Eat for Under $5 a Day When Traveling

NEW YORK (MainStreet)—The last time I went backpacking my fiancée and I wanted to see as much of the world as we could manage on a fairly modest budget. So we set some strict rules for ourselves. We wouldn't spend any more than $20 for a room, for entertainment no more than $10 per day and each meal would cost only $5 per person.

As two people who love to eat, at first this seemed pretty daunting. How much would we miss out on because we'd decided to pinch our pennies? How often would we cheat, because something just looked too amazing? Were we simply being unrealistic?

Happily, as it turned out, the world is absolutely filled with places where you can get incredible, quality meals on a tight budget. It's simply a matter of finding them. So, for those travelers who want to have their cake and not have to pay for it too, I give you my recommendations: five outstanding destinations on under than five dollars per meal.


Not usually a budget destination, France, and specifically Paris, actually has some of the most remarkable street food in the world. Although the euro makes life a little difficult for Americans, $5 will buy you €3.85, and that's plenty.

To start off with the city is dotted with small creperies, windows onto the street where wizards pour their batter on hot plates and spread it paper thin. Costing anywhere from €2 to €4 euros, crepes are an outstanding and cheap way to eat your way around the City of Lights. Try the crepe complet for lunch, served with ham, swiss and a fried egg, or the famous crepe suzette, served with powdered sugar and a squeeze of lemon.

For real variety, find your way to the Rue Mouffetard. This university neighborhood is also one of Paris's liveliest and an incredible place for travelers on a budget looking to eat cheap. Grab a slice of quiche on the go, only €3 from the small pie counters or the roasted chicken and potatoes. Cooked on slow spits over a bed of fingerling potatoes, so that they cook in the chicken's drippings, this is a signature Parisian street dish. Get it in a small basket, and you can happily see the sights and sounds of a busy, Parisian neighborhood while you enjoy your lunch, or take a seat in the small park at the end of the street to enjoy a more leisurely meal.