Sometimes when you’re travelling, you might find yourself getting a bit tight for cash, or you’re travelling with a tight budget. For most, cutting back on food seems to be the best option for holding on to the last of your pennies. However, you can’t survive on a diet of instant noodles forever. So what is there for you to eat when you’re budget deems unfit for restaurants or luxurious eat ins?
Here is a little list of my on-the-road survival eats, that I can guarantee you I’ve had to live off for an extended period of time during different points in my travels.
Tuna and rice.
It’s super cheap (read $1 per can + $2 per single serve sachet/$5 1kg bag) and can be prepped in any environment. When I know that I’ll be staying somewhere for a certain amount of time, I usually buy a small bag of rice and a couple of tins of tuna. Obviously, the tuna is already cooked so I’ve saved time there. All that’s left to do is cook the rice. If you’re in a hostel or hotel, the rice can be easily cooked in a microwave/stove, or if you’re on the road, cook the rice with your cooking camp gear. Even if you only have a skillet, you can still make it work.
Soup in a bread roll bowl
Literal lifesaver for when you’re poor, cold and camping. All you need is some soup (in a can, deli made, whatever) and a round bread roll. While you’re heating the soup (microwave/stove/camp stove), make a bowl out of the bread roll by taking off the top and creating a bowl shape out of the bread. If you’re super clumsy like me, you’ll want to put your bread roll in a bowl because you will spill it everywhere. Pour the soup into your bread-made bowl, and use the bread you tore off to dip into the soup. The bread bowl keeps the soup nice and warm.
Spaghetti Bolognese
Always a top choice. The classic spag bog can be cooked in your hostel kitchen or your camp stove. For the limited bank account all you need is some mincemeat (or quorn for a vegan friendly alternative), an onion, pasta and spaghetti sauce. If you’re at a hostel and have plenty of people to pitch in money-wise, making your own sauce is totally do-able too. The best thing about cooking a good ole’ spag bog whilst you’re on the road? Leftovers for days! The typical size bolognese makes about 6 portions, so there’s your lunch and dinners solved for a while.
An ace of spades hostel meal. If you’re lucky enough to be staying at a hostel that has an oven in the kitchen and a bunch of people who are willing to fork in for a feast, than lasagne is definitely your best option. All you need is mincemeat (or again, quorn for a vegetarian friendly alternative), a can of diced tomatoes, a sachet of tomato puree, an onion, garlic and lasagne sheets, as well as the ingredients for white sauce (flour, butter, milk) which should all be available in most hostel kitchens. Voila, you have lasagne and hopefully some new friends to eat it with!
A few snacks that I always carry with me whilst travelling (sometimes they become my core meals – gotta keep it real) include:
Cheesy Vegemite and Ritz Crackers
Dried fruit
Mentos (or some other lolly for a sugar hit when needed)

For when you’re downright, flat broke:


It happens to the best of us at some point or another. When this becomes the case, the best rule is never, ever pass up free food and if need be, it is 100% OK to seek free food. Unsure of which direction to head? Here are some great free food dining options:
Cost-Co = free sample food galore!
T2/David’s Tea or equivalent = loads of tea (hot and cold) samples.
Dumpster diving. Loads of bakeries and food outlets throw out what isn’t sold at the end of the day. Read: heaps of fresh bread and pastries! A fav dumpster dive destination for me is Panera Bread.
Bonus Tip: If you’re staying at a place that offers free breakfast, wear a jumper/jacket that has lots of pockets. When the attendant isn’t looking, fill those pockets with as many bread rolls, spreads and cakes as you can! The days food = done!