How much do I spend on food while travelling?

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.

Fruit

  • 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

Veggies

  • broccoli 10
  • mushrooms 4
  • tomatoes 4
  • green beans 3
  • potatoes 2
  • carrots 2
  • cucumber 1
  • asparagus 1

Miscellaneous

  • tomato sauce 8
  • puffed corn cakes 6
  • gluten-free pasta 5
  • hummus 4
  • rice 2
  • gluten-free bread 1
  • Trek Bar 1

Eating out

I ate out quite a bit in July. I spent €65 (~£56 or $73) on lots of gelato cones from Cream Crew in Palma, popsicles, smoothies, and lunch at Petit Brot in Barcelona.

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.

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Goodbye Berlin, until we meet again.

I can’t believe I’m already a month into this six month Euro trip! I feel like I left Scotland a week ago and I am definitely not one to complain about time moving quickly.

Tomorrow morning I say goodbye to Berlin and head to the island of Mallorca. I’m excited to move on, mainly because I hope my allergies will fare better on an island but also because I’m looking forward to meeting more people on this journey. I’ll be living with at least one other woman during my two weeks in Palma, Mallorca, and plan to meet up with several other vegans.

The past month flew by! I lucked out with my accommodation for my first few weeks in Berlin as I had the chance to be hosted by a very friendly vegan couple I met on Instagram. (They are super-vegans, artistic, and perfect for each other!) Their hospitality made my transition to Berlin easy and positive. I couldn’t ask for better hosts.

Their flat was conveniently located close to the Warschauer Straße station, a stone’s throw away from the all-vegan supermarket Veganz and several other all-vegan restaurants and cafés. I couldn’t ask for a better location and I’m glad I was able to try a bit of the Berlin vegan scene!

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My favourite part of my Berlin experience was my usual visits to the Turkish market. Even though my phone was stolen from my bag as I browsed the market one day, my visits to the market were always positive. Truth be told, that day turned out to be one of the best days in Berlin! I had spent the night with a new friend, borrowed her bike that day and went for a long bike ride with two new acquaintances from Couchsurfing.com. We ended our ride at the market and snacked on cherries while sitting on the canal. That day was perfect regardless of my phone being stolen!

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After almost three weeks in Berlin, I ventured to Poland for a two week holiday. Poznań happens to be a short 3-hour train ride away from Berlin. At this time my boyfriend Kuba was visiting his family in Lisówki, a small village outside of Poznań, so I was able to spend my birthday with him and see, touch, and kiss him 24/7 for two weeks straight. I needed that!

And now I’ve been back in Berlin for almost a week. I’m grateful for the connections I’ve made and I enjoyed my time here but adjusting to life in Berlin was difficult for me in the beginning. Berlin is much different than Glasgow, Edinburgh, or Dundee, and I missed Scotland (and Kuba who currently lives there) every second. Also, the daily struggle with my allergies has been a real bummer! I just know that I don’t plan on visiting mainland Europe during the summer ever again.

I haven’t done much sight-seeing the past few days as I needed time to rest, but I used this time to better organise the next few months of my Euro trip. My accommodations are sorted for Mallorca, Barcelona, Paris, and Ljubljana, so I can breathe easy since I now have a place to sleep through late August. (Next step: plan my Croatia itinerary.)

I don’t know anything about Mallorca except that it’s very vegan-friendly and a popular holiday destination for beach lovers. I’m most excited about the beaches there. I hope they are similar to my favourite beaches in southern California. I can’t wait to see what fruit Mallorca has to offer.

And of course, I can’t wait to see what fruit Mallorca has to offer.

I’m not sure I’ll be able to sleep tonight. I’m that excited!

Two weeks in Poland.

The best part about visiting Poland for two weeks is that I was able to spend every minute with my boyfriend Kuba after not seeing him since I left Scotland. We spent most of our time in the small village of Lisówki, 30 minutes outside the larger city of Poznań. Lisówki reminded me of the American midwest: lots of corn and wheat fields, farms, forests, and dirt roads.

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The Polish countryside was beautiful but my allergies wouldn’t let me properly enjoy it.

We spent our nights camping in a tent away from Kuba’s parents’ house. Their house was small and his brother and his brother’s daughter were practically living there as well, so there really wasn’t space for us inside the house.

Not that I could have stayed inside the house anyway because my allergies were terrible no matter where we went!

Kuba had planned to renovate the attic of his parents’ house during his two week holiday. Clearing the space and ripping up the floor created a considerable amount of dust every day. This dust permeated the entire house. I couldn’t breathe inside the house, or even just outside because the dust would drift about in the wind.

