{Giveaway} Mavis + Travelocity = Last Minute Vacation!

Holy travel discounts Batman!  Have you checked out the last minute deals on Travelocity lately!  Wowza!  I just booked a last minute weekend getaway for 2 and I need your help!

The hotel I booked does not include a free breakfast or an evening appetizer hour… Yikes!  What is this FruGAL going to do?   I need YOUR help.  I barely have enough time to download a map, pack, print tickets and quickly prepare a few meals for my husband and son so they don’t  hang out in their Underoos all weekend long  playing video games and eating all the junk food from my snack cupboard. I’m beginning to panic!


So this is what I need from YOU:  Please tell me your absolute best/ numero uno /all time favorite FruGAL travel tip for eating inexpensively while on a vacation.

Everyone who leaves a comment below will be entered into the giveaway.  I will choose 2 winners at random on Monday. What’s the prize?  Well… you’ll just have to wait and see. (That’s code for I have no idea but I will find something for you while I’m on vacation).

🙂    🙂    🙂

Okay… So let’s hear it: What is your #1 FruGAL tip for saving money on food while on vacation?




  • Christina S

    When i go on vacation with my family , we get a very inexpensive buffet around 10:00. That holds us over till around 3:30 when we can slip in somewhere for a small meal at lunch time prices before the prices go up at 4:00.

  • Carrie L

    I like to order from the appetizer menu at dinner. Its usually less expensive than a meal and if they have a sampler or appetizer combo you can get an assortment of things to try.

  • Margo

    I usually pack breakfast. Granola bars are great, and if the hotel has all day coffee and tea, you can use the hot water to prepare an oatmeal packet. Then I usually eat a bigger lunch, because lunch is cheaper, and have a light dinner. I also look for restaraunts the locals go to. An authentic Mexican food place is usually really inexpensive and the quantities are huge.

  • Lisa

    We have four kids so when we travel we tend to go to restaurants that have free kids meals when you buy two adult entrees. Water all around too!!!! When it is just hubby and me we order one super large meal and share it.

  • Nicole

    #1 eat where the locals eat. It’s cheaper and probably a lot better!
    #2 Bring/buy you own food and have a picnic. it’s a great way to save money and enjoy wherever you are.
    #3 One of my favorite treats of all time is good cheese and bread. Eat out at lunch and enjoy as a light dinner.

  • Leslie

    When on vacation we tend to eat a lot of small healthy/inexpensive snacks throughout the day and then only have to really plan a meal for dinner. Also, If you do eat out a time or two, just make sure you take your leftovers and stash in the mini fridge for the next days dinner.

  • Stephanie Pierce

    Besides packing snacks from home, I like to book a hotel that offers a great free breakfast. Hotels with free breakfasts usually cost a little more, but with a family of five, it is very much worth the ten or so extra dollars a night. Plus these hotels usually have a fridge, free bottled water, and cookies and milk at night.

  • Krista Millar

    My husband and I always split a meal. We also try and go at early times so that we can get the early bird rates!! Have fun on your imprompt to vacation!

  • Krista Porter

    My mom went to Hawaii one time and she told me that she got a few cheap snack items at the store like bread, peanut butter, and bananas. She said that she had so much fun seeing all the sites, and she didn’t have to spend hardly anything just because she got a few good, cheap and quick snacks..which you can probably even coupon for!

  • Susan

    I either stay at a hotel that offers continental breakfast or just buy a pack a bagels and eat that for breakfast. Then eat a BIG lunch around 3:30 (because its before prices go up for dinner) or go to a buffet. That will hold us over for awhile. Many times, we wont even eat dinner, just get a snack.

  • Ann

    Bring your own food, go to grocery stores for items like bananas, applesauce, etc that do not need to stay in the fridge, so your breakfast/lunch foods are inexpensive and pizza is a cheap dinner…

  • Alice

    We do water to drink, the soda/tea price can kill, but we also pack a cooler, loaf of bread lunch meat, string cheese and eat a picnic. Also, once we made a whole loaf of french toast and got syrup packets. took a small toaster with us and breakfast was cheap and easy!

