Fair   39.0F  |  Forecast »

Slashing Your Family's Travel Food Budget

Five tips to keep costs in check while your family is on vacation

1. Split entrees.

When you're traveling, you can't really hang on to a doggy bag with your food (we tried and the dog literally ate it while we went down and explored the beach; even if your dog isn't traveling with you, getting back to the hotel quickly to store your food in the fridge can be a real drag). Our solution for eating out is to split our entrees and ask for side salads all around. Keep in mind that the restaurant may charge for halving a meal, so just ask for an extra plate.

2. Cut out soda and shakes.

We have a rule on car trips: No sodas or milkshakes of any kind. Not that I don't allow my kids treats, but passing on the soda not only keeps our restaurant bills trimmer, we've noticed another benefit: our kids don't complain about tummy aches. Chocolate milkshakes are a surefire recipe for tummy issues for one of my kids, couple that with long drives and a packed schedule, and you've got a potential car clean-up and no one likes getting sick on vacation.

3. Book a room with a kitchenette.

Some hotels now offer family suites complete with a kitchenette (even an in-room microwave can go along way). Instead of eating out, grab some supplies from the grocery store to make sandwiches or deli wraps in your hotel room. On our last getaway, I brought along packets of Kraft Easy Mac macaroni and cheese for my kids. I pared our simple meal with fresh fruit from a stand we'd found along the road. Then, we ate our little feast in our hotel room, on the beds, while watching a movie. My kids loved it and it saved us a bundle - plus, no tipping required!

4. Pack protein foods.

Forget sweet, empty snacks that will keep your kids asking for more and permanently on a sugar high. Instead, opt for protein-based snacks that will keep their tummies satisfied longer. I carry trail mix packets and peanut butter crackers in my purse and in the car I fill up our cooler with yogurt, string cheese and multigrain crackers. I've also found when it comes to giving kids something sweet; a lollipop lasts a lot longer than chewy candies (about 20 miles more!).

5. Make lunch your main meal.

We often flip-flop our meals on vacation. We sit down for a larger lunch and then keep dinner simpler. Filling up mid-day gives the kids energy to keep going and it breaks up a full schedule with a little food R&R. Lunches often offer cheaper fare than dinnertime entrees. When dinner does role around, we sometimes order appetizers in lieu of full meals. Appetizers are faster to pick-up on the go and there's always plenty to choose from.

Add your comment:
Advertisement

More »Latest Articles & Blog Posts

Craft Roundup: Muppets Most Wanted Inspired DIY Fun

Craft Roundup: Muppets Most Wanted Inspired DIY Fun

These cool DIY projects are a blast for kids and families to make, all celebrating Disney's latest movie spin on the classic Muppet gang.

Tax Tips for Parents: Deductions and Credits to Know About

Tax Tips for Parents: Deductions and Credits to Know About

April 15 is the IRS tax filing deadline, aka Tax Day. Whether you've got a baby or a college kid, here's how to get the most out of your income tax returns.

9 Month Bump Maternity Apparel Boutique in Trenton

9 Month Bump Maternity Apparel Boutique in Trenton

This downriver area consignment store is stocked with lots of trendy gently used options for new and expecting moms, plus handmade baby gifts and more.

Glass Action! Ferndale Mom Makes Cool Stained Glass Stuff

Glass Action! Ferndale Mom Makes Cool Stained Glass Stuff

Along with her iconic rock 'n' roll nightlights, Carey Gustafson makes custom portraits of kids, parents, pets and more, perfect for a cool family gift

Kid-Friendly Matzo Recipes for Passover

Kid-Friendly Matzo Recipes for Passover

Make this Jewish holiday memorable for your family with these creative recipes – from matzo grilled cheese to matzo lasagna.

Paint Wood-Turned Egg Forms for an Easter Treat that Lasts

Paint Wood-Turned Egg Forms for an Easter Treat that Lasts

Why not try a more eco-friendly version of plastic eggs with your family this holiday season? This DIY project is super customizable and makes great decor.

Local Mom Pepper Sprays Chuck E. Cheese's Patrons in Troy

Local Mom Pepper Sprays Chuck E. Cheese's Patrons in Troy

A Hamtramck woman's anger got the best of her at a southeast Michigan location of this kids party chain. What sparked her frustration at fellow patrons?

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement