New chowhound here - wouldn' t exactly call myself a foodie, but maybe an aspiring one. Anyways, I'm hoping someone can answer a pretty basic question about eating internationally. I'm a college student, and I'm planning on traveling to Europe - either Italy or Spain (I crossposted there - hope that's okay) over spring break for 8-9 days, and I'm trying to figure out if I can afford to eat decently over there. Most of my friends, when they did a Euro-trip, ate as cheaply as they could, meaning that they often shopped at grocery stores and ate bread and cheese 2x a day, and then breakfast in the hostel. Problem is, I don't want to do this. One of the primary reasons for my trip is to experience the cuisine of Italy/Spain, so I don't want to eat bread and cheese just to get by.
On the other hand, I never eat at expensive restaurants, and have no desire to change things and go eat gourmet over there, either. I'd like to eat as the locals do - meaning mom & pop places, inexpensive to mid-range restaurants...basically what "normal" Italians eat. I'd like to experience "authentic" culture as much as possible.
Can anyone help me estimate how much this will cost me? Obviously I will do more in-depth research once I decide for certain on a location, but I'd appreciate ballpark estimates to get an idea whether I can afford the trip or not. I'm estimating $25-30/night for hostel lodging, $10-15 day for transportation/miscellany, and am really unsure how much to budget for the food as I have described it. Any help appreciated!
BTW, if I decide that Europe is not affordable my other option is Mexico/Central America, which I know will be cheaper, so comments/comparisons between the two, food or otherwise, are welcome as well!