Affordable Travel Guide to Eating on the Cheap

Vacation Meals Don’t Need to be Expensive

Eating on the Cheap

It’s always a treat to dine out, but that can really jack up the cost of a trip or family vacation if you haven’t secured an all-inclusive resort for your holiday. We have some terrific tips that will help you save money on meals when you’re traveling.

First, and probably most obvious, is to book a hotel that includes breakfast (buffet-style is great, even if it’s continental, because you can stock up and be good for the whole morning). If there is fruit available, grab an apple or banana and take it with you.

If breakfast is not included in your hotel, and you have a complimentary coffee/tea machine in your hotel room, use it before you go out to breakfast, and you won’t be paying $2-$4 for a cup.

Dinner is generally the most expensive meal. A lot of restaurants serve very similar, if not the same, food for lunch and dinner, but the dinner prices are set significantly higher. It makes sense, then, to take your largest meal at lunchtime; you can save up to 50% doing that!

If you like a glass of wine or a beer with your meal, avoid purchasing those beverages in a restaurant, bar or hotel. One of the ways in which restaurants make fast profit is through the mark-up prices on the alcohol they sell. And don’t be fooled by restaurants that let you bring your own bottle of wine; they charge a corkage fee just to remove the cork or screw-cap, anywhere between $10 and $20! So buy some wine or beer from the local store and keep it in your room; never purchase drinks of any kind from your in-room bar if you want to save money. Drink water with your meal and have a cocktail or glass of wine afterward in your room.

Many restaurants offer half-price appetizers before a certain hour of the day (prior to peak times like 6:00 p.m. and onward), so if you don’t mind eating a little early, you may get a break on the cost. And some offer half-price meals for kids when they dine with two adults. Check the local telephone book and ask at your hotel’s desk for places with dining deals.

One of the best ways to save on meals during your trip is to find a local market (much cheaper than the local grocery store!) and stock up on items such as fresh fruit, bread or crackers, and if you have a bar-size refrigerator in your room, buy some cheeses. These are great for a light breakfast or lunch, and you can spend your meal budget having a great dinner.

Finally, eat where the locals do, not in the predominantly touristy areas, as long as the facilities are clean and acceptable to you. Taking your meals in different places can be an enjoyable experience and add a bit of variety to your vacation. Eating well doesn’t have to cost much if you use your common sense and a little imagination! Bon appetite!

More in Travel Tips

Airport Car Rentals Can Drive Up Your Costs

Airport Car Rentals Can Drive Up Your Costs

Airport car rentals can drive up your costs
Rent it or Cab it?

Rent it or Cab it?

Which is more cost-effective, cabs or car rentals…
Travel Totes

Travel Totes

Having the right luggage streamlines travel
Traveling Solo

Traveling Solo

Do Single Supplements Sink your Plans to Swim?
Vacation Savings: Phone Calls

Vacation Savings: Phone Calls

Save money by avoiding hotel long-distance fees