Money & Food


BREAKFASTThe most important meal of the day is also usually the cheapest.  Make sure you eat breakfast, even if you might not at home.  This will help keep you going on long days.

A.)  Breakfasts in hotels are usually free on the continent—i.e. a continental breakfast.  These usually consist of lots of breads, butter, jellies, cheese, yogurt, fruit, coffee and tea.  Occasionally, they’ll have boiled eggs or cereal and milk.  There are some variations in the meal depending on whether you are in France, Italy, Spain or Germany.

B.)  English breakfasts are reasonably priced big meals.  These consist of eggs, bacon (more like Canadian bacon), sausage, French fries (“chips” or “frites”), beans, and toast.  These are served with tea or coffee.  Note the complete absence of fruit or dairy.  Usually, these go for around £ 4-6 (roughly $7-10) and are the most reasonably priced meal you’ll have in England.

LUNCHES: There is fast food.  Expect things to cost a bit more at McDonalds.  Another London option is a chain called Pret a Manger (French: ready to eat).  These franchises give a wide range of prepared food you select out of a cooler.

Each culture has its own street food and food trucks are available.  A common British quick lunch is a pasty (pronounced with a short “a”).  This is a meat pie that looks a bit like a turnover.  Meat, potatoes and pastry crust are three staples of the English diet.

Eating on the cheap can be accomplished at lunch depending upon how much you want to eat.  Go to markets or bakeries to pick up the bits and pieces of a meal and then have a picnic.  You’ll see a lot of people doing this.

Depending upon the culture, there are distinctions made between a bakery where breads are the main product and one where pastries and desserts are the main product.  For example: in French, a bakery is a boulangerie while a specialized place for pastries is a pâstisserie; in Germany, the places are Bäckerei and Konditerei respectively.

DINNERS AND RESTAURANTS:  Restaurant food can be expensive in Europe.  You will want to try local cuisines, but you need to think of your budget.

European restaurants often offer prix fixe (French: fixed price) menus.  These let you pick three, four, and even five course meals at a set price.  So, for instance, you get a choice of one appetizer from a list of three, one main course from a list of three, and one dessert from a list of three for say, € 19.90 (roughly $24).  These are usually cheaper than ordering individual items.  Drinks are separate.

Budget for at least one hefty meal a day just for the experience.  Eating your big meal at lunch can sometimes help you control costs. 

Hints about how to eat cheaply in London, Paris, Rome, Barcelona and Munich are available online.


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