One of the biggest expenses you encounter while on vacation is food expense. If you can cut down on food expense while on vacation, you can significantly cut down on the overall drain on your wallet while out and about at your favorite vacation destinations. But how can you do this without feeling that you are depriving yourself of fun in the process?
Here are a few ways to save on vacation:
- Plan your budget for food and dining ahead of time. Put a little time into planning your food budget before arriving at your destination so that you can plan what you will spend and not go over your limit. Put aside some cash that is allocated just for dining and eating, thereby keeping your hands out of this money for other categories. By deciding ahead of time the approximate budget you will spend eating and dining, buying food and snacks, and so forth, you will plan to spend only the amount you have designated for food.
- Consider taking some snacks and prepackaged foods with you or groceries to prepare. Some people enjoy cooking once in awhile while on vacation. If you get lodging with a kitchenette or cooking area, you will be able to fix some meals in your room and save a lot of money for later. Upscale Beach Resorts, Extended stay hotels, cabin communities such as Pigeon Forge Cabin Rentals even offer full kitchens, sometimes high end grills and smokers for preparing some great meals without fighting traffic or a high priced tourist restaurant bill during your vacation.
- Learn to study menus carefully before ordering. Just taking a second look at prices in restaurants or looking at their website and menu ahead of time will help you to plan your dining budget and keep you from taking on too much surplus. It’s actually better to plan this before you go in the restaurant. Some restaurants are high-end and only offer a child’s plate that is under $30, so be aware of this before deciding where to go. Another thing to keep in mind is that expensive does not always equal amazing food. There are many Guy Fieri “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” type restaurants that will totally blow your taste buds away. Seek them out during your vacation and support a local business as well!
- Snack earlier and eat lighter at dinner. One thing you can do is to eat more snacks or lighter meals earlier in the day and make lighter choices for the evening meal. Dinner menus are inherently higher than lunch menus, so you could occasionally skip dinner altogether or eat at a lower-priced restaurant for dinner. Don’t forget the “Early Bird” Specials either! Of course, you don’t want to do this all of the time, but saving the expensive dinner meals for the rare occasion, rather than the rule, will save you several bucks over the course of your trip.
- Go “Dutch” if with friends while on vacation. One way to save money on vacation is to agree mutually with people you’re traveling with, that you will pay for your own meals. That way, no one feels that they have to pay for several people at dinner and it helps everyone save money eating out. For those who insist on paying, let them do it and enjoy!
- Food Trucks. Food trucks which are easily found in major cities and tourist areas also afford the opportunity to save you some time and money while on vacation. Of added benefit, food trucks are also a great way to sample local cuisine on the cheap. Many times, the food on these trucks rival or even surpass the quality of more traditional sit down establishments.
- Wednesday Night Church Dinners. Throughout the Midwest and Southeast USA it is fairly typical to see churches from many denominations offering a free evening meal (dinner or supper depending on geography) on Wednesday night. If you are out and about on vacation and like to meet with members of the same faith, or perhaps even a different one, these dinners offer some “down home” cooking and friendly folks to boot! Please keep in mind that these “free” dinners usually support worthwhile causes, youth groups, various fundraisers and upcoming church or mission trips. What a great way to give thanks and support future travel by a local church congregation of choice, all while on vacation.
Enjoy Your Budget Friendly Vacation
These are just a few ways of How to Save Money Dining Out While on Vacation. Please check out our previous article which will show you Great Ways to Save for that Memorable Vacation. With proper planning and focus before your trip, one can keep your dining out budget within a reasonable limit for the duration of your vacation. By planning your spending before you go out, studying menus, and including snacks, as well as agreeing that everyone pay their own way, you will be able to limit your budget for food while still enjoying an occasional vacation night out. Who knows, you might even make some new friends at church or the food truck!