Going on vacation is expensive—airfare, gasoline prices, and the cost of accommodations all add up quickly. One area where travelers can cut costs without cutting the quality of a vacation is in the meal department. Here are some dining tips that can help vacationers save money painlessly.
Choose Accommodations with a Kitchen or Kitchenette
Travelers can save a considerable amount of money on meals if they stay in a timeshare or home rental that features an onsite kitchen or a kitchenette. Even some hotel rooms now feature a little kitchen area with at least a microwave and a refrigerator. Cooking meals in a room is much cheaper than constantly going out to eat at expensive restaurants. In addition, travelers can keep milk, sodas, snacks, microwavable meals, as well as leftovers in their fridge. Sometimes, it’s those little $2 sodas and waters that can make or break a travel budget.
Select Accommodations that Offer Free Breakfast or Happy Hour
A number of hotels offer free breakfasts with their rooms. This is a good way to cut down on having to pay for at least one meal during the day. Travelers should check around before deciding on a hotel that offers a free breakfast. Some facilities offer elaborate spreads with hot choices, such as bacon and eggs, while the “free breakfast” of other places consists of a few boxes of cold cereal and juice. So it’s always best for travelers to compare prices and services before deciding on a hotel.
Some hotels also offer free happy hours with wine, soda and snacks. While this may not be enough to replace an entire meal, these little happy hours can at least put a dent in a traveler’s appetite.
Split Meals in Restaurants
Many restaurants today serve huge portions that are enough to feed two people. Before ordering, diners should take a look around to get an idea of a restaurant’s portion sizes, and then split a meal if the servings are large. This may sound like a no-brainer, but it is surprising how often people are shocked by the size of their portions when their food arrives. A peek at a fellow diner’s meals before ordering should eliminate this type of surprise and also help save money in the long run.
Social Media Site Discounts
Social media sites such as Living Social and Groupon offer great deals on meals. These sites allow travelers to purchase vouchers, which are usually good for about 50 percent off of a meal or whatever the deal of the day is. To take advantage of these bargains, travelers should sign up for these services for the town or area they plan on visiting well in advance of their planned vacation time. These sites will then send notices of the daily deals they are offering in those areas to the traveler. This is also an excellent way for travelers to discover new restaurants that they may not have found on their own.
These are just a few of the ways savvy travelers can save money on meals while on vacation without feeling like they’re compromising the quality of their vacation.