11 Money Saving Tips for Feeding Hungry Families on Vacation​ (PHOTOS)

Liz Alterman | Feb 4, 2015 Food & Party
11 Money Saving Tips for Feeding Hungry Families on Vacation​ (PHOTOS)

family at restaurant

Have you been tempted to pass off your super-tall teen as a 10-year-old so he can order off the kids' menu while you're dining out on vacation? You know you've got to cut back when your dinner bill costs more than the nightly stay at a hotel, but how? 

money-saving tipsAs much as you may want to splurge, it's hard enough to return from vacation, let alone be faced with a mountain of bills in your mailbox. 

With winter and spring breaks coming up, we asked moms to share their valuable advice for staying on budget when it comes to dining out on vacation. 

#5 is a great suggestion no matter where you're headed! 

How do you keep costs to a minimum while dining out on vacation? 


Images via stockyimages/shutterstock & iStock.com/monkeybusinessimages

  • Choose a Hotel With a Free Breakfast


    Image © aodaodaodaod/shutterstock

    For many moms, finding a hotel that includes a free breakfast is a top priority. It's convenient as well as a big savings. Also, if you fill up at breakfast, you may be able to get away with a lighter lunch or just wait to enjoy an early dinner. 

  • Make Sure Your Room Has a Kitchen


    Image © SantiagoCornejo/shutterstock

    A mom within the CafeMom community who goes by the name momma-flynn shared how she keeps costs low.

    "We get a hotel with a kitchen in the room and complimentary breakfast. I shop the sales and plan our meals for the trip," she says.

  • Share a Meal


    Image ©JustinRossEvans/shutterstock

    Moms suggest sharing a meal to keep costs low. Just make sure there's no plate-sharing charge, which is often posted on the menu. 

    "My husband and I find a meal we agree on and split it," says Maggie B., of New Jersey. "That way we don't end up with leftovers that we can't store if our hotel room doesn't have a fridge."

  • Do Some Research


    Image © Monkey Business Images/shutterstock

    "We try to do some research ahead so that we know where the more affordable spots are to eat, and we ask locals when we get there. Often the favorite spots are affordable 'hole in the wall' restaurants with good food and local charm," writes a CafeMom member who goes by the name ohwrite.

  • Make Your Midday Meal Your Biggest


    Image © Monkey Business Images/shutterstock

    Eat your big meal at lunch, advises an anonymous member of the CafeMom community. Lots of restaurants offer lunch specials, and overall, this meal is often far less expensive than dinner. 

  • Pack a Snack


    Image © Image Source/Corbis

    You do it at home, so why not do it while you're away? Keeping a snack in your purse can really cut down on those last-minute purchases at theme parks or the beach where prices are greatly inflated. This also gives you a bit more control about what the little guys are eating. An apple or granola bar might not be as exciting as a corn dog or cotton candy, but it's better for you and a lot less expensive if you've packed it yourself. And don't forget bottled water! Anyone who's paid up to $3 for a little H2O knows how fast this natural resource adds up!

  • Consider Camping


    Image © Delmas Lehman/shutterstock 

    "We always stay at a campground instead of a hotel, so we can cook most of our meals. We usually just eat out on the way home," says doodasmomma, a CafeMom community member.

  • Order Water


    Image © Svitlana Gygorenko/shutterstock 

    Easy to remember because it rhymes, "order water" is the trick of CafeMom member Elssa414, who says her family never orders drinks at restaurants. "Just water -- it's cheaper and way healthier," she says.

  • Get Take-Out


    Image via Matt Chan/Flickr

    CafeMom member SeaSal advises ordering take-out and enjoying it in your hotel room. It's a good way to save on a tip and those often-overpriced beverages.

  • BYOB


    Image ©photobank.ch/shutterstock

    CafeMom member SeaSal also shared that rather than splurging on a pricey bottle of wine at a restaurant, she picks one up at the store for less than $10 and she and her husband enjoy a drink on the balcony after their son is asleep. Sounds romantic and thrifty at the same time!

  • Find Online Deals


    Image © 2/Harry Briggs/Ocean/Corbis

    Many moms swear by online deals available at sites like Groupon and LivingSocial.

    "We spend time in Florida during the summers," says Kimmy W. of New York, "and we decide where we'll eat based on where we can 'buy one, get one.' You can save as much as 50 percent just by dining between certain hours. It's definitely worth doing a little digging."

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