When you’re on vacation, the cost of food can take a bite out of your vacation budget. Whether you’re stopping for food on the way to your final destination, or dining at a local restaurant, this can still be quite expensive.
The average family of four will probably spend around $300 a day for three meals while on vacation, and this doesn’t even consider any other expenses associated with your vacation.
In addition to saving money on your hotel, airline tickets, and transportation, you can also save money on your food costs!
Here are a few ways to save money on vacation food.
Check your hotel, online, and even at the restaurant for coupons, you can use with your meal.
If you visit an area regularly, consider purchasing an Attractions book for coupons you can use.
This is going to take a lot of planning before your trip but can end up saving you 50% or more on your meal.
I even cut coupons out of my inserts for chain restaurants and keep the coupons from the junk mail in a ziploc baggy just in case.
Use Gift Cards And Certificates
If you don’t already have gift cards you can use, consider picking some up before your trip.
You can also buy discounted restaurant gift cards at Sams Club and other club stores.
Instead Of Eating In, Order To Go
If you are considering dining at the hotel or a nearby location, consider taking your order to go instead.
You can pick a few dishes for your family to share, and avoid the cost of drinks and tipping by doing your order this way.
If you are staying at the hotel anyway, you can enjoy items like soda and dessert from your hotel room instead of paying double for it at the restaurant.
Don’t Pass On A Free Meal
Before booking your hotel, see if they offer free breakfast options.
Take advantage of the food freebies that your hotel offers! This can save you hundreds of dollars, especially if you are traveling with a large group.
Even if the hotel is a little out of the way, it will cost you less than the gas.
Dine Like A Local
We’ve all heard the tip to eat like a local when on vacation, but the real reason why is the price!
Touristy hotspots are always going to be more expensive because they know tourists will pay the premium price daily.
If you need help finding a restaurant in your price range, talk to the clerk at your hotel or ask around to find a great place to eat that fits your budget.
One of our favorite sites to check is Trip Advisor. It will let you know the top rated restaurants in the area to check out.
Eat Out For Lunch Instead Of Dinner
Buffets and other restaurants usually offer discounts for early diners.
Instead of waiting in long lines at dinnertime, or spending twice as much on food, consider eating out for lunch instead.
Many restaurants offer great deals during lunchtime to get more customers in the door during slow periods. Some restaurants even offer these prices as late as 3 or 4 pm.
Consider having a big lunch in the middle of the day and skipping dinner if you are trying to save money.
Make Your Own Food
Eating out while on vacation can be fun, but if you can even cut out one of those meals, you’ll be saving A LOT of money.
Having a room with a kitchenette could save you more than the cost of the upgrade!
If you must go out, consider dining out for one of your meals, and enjoying the rest from the comfort of your hotel room.
Pack Your Own Snacks
If you are traveling, it’s worth it to pack your snacks. Gas stations will mark up everything from water to a pack of gum.
If you are going to be enduring a long drive, it can be worth it to pack a cooler or even a snack bag for the trip.
Once you arrive at your final destination, stop by a grocery store and stock up on snacks and drinks for the hotel room.
Be sure to pack a few of these snacks for while you’re on the go in case you get hungry and thirsty.
A vacation might seem just out of reach. However, if you follow these tips, you’ll find that a vacation might not seem so impossible!
YOUR TURN: Where do you like to eat when you’re on vacation? Let me know in the comments below!
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