How to save money on food on vacation?

As Santa prepares his sleigh to spread joy and deliver gifts, it's time for you to go on a well-deserved vacation and enjoy the most beautiful moments with your families!

A vacation is on doubt a time of happiness, relaxation and rejuvenation. However, trip planning itself can sometimes be overwhelming, particularly when you have a tight budget to accommodate. With all the excitement, there maybe one question that's still in your mind: How can I treat myself and my family to delicious food during the vacation without having to spend a fortune?

Don't worry, we have the answer. In this guide, we will share some great tips to help you strike the perfect balance between satisfying your taste buds and keeping your wallet happy during your Christmas getaway.

Grocery shop at least once – and plan ahead

Whether you are flying or going on a road trip, taking the time to visit a nearby grocery store and preparing food and snacks in advance will definitely help you save money on food.

First, customise your own pre-trip food shopping list according to your itinerary. Then, head to a grocery store to purchase or pack snacks or food from your home stock. If you are taking a road trip, consider buying or packing food and snacks that will stay fresh in a cooler or at zoom temperature, such as fruit, granola bars, trail mix and nuts.

Along your journey, grocery stores can also serve as a "recharging station", where you can treat yourself a hot bowl of soup from their soup and salad bars at a lower cost.

Bringing your own water bottle

Water can be costly at airports or tourist spots.

To cut food expenses on vacation, consider brining one or more refillable water bottles with you and filling them up whenever there are facilities available, such as water fountains, fast-food joints or filtered water fill-up stations.Thermal bottles or insulated bottles are even better as they can keep cold or hot drinks for a longer time.

In addition, having your own bottle allows you to stay hydrated during your trip without having to constantly search for water sources or purchase drinks.

Book a kitchen equipped hotel

Book a kitchen-equipped hotel

Booking a hotel room with a kitchen gives you the freedom to cook your own meals. This is a certain way to effectively save money on food, especially for longer stays or family trips.

Getting groceries from local stores allows you to spend much less for one meal. Plus, you can cook meals according to your own preferences. Even if you don’t have a full kitchen in the hotel room, there are lots of light and healthy meal options available with just a mini fridge and microwave, such as cereal, instant oatmeal, yogurt, pre-packaged meals, and salads or sandwiches made from fruits and veggies.

Besides, having access to a kitchen allows you to store and reheat leftovers. For many people, the biggest difference between eating out at home and while on vacation is how to handle leftovers. If you don't have a kitchen, or at the very least, a mini fridge in your hotel room, it's difficult to bring leftovers back to the hotel and keep them fresh before later consumption.

Search for a breakfast-included hotel

Opting for a hotel room with free breakfast can also cut your overall vacation budget. Many hotels, including those that are not luxury four-star or five-star hotels, offer a wide range of options. For example, continental breakfast or buffet-style ones without extra costs.

This provides great value as you may even be able to skip a lunch after having a satisfying meal in the morning. In some cases, you may have the option to pack lunch from breakfast spread or make simple sandwiches using bread and cheese to take with you for lunch.

Look for local recommendations

Local food is an sensational aspect of the travel experience, offering you a fun way to explore the local culture through unique flavours and create cherish memories. Therefore, it's only nature if you have the desire to try some local cuisine when you are on vacation.

Before heading out, use rating apps like Yelp to do your own research on local popular restaurants or bars. Review comments and compare prices to make informed choices that fit your budget.

Alternatively, consider seeking advice from hotel staff or home-stay owners, as they may come up with different ideas for authentic yet budget-friendly local food and drink options.

Join events with free food

If you are already out and have little knowledge of your whereabouts, Google Map will be a better choice as it provides both location information and travel guidance. Just make sure your mobile data plan has sufficient data remaining and supports roaming.

When you have doubts about your data usage, simply contact your service provider to avoid unexpected additional charged. Alternatively, you can consider switching to an unlimited data plan to save the hassle.

Nowadays, unlimited data plans are not always more expensive. In fact, by signing up for federal programs like Lifeline and the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) through EASY Wireless, you will qualify for an exciting FREE unlimited package, including a FREE smartphone! Saving on other travel expenses, such as mobile cost, can also maximise your vacation food budget.

Dine out for lunch instead of dinner

Dine out for lunch instead of dinner

When you decide to dine out, one money-saving tip is to opt for lunch rather than dinner.

Many restaurants provide the same appetizers and entrees at lower prices during lunch or brunch hours. Additionally, on weekdays, restaurants tend to offer cheaper daily special combos or lunch set, allowing you to enjoy a delightful meal at a much more affordable price.

Dining at early bird hours or taking advantage of happy hour deals will also help save money on vacation. You will find meals and drinks on discount at most places during these off-peak hours.

Try buffet when travelling with family

A buffet is also a choice of great value when you would like to taste a bit of "everything" during a single meal or when travelling with family.

Instead of ordering multiple dishes for each family member, including appropriate dishes for kids, you can find a variety of options in one place, allowing everyone to pick their favourite food. However, it's important to double-check whether they charge the same price for kids.

Choose water

Choose water

When treating yourself a fancy meal at a restaurant, a simple way to pay less is to order tap water instead of soda or other fancy drinks.

Prices of alcohol and other drinks at restaurants are generally much higher than those at grocery stores or supermarkets, while tap water is typically offered for free or at a minimal cost. Therefore, choosing water can effectively save money while on vacation.

In short, there are many ways to spend less on food during your vacation without compromising on taste. With a little creativity - beforehand meal planning, grocery shopping, self-prepared meals, and leveraging complimentary or discounted dining options - you can enjoy delicious meals with your budget intact.

Try applying these tips to create a wonderful and cost-effective vacation experience this year!