  • Molly

    I honestly take my coupon binder and find a grocery store close by. There are usually fridges in rooms and you can store bread and sandwich fixins. Plus, you can grab some drinks and won’t have to buy them at a fancy dining place. If all else fails, DOLLAR MENU!!!

  • Cindy

    We always try to pick a hotel with a breakfast bar. Some of them have fresh fruit and water bottles that you can take with you which can be lunch. If we are staying more than one night we make a stop at the grocery store for beverages and/or snacks. We usually splurge on dinner, after all its a vacation ! =)

  • Teresa

    As a former flight attendant, I was often stuck in a hotel room with nowhere around to eat, or the restaraunts all closed…so I started utalizing the coffee maker in the room. This meant that I always carried a stash of oatmeal packets and instant soup. Of course, it’s smart to always have nuts, protein bars, and dried fruit, too. Hope this helps and have a great trip!

  • Tif

    Check out discount websites like Groupon, Living Social, Tipper, etc for the city you’re going to. Those sites always have some restaurant deals and they’re usually for 50% or more off!

  • Julie Johnson

    Hit up a local grocery store or market to stock up on water, snacks and an easy breakfast item (cereal and soymilk or bagels..)
    If you are going on a vacation with the kiddos to somewhere like Disneyland, I always buy my souvenirs in advance from a store like Target–You’d be surprised at how happy a pack of glowsticks and a generic autograph book will make a child, plus you avoid those pricey licensed ones at the park!

  • Mary

    I do alot of the things already mentioned, but also look for the local entertainment type paper. Many times there are coupons for local restaurants. 2 for 1 deals are always good.

  • Karen

    Take snacks. Ask the front desk person for places they like to eat. Check for coupons in the rack up front full of travel brochures.

  • Elaina

    When I go to the hotel, I gather a great repoire with the staff. They truly will be your cheerleaders to make sure you and your family have a great time . In my experience, I have been given meal comps/ drink tickets and etc… AND not because I demanded everything for free, caused a scene- but because I made them aware of my situation and asked them to help me with their experience- Engage them in the process on how to have a fabulous vacation on a budget. It seems most people in hospitality are hospitipal!

  • bridget P.

    I usually go to resteraunt.com to look at what resteraunt certificates are available. They usually are good and cheep! I got one last year for 2.50 for a 35.00 dinner for two! Also all the comments above is usually what I do buy my own food, but I do recomend asking the locals what their favorite hangouts are to eat as it usually is good and cheep 🙂

  • Yocelyn

    We bring as much as we can in coolers and when we run out we go to the grocery store. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, oatmeal (instant), tuna sandwiches also do the trick.

  • gerbilmom

    We enjoy bringing a mini cooler with lunch meat, mayo, tortilla wraps, lettuce, tomato’s, and an onion. Throw in some Nature Valley granola bars and some So Be. Bring a half gallon milk and a box of cereal for breakfast. For dinner, visit resteraunts.com for a cheap dinner in the area that your in. BAM!! Your have some yummy food on the cheap!!!

  • stacey

    Pack as much food as you can and go out for taco Tuesday!

  • Cara

    1. Pack a separate suitcase with dry snacks and cereal, buy milk and fruit at local grocery store upon arrival.
    2. Plan meals ahead, when and where you will be eating, research ahead of time what is close by and start saving franchise coupons ahead of time such as Quiznos, Subway, Chevy’s, etc. We saved a lot by traveling during our kids’ bday month and taking advantage of free bday meals.

  • Yvonne

    You’re in a hurry right???Barely time to pack. Grab your laptop or smart phone. Last vacation I browsed “while there” online for local restaurants and things to do deals. Guess what…. local colleges have the best rates.. for activities, even for dorm lodging. Near the ocean, UC San Diego scripps aquarium offers a snorkel with the SHARKS for $30 (WAY LESS than World by the Sea , you know who, lol).!! Other activities start at ONLY $5. Near me a community college has a cheap zoo. Good Luck!!!!

