Taking a vacation can be a costly undertaking. Depending on where you’re going, you may need to pay for airline tickets, hotels, rental cars, cabs, and exchange fees – and that’s before you even start enjoying your actual destination. Since the upfront costs of a vacation can be so large, especially if you have a larger family, many people find themselves keeping a strict budget whenever they get where they’re going.
However, keeping such a strict budget can detract from your overall vacation experience. A great way to still enjoy your vacation while not overspending is to limit your food budget. For a family of four, eating out for every meal can easily add several hundred dollars onto a vacation budget so if you want to be able to see and do all that you can, consider giving some of the following a try to save on food costs:
Look for Kitchens
When planning your trip, look for hotels and other vacation residences that can offer you a kitchen, or at least a “mini-kitchen” with a fridge and a stove top. While no mom wants to think about cooking every night on a family vacation, having such a feature gives you greater latitude to cook your own meals and less of an excuse to go out to a restaurant every night.
Although many people assume that kitchens are only accessible for those who rent expensive hotel suites or vacation condos, many lower-end hotels offer public kitchens that are open for use to all guests.
Shop Like a Local
No matter where you’re going, there’s likely to be a local population that lives there year-round – and, just as likely, spends less on food than the average vacationer. With this in mind, acting like a local can help you drastically reduce your costs.
Rather than taking the family to the hotel restaurant and buying a burger for lunch, head to the local supermarket or corner store and buy bread, cheese, and any other products to make a sandwich. Even if you don’t have a kitchen, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to cheaply buy and easily make sandwiches for the duration of your trip.
Pack A Snack
For many people, however, some of the largest food expenses during a vacation come while they are in transit. Whether you’re driving in your car or flying between airports, the food offered along the way is likely unsatisfying and overpriced. If you have children in tow, after all, you may be surprised to see how much you spend on food at the airport.
To combat this needless expense, make sure to pack a snack before leaving. At the beginning of the trip, you can do this in your own home and with your own food. At the end it’s a bit more challenging, but as mentioned above, it’s rarely difficult to find a local grocer and purchase some sandwich ingredients.
Wherever you’re going on your next vacation, have an enjoyable, relaxing, and budget-friendly time, and be sure to also check out a travel blogger or two who is focusing on your destination prior to going. You may be surprised by the insight they have to offer. And, just remember: saving on food costs can improve that last attribute without ruining either of the first two.
How do you save on your family vacations and trips? Yep, we’re headed out again this summer, too, so any tips will be appreciated.