Teen Travel: Cheap Chow

Wake up and get going—that’s the mentality I had throughout my whole trip. See this, experience that, but what about the meals that I actually needed to fuel me for my adventures? Eating on vacation is tricky in many different ways whether it’s eating well or even making time the time to do so. Really though, I found that it is vital that you pay attention to what you eat.

Breakfast seemed to be the biggest challenge when I was traveling in London and Paris in June. It was difficult to get a substantial, affordable and relatively quick meal to fuel us for our tour schedule on Contiki. Most days I had to be ready by 7:30 or so, making it difficult to have a proper breakfast. Personally, I have the metabolism of a 12-year-old boy, so a piece of toast and jam didn’t quite cut it for me either. Thankfully, there are grocery stores all over London and there was a Waitrose, a high-quality English grocery store, right down the street from my hotel. So every morning I’d run down to Waitrose with my wet hair and coin purse with my breakfast checklist all planned out in my head: Greek yogurt and blueberries, a chocolate chip croissant and a smoothie. I opted for the Greek yogurt because it had enough protein to hold me over for my next meal. Because it is virtually impossible for me to stay full I also had to prepare snacks for the day, so baguette sandwiches with ham plus some little mini cheese packages on the side were convenient to cart while touring during day. They were handy when my stomach was grumbling and lunch was still a few hours away. Reasonably priced, these snacks usually cost me less than a few dollars.

What I really appreciated about Contiki was that the meals that they included in the tour did not cover lunch, allowing us to roam and explore what pleased our palates. This also didn’t tie us down to meeting the group in one specific place during a designated time for the midday meal. For instance, when we took our day trip to Bath we had time to see what the historic town had to offer. This allowed me to get tea at the Jane Austen Centre with my friend and two other girls on the Contiki tour. It allowed us to experience and appreciate the scones, the clotted cream and the wonderful Jane Austen blend of tea.

At other times during the trip, I only wanted something warm and comforting that I could cart back to my room at the end of a busy day. Luckily I found Fastoche in London–a make your own pasta and smoothie place right up the street from my hotel. This clean and modern restaurant let me create my own pasta concoctions. I liked this because I could add exactly what I wanted and I didn’t have to settle for a readymade flavor combination. Ladled into a Chinese takeout carton and handed to me with napkins and spoons, my warm pesto pasta was exactly what I wanted. That dinner cost me about $8.

As a student traveler in Europe I learned that I could eat well and fuel myself affordably simply by thinking outside the box and exploring offerings at local high quality grocery stores and unique takeout shops. I also learned that it’s important to keep an open mind when hunting for fortification and that it’s important to cart little snacks for midday nibbling.

How do you keep fueled while traveling and on the go?

Carolyn Trainer

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3 Comments on "Teen Travel: Cheap Chow"

  1. Food is not a big concern of mine. I only eat two meals a day — breakfast Greek yogurt and healthy cereal. No lunch. Dinner, simple fare — no meat. I am thin and full of energy and have been this way FOREVER. In Paris now, the portions are too large and most of the food does not interest me. I do go out for “Italian” or souffles.

  2. Great article Carolyn, I went to both the Waitrose and Fastoche web sites great finds, would go to both of these places as soon as I get to London.

  3. I always carry snacks with me like a granola bar, dried fruit or nuts. I am always hungry. Yogurt is great to keep stomach bugs at bay and has a lot of protein. I try to find protein smoothies in a grocery stores if I can.

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