  • Heather G

    Bring your coupons…you are sure to find some great deals in another town…take your findings to a nice park for a picnic.

  • Sarah

    bring as much food and snacks as you can from home. Buy at a local grocery store, breakfast and lunch are super easy to buy for. I try to limit eating out, to once a day. Try a local favorite restaurant.. usually cheaper than the larger chains.

  • Aliesha

    1st Ask the front desk for coupons.
    2nd If you can go to a travel center near you and they can give you AWESOME coupons.
    3rd you should go to Groupon.com to get local deals that you can print instantly.

  • Jennifer

    Find an open or farmers type market. Loaf bread, a little cheese abd some fruit. Mmmmmmm, Yummy to my tummy. 🙂

  • Brenda

    First make sure your room has a mini fridge in it. Buy something at the local grocery store (possibly with your coupons). I like bagels and lunch meat sandwiches. Fruit and snack bars are also good.

  • kelli

    Go and get free samples from costco

  • Indyra

    Tip #1: Groupon & Living Social are in cities all accross America. If you already get email alerts, reset your alerts to include the city that you will visit at least 1 month before you leave. You’ll catch some great deals on food. Also, don’t forget Restaurant.com! :0)

    Tip #2: Once you arrive, do some research for the local grocery stores. Your manufactures coupons will work anywhere so just save up on the basics for your hotel room and stock up. This won’t be your regular type of trip so you don’t have to worry about wasting time at the store when you should be on the beach. I found that some of my coupons worked at the Honolulu Safeway while I was on vacation.

    Tip# 3: Pack things like oatmeal, breakfast bars, protein shakes if you don’t want to buy it there.

  • Theresa

    Pack what you can and get stuff for breakfast and lunch at the local grocery stores (with coupons of course!) so you have portable light meals. AAA and travel centers usually have great deals for local restaurants. Restaurant.com also seems like a good place to get a decent deal when you want fancier dining.

  • Tanya

    1. BREAKFAST: Bring oatmeal packets (but you knew that!) or stop at a grocery store and pick up some yogurt and bagels.

    2. LUNCH: Subway $5 footlong split between 2 people works for me

    3. DINNER: Usually you can find and inexpensive mexican restaurant. Order something small because all those free chips and salsa they sit in front of you will fill you up fairly well before your dinner comes.

    4. SNACKS: Pack your own of course

  • Rachel B

    Make sure you have a room with a mini fridge. If this is not standard, go to your pharmacy and request a must refrigerate sticker for a prescription that you will be traveling with. Then call the hotel and request a mini fridge in your room since you have medication that needs to be refrigerated. Utilize the in room coffee pot for cooking. You can heat up soup, ravioli and even make ramen noodles in a coffee pot. (Oh the things you learn in college.) Look for local restaurants that target the older crowds. Eat a huge breakfast, this should be around $4 with tax and tip, then scout out the early bird dinner specials.

  • Dana

    If you end up without a mini fridge in your hotel room, turn all the sinks and the ice bucket into small coolers by filling them with ice and keeping what you brought from home or leftovers from eating out. Use the shower cap and/or dry cleaning bag to keep things dry while submerged in the sink… you see where I’m going with this…

    Also if you visit a local farmer’s market or street fair there are sure to be free samples to snack on…

  • Tanya

    We just took the kids on a two week road trip to vegas, disneyland, and san francisco and we brought an electric skillet and a bunch of easy lunches/snacks so we didnt have to eat out. Worked out great to be able to make easy meals in the hotel room. We packed all the dry foods from home and then when we got to each city we just purchased the necessay cold items. Milk, cheese, butter, and meat etc. Saved a TON of money. E mail if you want meal ideas for this.

  • Ashlee

    Since Groupon and other sites have become so popular I find my self checking the cities I’m heading too to see if they have any good restaurant deals. Lots of the time they do and you can save a bunch of money! Also gives you a chance to try new things for cheap 🙂

  • Cheryl

    Go to the city’s visitor center and they often have coupons. Also, ask the local people about a good place to eat. Often the not so obvious places that the locals frequent have better food and are not as expensive as the “tourist traps”. Have fun!

