7 Ways to Lower Vacation Food Costs
by Sheri Alzeerah, http://www.foodonthetable.com ◊ May 20, 2011
The suitcases are zipped, hotel reservations have been confirmed, and, if traveling by plane, life has been neatly compartmentalized into 3-oz. containers. You, along with millions of others ready to get away, are all set for your summer vacation.
Whether going by plane, train, or automobile, Rule No. 1 during a successful summer trip is to keep all tummies happy. Rule No. 1 after a successful summer trip? Keep all bank accounts happy.
One big way to cut costs without sacrificing a fun vacation is to manage your food budget while away. Take these seven tips into consideration before jet/train/car-setting this summer to avoid a trip that leaves you broke:
Scout out restaurants in the area online and, even better, find food discounts and savings accordingly. Start by exploring restaurants that are walking distance from your lodging, so you can save money on gas or transportation fees.
2. Make an itinerary and set a budget
Even if you’re not a three-meals-a-day type of person, allot money to allow for three meals for each day you’ll vacation. According to the price level of restaurants you found in Tip No. 1, plan for how much money you expect to spend each day. When you set a realistic budget prior to departure, you’ll be able to better gauge your food expenses while on vacation.
3. Pretend you’re a local
When on a trip, it’s sometimes easy to forget that locals live on a budget where you’re vacationing. Tourist traps are just that — traps. Avoid getting sucked into overspending and get cultured instead. Go to the neighborhood joint or scope out the street food scene, and discover the city’s best without spending the most.
4. Pack snacks
Whether traveling with kids or not, your crew is bound to get hungry in between meals. Instead of buying snacks at convenient stores, bring favorite packaged goodies from home.
5. Look for festivals or markets
Free food and, even better, free fun for hours on end are easy to find at local festivals. Plus, these extravaganzas full of all things local are bound to be bursting with opportunities that are prime for the picture taking. Food markets are another option for local fare that’s fresh and cost effective. Snack on seasonal produce, chow down on baked goods, and check out the catch of the day at the place where community meets fresh food.
6. Score complimentary breakfasts
When booking a place to stay, consider finding one with complimentary breakfast. Whether full-fledged continental buffet or just a bowl of cereal, these meals can save you big bucks in the morning and keep you energized until lunchtime.
7. Bring reusable water bottles
No need to waste money on bottled water when you can refuel for free at water fountains or, depending on where you are, from the tap. It’s summertime, and the living’s easy when you don’t have to deal with needless vacation expenses. Be a better budgeter on vacation and soon enough, you’ll be a better budgeter even when you return to life sans 3-oz. liquids.
Sheri Alzeerah is a journalist and freelance writer for www.foodonthetable.com.
Food on the Table is an online service that helps families eat better and save money on groceries. They take family’s food preferences and the sales at the local grocery store to create a meal plan and organized grocery list based on quick and kid-friendly recipes approved by their chefs. In the Hamden area, Food on the Table supports Stop & Shop, Shop Rite, and Save-A-Lot.