The Cost of Feeding Myself On Travel

I am safely in NYC. Got in last night right before the LGA curfew, which I did not know was a thing, and made it to the Pod Hotel. They upgraded me to a bigger pod for no charge, probably because a lot of the pods are standing empty this week, and I am thoroughly enjoying my tiny digs. (Here’s a 360-degree tour of my room, if you’re interested.)

But let’s talk food. How do we feed ourselves when we’re on travel? Are you the sort of person who searches for the best restaurants, for the best budget restaurants, or are you this person:

My general travel philosophy, honed after years of dragging my guitar from convention to convention, is that you get one “real meal” per day, “real” being defined as “a hot meal with more than one food item included, maybe even served on a non-disposable plate.”

The rest of the day? As many snacks as I can stuff into — or carabiner onto — my purse. Granola bars, lady-approved handfuls of almonds, string cheese, fruit, scones, those Starbucks chocolate-covered graham crackers, etc.

So I left LGA with a bag literally crammed with snacks, carabinered to my purse. (Seriously. Just get a carabiner, attach it to your purse or backpack, and wait for it to become useful. You won’t have to wait long.)

Admittedly, the airport Starbucks is not the best place to buy snacks, but it’s not like they’ve got a Safeway in there, and if they did, I didn’t spot it. I am terrified to calculate how much I spent on airport food yesterday, none of which counted as a “real meal,” but here it is:

— $18.13 for Vitamin Water, Airborne tablets, and Purell hand sanitizer (I was feeling tired so I figured I would VITAMIN IT UP, this was probably not my best airport spending moment)

— $8.99 for a United Airlines “Savory” snack box that was essentially a weird Lunchable for adults

— $19.66 for the Starbucks Bag of Snacks that I have not yet eaten through

Right now I am drinking a $4.30 Starbucks cappuccino, which might count as “lunch,” and I will figure out what my actual meal is going to be later today.

Feel free to tell me that there are a bazillion better places to enjoy a cup of coffee than Starbucks. I know there are. I’m not here for the coffee. I’m here for the free Wi-Fi and the “standing desk” that I have made by standing at that bar by the window.

I’m also here because, while on travel, a grande cappuccino counts as food.