5 Ways to Slash Your Family’s Vacation Food Budget

Wondering how to pinch a few pennies on your next trip? Assessing and trimming your vacation food budget is a prime place to start. These tips can help.

Travel costs can add up fast. Flying with children, renting a car, putting gas in the car, lodging and all those souvenirs the kids have to have can make for an expensive vacation. But one area where it’s easy to save? Food! If you’re looking to travel for a little less, try these five ideas to save money on your vacation food budget while traveling.

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 healthy 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.

Have any additional tips to add? What works well for your family? Comment below and tell us!

This post was originally published in 2010 and is updated regularly.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -

LATEST STORIES

Letterboxing in Metro Detroit and Ann Arbor for Families

Here's everything you need to know to get started on this unique, kid-friendly pastime. Plus, check the roundup for a few spots for letterboxing for kids.

Picture Perfect Flower Fields to Visit in Michigan

Flower fields make for the perfect socially-distant spot to snap an Insta-worthy family pic. Check out these local spots including sunflowers, lavender and more.

Ways to Celebrate Earth Day from Home

Earth Day is right around the corner. Take care of Mother Earth and celebrate Earth Day from home with one of these fun and green activities.

ASMR and Kids: What is It, and What are the Pros and Cons?

YouTube has exploded with videos of people whispering, rustling buttons and even eating pickles – all to elicit a calm feeling. Can ASMR and kids be a good mix?


- Advertisement -