  • Brittany

    When I eat out I mentally portion my food before I eat it. Food portions are usually too large to begin with, so at least you get two meals out of your dinner. Hope you have a fridge!



  • Jessica

    It will take you a few minutes & I know you’re short on time, but I always get gift certificates (for the area) from Restaurant.com. When we went to Disneyland last year, we were able to save a ton of money by not paying full price for our meals!

  • Jodi

    Bring snacks to keep you throughout the day so you do not have to overindulge at meals. But we always bring something from our frugal grocery shopping trips for breakfast like poptarts, granola bars, etc. Have fun on your trip!!!

  • Michelle

    We find a grocery store and buy items that store well in room temp. Sometimes the hotels we are in have a fridge and microwave, then there is never a problem and our meals are really inexpensive.
    We save a lot of money and eat healthy.

  • Candace Brady

    I say have an early lunch so you can skip breakfast and only have to pay for 2 meals. Then at your vacation destination check the visitors center for coupons to local restaurants. Most of the time you will find buy one get one free, who does kids eat free, or money off a check. Also ask who serves big portions and is family friendly so maybe if you have a large family you can split entree’s. That way your not stuck sucking down peanut butter and jellys on vacation and sampling local fare

  • Dianna

    #1- look at a local paper from the hotel and ask the hotel staff. See if there are any new restaurant’s opening that may be offering two for one deals.#2- If you are going into a large metropolitan area look for food cart or trucks (sometimes they have the best cheap food). #3- Locate a farmers market- fresh fruit and homemade baked good can make for a great meal. Some offer local cheese, wine and other local favorites.

  • Jen

    I always check out the local websites for the town I’m visiting. We have found great deals that way cuz you have to take care of your locals. We have used local coupons in Vegas and California. Often times you can just go Denny’s 2,4,6,8 is great or Mickey D’s dollar menu a Parfait, Egg McMuffin and a Coffee 3$! Alot of times we eat a big lunch and take it back to the hotel to save the leftovers for dinner! Happy hour specials too! The cheesecake factory has an unbelievable happy hour. The food is so good and so so cheap!! We also pack milk n cereal bars like the ones we all got soooo cheap last week at Albies! Nut packs and water always fills us up! Don’t forget the nuts from the plane! 🙂 Southwest even gives out fruit bars and snack mix sometimes! 🙂

  • Angela

    The most frugal way to eat cheap when you are on vacation is to buy fruits and veggies that will store well in your room! Pack a collaspable cooler and take along during your adventures during the day! Fill up at night before you head back to your room! Muffins are a great option for breakfast along with fruit! Lunches can be as easy as PB and J’s! Dinner is the one option…either eat out for a nice filling meal or eat light with sub sandwiches or the like!

  • Mechelle

    Book a hotel with a microwave and mini fridge then stock it with your own goodies you stocked up on with your coupons.

  • Brandi

    When we went to Disney World I packed a whole suitcase of just food. I took cereal, breakfast bars, granola bars, etc., so we never had to buy breakfast or snacks. I also packed peanut butter and jelly and bread for a few lunches. I also love to take extra snack size ziplock bags with us when we travel to easily split up food we buy between the kids so we dont have to buy as much!

  • Justine

    We always go shopping for food (sometimes even bring snacks from home) as soon as we get to a destination because vending machines and food carts add up really quick.

  • Jennifer

    When my husband and I were traveling through Europe we packed sandwiches a bagged snacks. The snacks worked for a quick on the go lunch and sandwiches kept us full on the first day of travel. Also pack drinks for everyone that will last the entire trip, hotels have fridges in the room usually.

  • Ashley J

    The first tip you already know which is bring your coupons. What I usually do is leave the guys at the pool after getting settled and I run to the store and pick up perishable depending on your fridge situation. I usually pack lots of goodies from home, some that I hide for special occasions so the family thinks they are getting spoiled. When I return to the hotel I use the lobby computer and check for any local events like alive after 5 or raspberry festival, they always have plenty of samples and live entertainment.

