How to Drink Cheaply Abroad

Drinking while abroad is an expense that adds up quickly, especially if you’re traveling on a party-friendly backpacker circuit like Western Europe or Southeast Asia. Here are some tips that can cut your drinking costs when abroad.

Pub crawl.

While I was studying in Buenos Aires, my friends and I went on the Pub crawl every couple of weeks just because it was so much fun (and the guys who ran it were cute and Israeli, not to mention). A pub crawl is a great way to see a city and an inexpensive way to drink.

Pre-gaming.

Drinks add up anywhere, but particularly quickly when they are priced at 10 euros a cocktail. Buy a bottle of wine or a fifth of vodka and chasers and have a few drinks at the hostel before going out. This will cost you a fraction of the price.

Pick your poison.

In Munich? Don’t order Merlot. Try Scotch in Scotland. It generally works out that whatever the country is known for is what is more delicious and less expensive. (See below- rosé in Paris, beer in Brussels).

This was all in the name of research, mind you.

And most importantly, enjoy yourself! Save Scandinavia, alcohol is less expensive in Europe than in the United States. And in South America you have lots of fantastic and inexpensive wines- try Carménère in Chile and Malbec in Argentina.

Another way in which drinking can become expensive is by buying water bottles (you didn’t think by drinking I only meant alcohol, did you?)

Nalgene bottle.

Bottled water adds up quickly- to cut costs, I attach a Nalgene bottle with a carabiner to the outside of my backpack and fill it up in sinks. This can be a bad idea if you are in a country with polluted tap water, but in most of Western Europe and the Cono Sur of South America (Argentina, Chile and Uruguay) you will be fine.

Tap water.

Ask for tap water in restaurants. This is hard to mime out, so I generally learn the word in the language of the country I’m in (it’s carafe d’eau in French, and there are three ways to say it in Spanish- agua de la canilla- Argentina, agua de la llave- most of Latin America and agua del grifo- Spain).

Here I also have some tips on how to eat cheaply abroad.

How do you manage to go out on the cheap?

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Ashley Fleckenstein

Ashley is an American travel blogger and freelance writer who moved to Paris at 21 and has been traveling the world ever since. She's usually in pursuit of yoga, languages and perfectly ripe cheese and her writing has been featured in National Geographic, Viator and Jetstar Australia.
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2 Comments

  1. I also use the couchsurfing boards to find out which places have happy hour or cheap drink nights, it`s also a great way to meet locals as they will all be there.
    Ayngelina recently posted..Food Friday: Best pizza in New York?My Profile

    Reply
    • That’s a good idea! I’m a Couchsurfing newbie so I haven’t figured out all of the different features, but I plan on using the boards the next time I’m abroad.

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