June 17, 2010

How to Save Money on Food While Vacationing

School just ended here. It’s hot outside and I know many of you will be heading out on vacation soon.  Hotels are expensive enough, but the cost of eating out can cost you as much or more than your accomodations. 

Here are some tips for saving on food while on vacation:

1.  Eat out only once each day.  Try to pack something for the other meals.  (Some ideas are listed below.)

2.  Check the visitor’s center. Sometimes you can find half price coupons for restaurants.

3.  Give Restaurant.com a try. I have used their gift certificates in several different cities.  Browse their site for your vacation destination.  Many times you can pick up $25 gift certificates for only $3.  I post regularly on these so be sure to check out their sale info.

4.  Try to find a hotel with complementary breakfast. Many times their rates are the same as other hotels.  I have eaten at some hotels that offer bacon, eggs, sausage, cinnamon rolls, cereal, and the works.  It really saves a lot on your food bill.

5.  Consider staying in a room with a kitchenette.  If it’s too pricey, try some of the ideas below.

6.  Precook and freeze meals that can be reheated in the microwave.  Some ideas are quiche, meatloaf, spaghetti, burritos, soup, homemade macaroni and cheese, pancakes and waffles, muffins, bacon, and casseroles.  What dishes do you freeze that reheat well in the microwave?

7.  Pack an assortment of snacks and convenience foods or stop by the local store.  Granola bars, trail mix, apples, bananas, Easy mac, microwave popcorn, instant oatmeal, bagels, yogurt, cheese sticks, and precut veggies are good choices.

8.  See if the hotel has a grill that you can use.  You can cook all sorts of stuff on a grill. Some of my favorite grill sides are potatoes and cabbage.  Simply cut up the potatoes or cabbage and wrap them in tin foil with some butter and seasoning.  Yummy!

9.  Eat out for lunch.  For the most part, it is a lot less expensive to eat out at lunch than dinner. 

10.  Take a steamer, crockpot, or toaster oven with you.  Depending on the hotel’s rules, you might be able to make your dinner in the crock pot or steamer.  I have also heard about people using a coffee pot to cook their food. I have never tried that one before, so if you’re interested in that method, you might want to do some internet searches for information.

11.  Check the grocery store for inexpensive precooked foods.  Perhaps you could pick up a rotisserie chicken or fried chicken, some bagged salad, or potato salad. 

12.  Schedule at least one inexpensive dinner outing.  I’m thinking of something like Cici’s pizza.  If you get water, you can eat for about $5/person.

Well, I know that these tips only scratch the surface of ways to save on food while on vacation.  Tell us your tips.  😀

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