  • Pam

    Either bring along muffins, some fruit, and trail mix or granola bars, or buy some at a store there. Then you only need to buy dinner, using a certificate from Restaurant.com if possible!

  • Tina

    We like to get a place with a kitchen to prepare our own food… a big money saver!!

  • Shandi Sequoia

    Sign up for all the restaurants that are located where you are going, but not where you live. That way, you get all the introductory offers. 🙂

  • Brooke

    Buy Restaurant.com gift certificates for where you are going…. great way to try new restaurants and save a BUNCH! We did this on our road trip to Disney, and had a GREAT time too!

  • Elizabeth

    Depending on how far away you are going either pack a small cooler with lunch meat, cheese, fruit, etc. Or bring a cooler in case your hotel does not have a fridge, because they alway have free ice. You could also pack cereal and milk. If there is a microwave cup of Mac and cheese or noodles is an easy idea from something hot. Then as far as dinner most hotels have a book with local things in it, you maybe able to find something that can be delivered like pizza or chinese and because of the big portion you don’t have to order as much. We had a group of 10 and order Chinese for $50 and had enough for the next day dinner as well. Good luck, I know you will do a great job!

  • Becky

    I pack a cooler and shop at a local grocery store!

  • mandy

    Yogurt, fruit and granola bars are great for breakfast or lunch. Be sure to bring your couons with you. If you have a fridge that really helps out as you won’t have to go buy your yogurt every time you want to eat it.. Also buy your own alcohol and juice to make your drinks. We do that in Maui. Making your own saves so much.
    For dinner be sure to check the local groupon or restauant.com and hopefully you find some deals. For me as a last resort I love Jack in the Box tacos and you can’t beat 2 for a dollar. They’re so good, maybe not so good for you, but what the heck you’re on vacation.
    Have fun!

  • lacey

    I love to pack granola bars, instant oatmeal, trail mix and cereal. Also if i have time I will bake brownies, walnut cake as they help with the cravings. I try to stay in a hotel that provides b’fast and I ask if I can take an extra bagel or fruit or juice with me. So far no one’s mind that. I also carry my fruit drink mix and i always carry a refillable bottle of water.
    With living social, groupon etc .. around I check them for some good food offers. Also eat local …I visit yelp.com to check out cheap and fantastic local eating joints.. sometimes these are trucks and hey they serve fresh and fantastic food… a lot cheaper

    Once what i did for my hubby’s basic training graduation, since he was totally starved out of his fav food I shipped his fav food to the hotel i had my reservation for (Asked them before hand) and then I surprised him with his fav food. I used the flat shipping rate box so it worked out great as i knew i won’t be able to carry that food stuff with my carry on bag.

  • Julie Book

    My # 1 way to save money on food when I travel.
    Bring my own!
    Instant oatmeal, instant coffee, raisin packs, juice boxes, Variety packs of chips, cookies and other small portable snacks. I use the coffee maker and brew water to make it hot. Wall-laa! Oatmeal with raisins. (nuts optional). Take the chips, cookies, juice boxes with you in a back pack and then enjoy a local specialty food such a Coney Dog.
    I just discovered this website and I love it!
    Good luck deciding on a winner
    Julie Book

  • Melissa B

    If you purchase the Entertainment book then I would look online for any printable coupons by typing in the location of where I am going to. I have a Boise book and have printed coupons for Utah before. Have fun!

  • chelle

    Find a COSTCO and eat their SAMPLES!!! 😉 hahahahaha!!!

    ok…. I’d say find all you can eat places, so you could eat a big breakfast (Try a little later like brunch) and then you may not need a lunch and then find an all you can eat dinner place and get your belly full!! Then you only pay for 2 meals a day and maybe a snack in between!! 🙂 (and you may be able to put a roll or cookie in your purse to eat later! 😉 )

  • Jennifer g.

