One of the best things about being a timeshare owner is that you’ve already paid upfront for your holidays – all you need to cover is meals, flights and possibly a rental car. And…the accommodation will most likely be self-catering, so you can cook at home – another money-saving plus.
So to avoid the costs racking up – particularly if you’re a family of four or more – here are some ways to cut those holiday food bills down.
1. Shop at the local markets (not the British supermarket!)
Things like Marmite which we take for granted at home can be ridiculously expensive anywhere abroad – whether it’s the corner shop mini-market or the big British-style supermarket in town. Take advantage of the sunshine and easy-going lifestyle and cook up local dishes with fresh fish, veg and locally-grown fruit – they’ll be much cheaper at the local market, souk or stalls where residents shop.
2. It sounds obvious…but cook for yourself
It’s easy to keep meals quick and cheap – buy a pizza base and let the kids design their own filling, or add a crisp salad to a delicious bowl of pasta full of sunripened tomatoes and a touch of basil. The moment you step into a restaurant, you’ll blow at least the cost of 3-4 meals which you could make much more cheaply at home.
3. If you can’t bear the idea of cooking at home and you’d rather see what’s on offer in town, ask the locals where they eat
Blackboards scribbled in the local lingo, not in English, are always a good clue, or stroll around for a bit until you find a really packed tapas bar, for example. The locals will be watching their wallets, too, so they’re the best people to ask about where the food is good and where you won’t spend a fortune! Prices will vary from district to district, so avoid the five-star neighbourhoods and look for the cosy, local family-friendly places where chances are you’ll get three courses for the price of a main somewhere else.
4. Take note of local customs
Is it customary to serve free tapas with drinks? It is in Granada in Andalucia, for example – so for every chilled beer you can fill up on some delicious mini-plates of food, with extra freshly-baked bread.
5. Eat in a cafe not a restaurant
An omelette and chips can be just as delicious and well cooked in a little cafe in Brittany as it would be in a Parisian bistro, so if you stick to local cheap and cheerful favourites like toasted cheese sandwiches, hearty plates of spaghetti bolognese, French Toast and simple egg, potato or pasta-based foods, you’ll be keeping the budget down.
6. Last but not least, embrace happy hour!
Many pizzeries offer giant half price pizzas or look for a place doing 2-for-1 deals. And one final tip! Never dash out of the hotel on a totally empty stomach, you’ll be tempted to get a table at the first place that looks good instead of shopping around and checking out the cafes’ blackboards.