We can travel as often as we do by keeping our trip cost down. When we are at home we do not eat dinner out very often, so its a bit of a vacation treat. In fact my daughter loved going to the airport because it was the only time of the year she got to eat at McDonald’s.
To help keep costs low I try to book a hotel that includes a free breakfast in the morning. Fairfield Inn, Country Inn and Suites, Hampton Inn and the like offer a complementary breakfast in the morning. These have improved over the last couple of years to include french toast, bacon, eggs, sausages, biscuits and gravy and waffles. They still have the muffins and cold cereal but its nice also to have fresh cut up melon as an option. We make good use of the free breakfast, even grabbing a banana or apple for a snack later. A big breakfast allows for a lighter lunch.
Depending on where we are we either take lunch food with us or do a quick fast food stop. Pop-tarts go on every trip with me, its a treat for my daughter and they are easy to pack. For fast food we use coupons either from my Mom’s Sunday paper or online. Subway buy 1 six inch sub get one free is a good deal and often in the local paper.
Dinner is often a new restaurant for us. I can do alright with chain coupons from the paper but I can usually do better with Groupon or Restaurant.com coupons. This also puts us in local areas we might not have tried if we stuck with a chain. Another option is signing up for restaurant emails. When we visited Mall of America I signed for the email list for restaurants in the mall. Several sent me coupons within a week of signing up. A couple were for free entrees with a purchase. One was for a free appetizer with our meal. Nothing out for signing up, you can unsubscribe later if you do not wish to keep receiving their emails. Also tripadvisor gave me good idea of cheap eats in the area of I was visiting or how the restaurants were rated before I bought a Groupon.
Sometimes cheap buffets are even fun for dinner. We do not have a Cici’s Pizza in our area. So in Texas or Florida we check them out. Often if you sign up for their email you are sent a buy one adult buffet get one free. Its not gourmet food but it can be fun to eat things that are not the norm for your family. Like the Mac-n-Cheese pizza. Its about the quality of Little Caesars pizza but kids love a buffet.
These are a few ways we save food on vacation with our little family. Its not gourmet, its not always the healthiest option but we are on vacation.