My Best Travel Hack for Budget Eats in London
Sometimes a trip is all about the food. Seeking out delicious new flavours. Discovering that quirky new eatery. Spending hours leisurely sipping wine and savouring your meal. Other times you just need to fuel and go.
For me, much of my time in London was the latter. I found my tummy rumbling but didn’t want to stop for long to eat. On my trip to Slovenia and Malta, I was using London as my transit hub and I found myself with a total of two and a half days there. I wanted to look for new street art in Shoreditch, shop on Oxford Street, and visit Van Gogh at the National Gallery. A lot of my transiting also involved spending meal times on trains, buses, and airplanes.
What’s a girl to do when she wants to eat quickly and cheaply? Boots Meal Deal to the rescue. It’s my best travel hack for budget eats London.
What’s in a Boots Meal Deal?
Ok, so Boots is mainly a drugstore, not unlike Walgreens or Shoppers, but don’t let the fact that you can pick up a sweet deal of a meal at the same place you buy your tampons and dry shampoo weird you out. The Boots Meal Deal is real. And it’s glorious. You can get a refrigerated main, side, and drink all for the low, low price of £3.98. Budget-wise, you really can’t beat that. Ask any Brit you know and they’ll tell you, the Boots Meal Deal is a bit of an institution. It’s gotten many a student through their terms.
While you might think this would just be a sad ham & cheese sandwich, with a tiny bag of chips, and a Coke, there’s actually a lot of selection. Mains are typically sandwiches but you can usually count on there being almost a dozen varieties to choose from. There are also salads and pasta available to be the star of your next budget meal. Sides can be a bag of chips if that’s what you’re craving but you could also get fruit, veggies, chocolate, yogurt, or a number of other things. Drink selection is just as varied. Iced tea, juice, green smoothies, and Lucozade are all options. You could literally make hundreds of different meal combinations before you have to repeat.
I found these meals made especially good grab ‘n go meals for flights. In fact, I picked up two for my five hour, 10am flight back home to Canada: an all-day breakfast sandwich with an iced tea and a maple pear yogurt for a late breakfast after boarding and a chicken and basil pasta salad with fizzy lemonade and yogurt/granola for a lunch before landing. Guys, there was fresh basil in the salad. Quite a bit of it in fact. That would never happen here in Newfoundland.
Should you not have a Boots nearby, Tesco also has a £3 meal deal, although their selection is much more limited. M&S Simply Food have a similar, though slightly more expensive, meal option.
London has some of the world’s best restaurants with tons of unique food, but when you just need to fuel up, look for that familiar blue logo and head to Boots.