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Budgeting food

Hello,
I am planning on being in Austria for about a week. Just wondering how much I should budget for meals. Breakfast is included with the two hotels I am staying at during the trip. Lunch and supper are my concern. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

Posted by
2133 posts

Food's hard to budget as it's so personal to you. Are you asking because you're on a really tight budget? If so, you can easily get by with limited funds by just doing a take-away pizza or kabob type lunch for under 10 Euros. If you're truly limited you can do the same for dinner.

Posted by
5865 posts

I usually figure that I will pay about, or less, than I would for a meal here in the US.

In fact, I generally eat a much better meal there for less based on a couple factors. First, if you like wine or beer with a meal, depending on the local drink of choice, a glass or bottle is much cheaper, easily 1/3 to 1/2 the cost. Second, consider that the price on the menu includes tax and all but a minimal service tip; in the US that can add 25 to 30% to your cost.

For a better idea, there must be some restaurants you are interested in, go online, they likely have menus with prices, you can get a pretty exact idea of what your cost will be.

Posted by
650 posts

I always fill up on the free breakfast. Then I might get a sandwich for lunch (under €10) and sit outside to eat watching the people and views. I usually "splurge" on dinner, maybe a 3 course meal for around €20-25. But my prices are based on recent trips to Spain so I can't really comment on prices in Austria although I was in Switzerland 2 years ago and everything was very expensive there.

Posted by
3551 posts

I would budget your meals as u would pay here in US.
If u find that it is too costly for u then have lunch items from a grocery store.

Posted by
16822 posts

Austria is not a worry about food cost, but from your other post, I see you will be in Switzerland. That is where you will need to budget. Remember, the Co-op (grocery chain) is your friend.

Posted by
49 posts

Sounds great everyone. Thanks.

Good eye, I will for sure focus more on budgeting for food in Switzerland.

Posted by
650 posts

I paid 40 American dollars for 4 slices of pizza and 2 sodas in Lucerne. Yikes!!! From then on it was filling up on the buffet breakfast and walking over to the Co-op supermarket located in the lower level of the train station to buy meats, cheese, bread and pre-packed salads.

Posted by
1492 posts

@steve
Lucerne is in Switzerland, where you pay 50% more for eating than in Austria.

@oilersfan_95
There are several places where you can have a good two course lunch for less than € 10.
The restaurants make most profit from the drinks. If you want to make yourself unpopular, then order tap water.
Important for US tourists: Austrian restaurants do not serve ice water.

Posted by
650 posts

@wmt1
I know Lucerne is in Switzerland but the OP also commented they would be there also. I was just explaining to budget very carefully if venturing into Switzerland :)

Posted by
2320 posts

I don't know what your appetite/food needs are, but I find that if I fill up at my free breakfast I usually only end up needing one other full meal, and usually that's a late lunch/early dinner, which I do try to have at a sit-down restaurant. I usually have a small snack to fill in the rest.

When I visited Vienna in 2014 I didn't have free breakfast so depending on my agenda for the day sometimes started with coffee and pastry from a shop, lunch could be from a wurst stand which was very cheap, then dinner at a mid-range restaurant with wine or beer was in the 15 euro range. I recall the SPAR stores had a nice selection of fresh items to go, sandwiches and salads that were cheap and tasty.

Posted by
781 posts

I had a Big Mac combo in Bern in 2011 and it was 12.50 Swiss Francs,if you are on a budget in Switzerland you better go to Coop.
Mike

Posted by
4690 posts

MrsEB - are there grocery stores?

Yes, of course there are. On just about every other block - look for Billa and Spar. Most people, however, just grab a sandwich at a bakery like Anker, Stroeck or Der Mann.

You can easily use Google Maps to find these.

Posted by
478 posts

This is what we do on virtually every trip to Germany and Austria: we eat a big breakfast at our inn or hotel (since it's usually included in the hotel cost); big enough to carry us thru lunch. We skip lunch and in the mid-afternoon we stop somewhere for coffee/cake. Then dinner at night. If you do need a quick lunch, a quick wurst and broetchen are pretty cheap.

Posted by
1492 posts

I was in New York City in August, and I can say that on average the food in Manhattan is twice as expensive as in Vienna.

Posted by
12897 posts

I do not find the restaurant prices in Vienna high, same with grocery prices. Of course, that depends on the area the eatery is located.

One difference between grocery prices in Germany and Austria is that Austria has no "Pfand" (return deposit) to get the 20 cents back on mineral water plastic bottles.

Posted by
12897 posts

Greed has nothing to do with it, just practicality. Maybe tourists don't bother with returning mineral water bottles or whatever but I've seen locals do that in Germany, and it's true, there is no Pfand in Austria.

Posted by
1492 posts

@MrsEB

Sorry, I did not express myself precisely enough. When I referred to the price level of "food" in NYC I did not mean the grocery stores, I meant restaurants, pubs, snack bars, etc. compared to Vienna.

In Austria there is no such sandwich culture than in the US. Take away food is increasingly available, but you will never see so much people sitting in the park or on a bench in a street eating their lunch. If you go for lunch during work, there is either a canteen in larger companies, or you go to nearby restaurant (often with vouchers issued by your employer). Lunch breaks are longer in Austria (30 minutes minimum by law), so there is no hurry usually.

There are so many small restaturants or pubs, called "Beisel", which offer lunch specials for well below € 10.

If you are really on budget, i.e. you need to consider every penny to spend, then you should go to the restaurants in the big furniture department stores (like XXXLutz). They offer very cheap meals (including breakfasts) just to attract customers.

Posted by
4690 posts

I had lunch at Ikea today. The XXXLutz suggestion made me laugh!

Posted by
1492 posts

The XXXLutz suggestion made me laugh!

Why? The quality is comparable. Ikea is a little bit more expensive (and far out of the city), and just strives for upholding its image of being young and modern, as it was the first to open a restaurant inside a furniture store, which was copied then by all other "old" competitors.

Posted by
4690 posts

I mean laugh in a good way! I thought it was a unique suggestion.

Posted by
11613 posts

MrsEB, grocery stores carry very good chocolates, some major chocolatiers' brands are available.