Traveling can be expensive, but there are so many ways that you can save on trips that it is almost impossible to not find deals. Keeping more money in your (hidden) pocket is always a plus and can help you spend more time at your destination, not go into debt to travel or even let you get a jump start on your next trip. Dining is always a big budget buster, because you have to eat. There’s no way around it. Of course, there are a lot of ways to make your final check a little smaller, which can save you big over the course of a vacation.
Make lunch your big meal. If you have a longing to go to some fancy schmancy restaurant that everyone is raving about and has a celebrity chef, skip dinner and go for lunch instead. The afternoon menu usually has similar entrees, smaller portions and smaller prices. Sometimes, evening meals can cost twice as much, so splurge on lunch and then eat something more reasonably priced for dinner.
Hit up food carts. Street food is super popular now and is everywhere, whether you are traveling in India or San Francisco. The cool thing about food carts is the variety. Generally, several carts are gathered together, so if your travel companions aren’t feeling like having whatever you’re having, you can get items from multiple “restaurants” and then eat together at a picnic table, nearby park or while you’re walking to your next destination. You will get a taste of the local cuisine, lower prices and you don’t have to tips a waiter.
Split your meal. Sometimes the fresh air can make you ravenous. Or you just think you are, because you have that feeling five times a day. Curb your crazy appetite and your spending by splitting entrees with your travel companion. This way you don’t end up paying for food you don’t eat or end up with a bunch of leftovers that somehow get tossed because you forgot about them. In some countries, they don’t allow you to take the remainder of your food, so what’s left just goes to waste. Splitting your meal can help when portions are super-sized. And if you’re still hungry after you’ve eaten it, you can always get a little something for dessert.
Skip breakfast dining. Eggs and toast can really add up and take a big bite out of your budget. If you aren’t really into having a long lavish breakfast, stock up on items like bagels, cereal and granola bars that you can eat before you leave your room. The money saved on that one meal each day can go towards the rest of you meals or a big activity you want to do.
Ignore the kids’ menu. When traveling with kids, you are going to be faced with a lot of menus that include macaroni and cheese, chicken nuggets, pizza and hot dogs. While kids might love these items, they aren’t exactly nutritious or cheap. You may also have a little one that says they’re hungry, but then barely eats what’s on their plate or eats yours instead. Sharing plates is a good option here, too. Either share a regular meal between children or with them. A salad can always be added on if they eat more than their share and you still need something to fill you up. This ensures that they broaden their tastes and also eat some veggies.