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Are you trying to plan your next family vacation but are on a tight budget? Looking for ways to save money and stretch those vacation dollars further? Here are some simple and practical tips to help you save money on food on your family vacations!
Tip #1: Two Meals Per Day
The first way to save money on food on family vacations is to eat two meals per day instead of three.
Now, I’m not suggesting that you starve your family! But, it is possible to cut out one meal per day without feeling like you are sacrificing.
You can do this in a couple different ways. First, you can eat brunch instead of breakfast and lunch. Alternatively, you can eat a big breakfast, have a snack for lunch, and then eat a normal sized dinner.
Tip #2: Embrace the Snacks
Speaking of snacks, if you embrace the snacks, you can also save some money. Basically, what I mean by this is to allow your family to eat a lot of snacks throughout the day. This will result in them not being hungry enough to actually want a full meal.
This is a really effective tip to use when you are at theme parks or sporting events.
Tip #3: Share a Meal
If you are on a tight budget, you can also share a meal with another family member. This tip works well if you have small eaters in your family or if you have multiple young children.
This tip alone can save you a considerable amount on your vacation food budget.
Tip #4: Grab and Go
Another way to spend less on food while traveling is to limit the amount of sit down meals you eat during your trip.
Instead, eat some of your meals at quick service locations. This doesn’t mean you have to eat fast food. You can go to a sandwich shop, get some pizza, or even pick up some food from a grocery store’s grab and go section.
You can make this one fun by grabbing food and going to a park or playground for a picnic. This will allow you to have a unique meal while your kids also get some time to play.
Not only will this stretch your money further, but it will also make those sit down meals you do have even more special.
Tip #5: Cook Some Meals
If you stay in a vacation home or a hotel suite with a kitchenette, save some money while traveling by cooking some meals instead of eating out. Picking up food at a grocery store to cook yourself is a lot cheaper than going out to eat every meal.
This can also help you eat healthier while you are on vacation.
If you have little kids who need to nap each afternoon, try cooking lunch and taking an early afternoon break while your kids take a good nap.
Tip #6: Go Early
You can also save money on food on your family vacations by eating at expensive restaurants earlier in the day.
Breakfast is by far the cheapest meal of the day to eat at restaurants. And lunch is much less expensive than dinner. So, if there is a restaurant that you really want to try, but can’t really afford the dinner prices, go for either breakfast or lunch. You can save a good bit of money by doing this.
Tip #7: Look for Discounts and Specials
One of the best things you can do to make your vacations better is to research restaurants in advance of your trips. And while you are doing this research, look for restaurants that offer discounts or have specials that you can take advantage of.
These discounts and specials can save you anywhere from a few dollars up to half of your entire bill.
Tip #8: Pack Food for Travel Days
Another way to save a significant amount on food during your vacations is to pack food from home for your travel days.
If you are flying, pack snacks for your family to eat at the airport and on the plane. For ideas on what to pack, see my lists of the best airplane snacks for kids and the best snacks for toddlers for flying.
If, on the other hand, you are going on a road trip, you can save even more money by packing snacks and sandwiches to eat for lunch or whatever meal you will have during your drive. See my list of the best road trip snacks for kids and toddlers for some ideas of what to pack.
Tip #9: Choose Appetizers Over Entrees
Another easy way to save money on food during your vacations is to eat appetizers instead of entrees. Entrees are always more expensive than appetizers. So, by choosing appetizers instead, you can save a little bit of money.
Now, even if only one or two members of your family do this at each meal, you will still lower your food costs during your trip.
Tip #10: Go Out For Dessert.
My last tip for saving money on food is to head to an amazing restaurant that you want to try for dessert instead of for a full meal. This will allow you to experience the vibe of the restaurant while also enjoying the best part of a meal while only spending a fraction of the cost of a full meal.
Instead of blowing your entire budget on one really great meal, eat at a less expensive restaurant. Then, go to the fancy place for your dessert. It’s a win-win situation every time!
Traveling is a wonderful way to spend time with your family. But, family vacations can get expensive. By using these tips, you can save money on food on family vacations which will help you stretch those vacation dollars even further.
For more ways to save on your travels, see how to save money on hotels, rental cars, and airfare, and how to take a vacation when you can’t afford it.
To save money on Disney trips, see how to save money on food at Disney World, how to go to Disney on a dime, and how to save on Disney souvenirs.
P.S. Need help finding the best places to go on your family vacations? My Ultimate USA Bucket List for Families will instantly give you 60 of the best vacation destinations for families in the United States! Get it for FREE in the box below and start planning your next trip today! Plus, as a bonus, you will receive my weekly email newsletter full of family trip tips and inspiration!
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