Finding creative ways to eat out is important in my line of work. During baseball season, we’re on the road 50% of the time. During these periods, we’re given a certain amount of money per day to spend on food (more commonly known as a per diem). Many people travel for work on a regular basis, so finding ways to save money and eat right is important.
Here’s what I keep in mind when deciding when and where to eat:
Make It Last
Though we’re given a set amount of money per day for food, nearly half of it goes to the opposing clubhouse manager. He gives us food at the field, does our laundry, and makes sure we’re comfortable. He feeds us before and after the game, and provides snacks in between. After we pay him and tip him, we have about $10 per day for breakfast and lunch. While this doesn’t seem like much, minor league players can make do with just about anything.
There are a few ways to make your per diem last. Getting up for the hotel’s continental breakfast is vital. If I skip the free breakfast, I’m forced to buy my own and lose money on the day.
Find Something Healthy
With my $10 set aside for lunch each day, I need to find something of substance to eat. This usually means an in-between restaurant. Fast food won’t fuel me correctly for that night’s game, while nicer restaurants often cost $20 or more per meal. This leaves me with few restaurant options.
On my most recent trip, I ate at Pei Wei for a couple of days. It has freshly cooked meals that come fairly quickly for around $10 — everything I was looking for. Usually this search takes a little time, but on this trip, the perfect place was right around the corner.
Take Advantage of Leftovers
A refrigerator and a microwave in the hotel room make a huge difference. Make sure that you try to get these amenities. When I have access to these, it totally changes my eating plans. Saving food from continental breakfast and getting leftovers is also a good idea, as it’ll save time and money.
I sometimes will take food home from the field as well, which allows me to have a snack when necessary. If you’re traveling on business, you may be able to do the same at meetings and/or conferences.
Why It Matters
How you fuel your body is important to how you perform. Whether it’s on the field or in an office, you need to have the right nutrients to do your job correctly. Staying on a budget is always important for your financial health. Following these tips should keep you under budget and properly fueled.
How do you approach eating while traveling on business?