Aside from attractions, dining can be the most expensive part of a family vacation. Between the cost of restaurant meals, tips, fast food, and snacks on the go, families like ours can easily spend upwards of $200 a day eating out.
One way we save money on our vacation is by minimizing our dining costs as much as possible. The money saved is used instead to see the sights or upgrade our hotel to one that has a pool or is located in an historic part of town. Here are some of the ways that we save on the cost of dining when on vacation.
Take advantage of discounts.
We belong to AAA which offers discounts of 10-20% on dining at member restaurants. This isn't the only way to lower dining costs; if your vacation will be in Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco or other large city, you can order an Entertainment book for buy-one-get-one meal deals for the area. We did this a few years when vacationing in Seattle and saved nearly $150 with BOGO deals and discounts. Books take about 2 weeks to ship so plan accordingly.
Choose hotels carefully
While on the road, we tend to select hotels that come with free perks such as coffee and a continental breakfast which is an easy way to save about $30 a day. Another way we save money -- especially if staying in a single location for several days -- is by choosing hotels with kitchenettes which allows us to prepare our own meals. Kitchenettes can be anything from a fully stocked mini kitchen to a microwave perched on an dorm-sized refrigerator. I usually bring a hot pot and a single electric burner on our vacations which gives us additional cooking options beyond the microwave.
Pack a cooler
Back in the "old days," vacationing travelers ate their picnic lunches at roadside tables inside of driving through a drive-in restaurant for meals. I still pack picnic lunches during our family vacations which we'll eat in a city park, a museum lobby, or at a rest area somewhere along the route. $10 will buy all the ingredients needed to pack a healthy lunch plus snacks which is a considerable savings over dining out.
*Note: This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Do you have a personal finance story that you'd like to share? Sign up with the Yahoo! Contributor Network to start publishing your own finance articles.More by this contributor:
- Travel & Tourism