-31).
I spent €346 on groceries (~£296 or $390).
These are the foods I purchased followed by a number representing how many times I purchased that item. Sometimes I purchased bags of peaches in one go, so the number doesn’t represent how many peaches I bought, instead it represents how many times I purchased them. I hope that makes sense! This is to show you which foods I ate the most. Fruits and veggies were my main staples and at that time I was still eating gluten-free pasta, rice, and other HCLF treats like puffed corn cakes.
- watermelon 28
- grapes 24
- cherries 14
- peaches 13
- orange juice / fruit juice 9
- melon 5
- oranges 4
- bananas 2
- strawberries 1
- dates 1
- date rolls 1
- broccoli 10
- mushrooms 4
- tomatoes 4
- green beans 3
- potatoes 2
- carrots 2
- cucumber 1
- asparagus 1
- tomato sauce 8
- puffed corn cakes 6
- gluten-free pasta 5
- hummus 4
- rice 2
- gluten-free bread 1
- Trek Bar 1
Total money spent on food for July = €411 (~£352 or $464).
How does this compare to food expenses elsewhere?
While living in Scotland, I spent around £400 per month on food (~€510 or $580), including groceries, eating out (twice per month), and occasional decaf lattes.
During my first week in Berlin, I spent €128 on food (including eating out). Around €24 of this total was for eating out. If I spent an entire month in Berlin, I could expect to spend close to €512. This assumes I would keep eating out at the same frequency.
I tracked my spending in Berlin for a week but I don’t have any record of my food expenses while I was in Poland. My phone was stolen in Berlin and I didn’t feel like tracking my spending the old-fashioned way with pen and paper.
But in general, produce was much cheaper in Poland than produce in the UK (or in Germany). My boyfriend and I spent roughly 60 złoty per day (~£11, €13, or $15) on food for both of us. That’s about half of what we’d spend in the UK. (Check out my Two weeks in Poland. summary for more details.)
It’s important to note that I don’t travel as if I’m on holiday, meaning eating out is never a focus of mine and meals are prepared at home or simply eaten on the go (if the meal is simply fresh fruit). This should only serve as a guide if you eat similarly. If you eat out regularly, drink alcohol and coffee, however, expect to spend much more on food while travelling.
How to spend even less on food.
Spending around €400 for food for the entire month isn’t bad! I could have spent less, though. Here are some suggestions if you’re also looking to trim your food budget while travelling.
Avoid eating out completely. Unless you are made of money, quit eating out! Eating out is expensive and the portions are terribly small. I spent too much money eating out in July. All those frosty treats were delicious but I could have survived without them.
Shop around and compare prices. I rarely shop around for the cheapest prices because I can’t be bothered. Usually, I carry all my groceries on my back so I’d rather walk to the closest shop for produce. If you have a car and more time to spend in one location, comparing prices would be to your advantage. Supermarket chains like Lidl and Aldi (or Hofer) are good options with cheap, tasty produce and vegan staples.
Eat more cheap staples. My food expenses could be even less if I incorporated more cheap staples like rice, beans, and potatoes into my diet. This is something to consider if you are thinking of travelling as a vegan.
August is nearly over and I’ve spent €337 (~£289 or $381) on food. My food expenses for August will be much less since I didn’t eat out a single time. I also purchased less pasta, rice, and other non-produce items this month since I made the transition to a fully raw diet almost three weeks ago. I expect my food expenses to be even less for the month of September since I will only be purchasing raw fruits and veggies.
Stay tuned for more posts like this! I hope you find them informative.