His parents also had a dog, so the dog dander didn’t help. And Kuba’s brother would take his daughter to the stables from time to time, and since I’m extremely allergic to horses, the horse dander on their clothes seriously aggravated my breathing. His brother also needed to cut grass in the meadow next to the house daily (for the horse to run about) so even when I tried to find sanctuary in our tent, I couldn’t breathe. (Not that anyone should keep horses…a rather difficult topic of discussion for vegans in a non-vegan family!)

So for two weeks straight, I reluctantly medicated myself with several allergy medications just so I could function. I was tired most days because of the sedative effect of some medications, yet none of them worked completely. This was such a bummer! I always suffered from allergies while living in the States, but they practically disappeared while I lived in Scotland. I had hoped my allergies would become less severe because my diet is so clean, but for the time being that isn’t the case.

Camping in the tent was fun, but after not being able to sleep well because of my allergies, I grew tired of it. Fortunately, we were able to escape to an empty flat in the city (thanks to his sister) for a few days.

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Poznań Old Town.

These were the BEST days in Poland. We had complete peace and privacy at the flat in the city, and we’d spend our days wandering around Poznań, hand in hand. We didn’t do anything touristy or visit any museums. We simply walked around, took some photos, gathered food and cooked back at the flat. I could do these same activities every day for the rest of my life and be happy, though I’d much prefer to live elsewhere! (No offence Poland, but I need to breathe.)

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I miss those days. We ate watermelon every morning for breakfast and had our fill of fresh cherries and peaches. We’d often purchase berries and cherries from wee carts on the street. The cherries in Poland were even better than the ones I tried in Berlin.

In general, fruit and veggies were much cheaper in Poland than those in the UK (or in Germany). We spent roughly 60 złoty per day (around £11 or $15) on food for both of us. That’s about half of what we’d spend in the UK. While some would argue that the difference in food prices is due to the difference in wages earned in both countries (people earn less money in Poland), this isn’t the only reason because the same doesn’t hold true for other expenses. I think it is more important to notice the country of origin of the produce and consider how far the produce travels before it reaches the store shelves.

In the UK, grapes were usually from Chile or India. In Poland, we only found grapes from Israel and Egypt. These countries are located much closer to Poland than Chile or India are to the UK, so it would make sense that grapes in Poland would cost less. We noticed this with all of the food we purchased. Not all of our it was locally grown, but most of it travelled a considerably shorter distance than the produce found in the UK.

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I am so grateful that his sister let us use her flat as a home away from home. We really needed time away from his family. We never got used to the constant commotion and conversation in and around the house.

His family was friendly toward me, but I never felt comfortable staying with them. I felt like an outsider and didn’t feel welcome. At first, I thought it was because I didn’t speak Polish and because this was my very first time meeting them, but Kuba also felt the same way so it wasn’t just me misinterpreting the situation.

I think the fact that we are both vegan didn’t help. Meal times were stressful in the beginning. The first day I arrived, we ate dinner with his family at the same table even though we ate different food—potatoes and steamed veggies for us, some sort of chicken stir-fry for them. Neither of us could stand to watch them eat meat in front of us and the smell of flesh burning on the stove top made our stomachs turn. Because of this, and because I didn’t want to spend any time inside the house because of my allergies, we decided to eat our meals outside, away from everyone else and regardless of when they were eating lunch or dinner. I think us eating apart further alienated us from the rest of the family.

I had hoped Kuba’s family would be used to veganism by now, meaning they’d at least accept it since he’s been vegan for two years. I didn’t expect any trouble for us, but on several occasions, the topic of veganism came up for discussion, and inevitably the discussion turned into an argument. Not only has Kuba been vegan for two years, but I’ve been vegan for almost eight years now. We’re both healthier and happier than we’ve ever been, we eat as much food as we want and neither of us have health issues, yet this isn’t enough evidence to convince them to give veganism a chance. At the very least you’d think the fact that we have survived and thrived this long shows that veganism can’t be so bad….

It’s sad that some people are so stubborn that they’d rather be ‘right’ than consider objective evidence, even when their health is at stake. This is especially difficult when dealing with family. You want what’s best for them, but sometimes you can’t help them open their eyes.

Furthermore, I am always baffled when people with access to the Internet try to argue against veganism. Veganism is objectively better for our health and our environment, and all the information is at our fingertips!

Unfortunately, no one can force others to be vegan. No matter how poor their health, people still need to make the choice themselves. Maybe his family will come around and acknowledge the health benefits he has experienced, and hopefully, they can go vegan themselves.

I’m glad I was able to visit Poland because having Kuba by my side for two weeks straight recharged me. I’m sad to be apart from him again but I feel like a new person! I’m ready to move on with the rest of this Euro trip. I can’t wait to head to Majorca, Barcelona, and then Paris where I’ll see him again.

I do know that I don’t plan on visiting Poland anytime soon, at least not during the summer!

Is anyone in your family vegan?

How do you deal with a non-vegan family?