Behind accommodation and transportation costs, food budgets are perhaps the next greatest expense. While there may be ways to lessen the burden on your purse when eating out often, those will not be covered here. Instead we will explore the benefits in frequenting the thrilling world of street vendors and local food markets.
Aside from the colorful characters that will be found tending the booths, you can always be guaranteed that local flavors and food items will be present. Nothing satisfies like topping off a great meal with that fresh and locally-produced cheese. Many of these specialty items, that perhaps add the quintessential experience of the region, will not be found in major supermarkets.
The Price is Nice
Depending on the region, there will likely be a bounty of local items helping to drive down price. Many a time those same people running the both will be the producer of those delicious deals. If not the case, there may still be a good chance that person shares the same roof or genes.
The friendly competition in the market coupled with cutting out the middle man can lead to some deep deals. The spend thrifty traveler would be hard pressed to pass up these.
Fund the neighborHOOD
There is much much to be said about the Slow Food/Money Movement. Supporting these small local businesses keeps the money within these communities - strengthening the surrounding economies, providing jobs and lessening dependence on outside assistance. Statistically, money spent in larger retail stores or supermarkets is exported outside the community to large parent corporations, who have less interest in the health of the communities.
When you spend your hard-earned travel budget, consider passing on this wealth in a more direct way to the producers.
Whether your travel plans keep you in a locale for three days or three months, supporting these local food markets. helps build communities and fosters relationships. The small independent businesses are run by hard-working individuals and families who contribute to their neighborhoods. Often times these vendors have been in business for years and each market place has a unique identity of its own, with owners intimately knowing one other.
You will always reap fringe benefits from interaction with the locals. They know their cities well and can steer you in the direction of often-overlooked attractions. Sometimes they may even point out the affordable, penny-saving restaurants that they themselves frequent. Often far from tourist traps, give a more immersed experience of their culture for you to savor.