We are going on vacation with my entire family soon. It will be my family, my sister’s family, my brother and my parents. We will be staying in a beach condo with a full kitchen. We’ve done this for several years now and we all take turns cooking and it is a wonderful time to spend with family. Generally we all bring some stuff from our pantry and even a few refrigerated items in a cooler for the drive down. That way we aren’t paying full price for items at the grocery store once we get there. I thought I’d take this opportunity to share 10 ways to save money on food while on vacation
- If you can find a place within your budget that has a kitchen, it makes cooking and meal preparation easier and you don’t have to run out and spend money on eating out 3 times a day.
- Look into hotels that have a “free breakfast” option, but keep the price of the hotel in mind. A less expensive hotel may be better than paying a lump sum even if breakfast is free. My kids are always hungry as soon as they wake up, so if we are staying at a place without breakfast we always pack breakfast items like muffins, or cinnamon rolls or fruit. If we have a cooler, we pack it with milk for cereal, yogurt or cheese and crackers.
- If you are traveling with kids, try to scope out the local restaurants where kids eat free. Be sure to check guidelines like specific times or days of the week. Also be aware that many only allow 1 free kids meal per adult meal.
- Bring refillable bottles and jugs of water or juice to refill them with. Refill the bottles when necessary to save on paying full price for drinks while out and about. Also take snacks so you don’t have to stop often and spend money. Our kids love pretzels, trail mixes with a few M&M’s mixed in and cheez-its. Bringing your own snacks for the airport and Disney can be a lifesaver. Check out my previous post on Saving Money At Disney. Yes you can bring drinks and snacks into the parks! Bring lots of snacks. It’s always my experience that when everyone is active at the beach, pool or theme park, they eat more!
- Check out Restaurants.com for local restaurants in the zip code you will be vacationing in. We have done this in several places including our trip to Maryland. If you are unsure about doing this before you arrive at your destination, you can take advantage of the hotel computer lab to buy and print your restaurant certificate. I find this valuable after talking to the hotel staff on restaurants they would recommend. Keep in mind some hotels charge to print but it’s usually under $1.00.
- If you plan on eating out at local establishments, try going during lunch time when prices are typically less expensive. Then you can eat light for dinner or in your hotel room. You can buy deli sandwiches at the local grocery store and take it back to your room or eat pool side. Many times we bring PB&J supplies and make them for dinner. After a long day out or in a theme park, relaxing in your quiet room can be a life saver.
- If your hotel or condo will allow it, bring your own crock-pot and throw dinner in it before you head to the pool. A simple chicken with BBQ sauce makes a quick and easy meal.
- Make a casserole before you leave and freeze it for your road trip. When you get to your destination, dinner will be ready to pop in the oven.
- Plan meals ahead of time. Between me, my mom and my sister we have 3 dinners already planned. Each of us will bring what we need for those meals. That also means one person is not cooking every night. Love that. Of course a group of family members in the kitchen together is always a good time.
- Have a little fun with breakfast if your room has a kitchen. Give everyone a baggie and write their names on the outside, and then break 1-2 eggs inside. Have each person add other omelet type ingredients of their choice in their own bag. Seal it shut, and mix it up. Throw them in a pot of boiling water and cook till done. The kids love this, it’s easy clean up for the adults and everyone gets the omelet they want! Here are some egg in a bag directions.
I know that there is a Publix location where we will be going, so I will be calling to find out what competitor coupons they accept. I have also accumulated several Publix coupons to take with us. Between all of us, we tend to split up our transactions anyway and I can divvy up the coupons to everyone. That way no one family bears the bulk of the food costs.
Planning a Staycation this year? Check out the huge list of over cities with Staycation ideas.