Breakfast: We suggest that breakfast be included in the cost of the program. Students may tend to skip breakfast and sleep in if they have to pay for it. We have found that they tend to eat if they know they have already paid. Too, if they are trying to save money, they still have a good meal to start the day. This avoids the complaints of being tired and asking about lunch constantly during the morning’s activity.
Hotels may have a breakfast plan. This is the easiest method to feed the group. Ask if the hotel can give you a group rate. If the hotel does not serve breakfast, you might find a restaurant or coffee shop within walking distance and have students order up to a set dollar amount for breakfast and you pay with one transaction. Another suggestion is to buy bagels and cream cheese or donuts and have everyone meet to have breakfast together.
Lunch: Students and faculty should be able to find inexpensive food in most cities. Sharing a pizza often breaks down to a small amount per person. Checking out the grocery marts for pre-made sandwiches may be worthwhile. Small groups buying lunch supplies together and picnicking also works.
Dinner: It is possible to use the same plans for dinner as for lunch. Some restaurants have lower prices for early meals or for certain entrees.Neighborhood eateries tend to be less expensive. Train stations may have fast food service and more economical vendors. However, students may want to budget for one more expensive meal for each city they visit.
A few group meals will be a welcome treat for the students. The leaders should make reservations before leaving the U.S., and ask about a Pre Fixe menu. Students can select before they leave for the restaurant and it makes the event and payment go smoother. If students are going to select from the menu, you may wish to give them a currency amount to stay within. Some universities will not reimburse for alcohol, so if wine is ordered with dinner the diners may have to pay for it themselves.
Drinks: This is a place where American customs may not hold.When eating out, you can ask for tap water. Some places may want you to buy bottled water. If you order a soft drink, those are not refilled free of charge. In some countries (e.g., Germany) the wine glasses and beverage classes have partial liter marks on them. The glass is filled to the line for the amount you order.
It is cheaper to buy bottled water in a grocery mart than from other types of vendors. We buy larger bottles and refill our smaller bottles from them.