    I try to stay at a hotel that has continental breakfasts and a hotel that has mini kitchens/friges. I will find a grocery store so lunch and breakfasts are cheap and we are then only going out for one meal.

  • Denise

    I stock up on the discount restaurant coupons before we leave!

  • Keisha

    Ask the hotel staff what’s good to eat. Then moesy (sp?) Off the beaten path and eat like the locals! 🙂

  • Bonnie

    I try to bring as much food with me as I can. Mainly breakfast items and snacks. If I have to end up shopping while Im on vacation and cant think it all through, I spend too much and get too much. So I make/buy snacks before hand and take it with me. Muffins are my favorite to make for breakfasts. Lunch is just a picnic or something and for dinner I usually go to restaurant.com or groupon to get good deals on dinner.

  • Ashley Swigart

    Check out the local farmers market for good fresh food and some fun on saturday or sunday. Ask the front desk for tips on good happy hours, skip the drinks and bring your favorite bottle back to the room and have a nice quiet evening rent a movie and dim the lights bring microwave popcorn. For lunch split a sandwich and each order a soup or salad cuts bill by at least 1/3. Have fun : )

  • maria

    i have a small rice cooker (3 cups) and canned goods (spam, corned beef, etc) that we eat for breakfast and eat out late lunch (if possible buffet) between 1-2pm and have very light dinner like soup and bread at the hotel room. enjoy!

  • April

    When we go on vaca I pack a large ziplock of my daughter’s fave cereal, a ziplock of oatmeal for me and the hubby and a jar of Nutella (ever tried that in oatmeal? Yuuuuum!), and a couple small Tupperware containers that we can use as washable bowls. When we get to where we are going we buy a gallon of milk and voila, cheap breakfast while we are gone!

  • richelle

    I like to pack my cheap cereal and snacks and then do coupons for dinner places if I can. Good luck

  • Jayme G.

    I like to bring some snacks from home as well as hit up the local grocery store to get a few things for the minnie fridge. For dinner I like to get the travel booklets from the hotels they usually have coupons and deals for food places as well as the phone book.
    Have a Good Trip.

  • Bea S

    Almost every hotel has a mini fridge and many times a microwave. We get a rotiserrie chicken, a bag of salad, bread/pita/rolls, veggies and fruit from the local store and graze on this for several days. Use Jif to Go and make make banana sandwich for your day trip lunch. Bring snacks & breakfast stuff, baggies, bottle of unopened salad dressing from home.

  • Kristin C-V

    We have young children who aren’t ‘restaurant appropriate’, so we end up doing a lot of meals in the room. Many things can be made in the hotel coffee pot (oatmeal, frozen veggies, reheating meatballs, etc). The best that we ever did was wrap frozen burritos and cheese sandwiches in foil and cook them with the iron in the hotel room.

  • Meranda H.

    I like to stock up on Restaurant.com coupons when they are 80% off and if you get a really good deal on an entertainment book, get one for the city you know you will be going to and use the coupons in there.

  • Ryan

    IF you have a fridge in the room: Bring milk and cereal and a few bowls.. we always do that because I am a cereal freak, so I always have cereal in the morning. But it can save so much if you bring your own breakfast. So if there is no fridge, or its too much of a hassle to bring the box of cereal, try packets of oatmeal and use the coffeemaker to heat up your water, and voila, a wonderful breakfast thats good for you as well as your pocketbook!

  • Allyson

    Check Restaurant.com for any great deals in the city you’re traveling to

  • Pia

    My favorite thing to do when I traveled abroad was to hit the grocery stores and farmer’s market in the cities I visited. We would get sliced meats or a chicken, bread or pitas or tortillas, cheese or fruit and water and have a picnic. Often, this one purchase would last two days or so – or enough for lunch, a late afternoon snack or breakfast the next morning. Now when we travel with my babies we do the same!

  • Karen K

    First, I always make sure my room has a mini fridge so that way I can save my leftovers from any meal that I eat out. Ordering a pizza is good cause it can be one nights dinner and the next days lunch or dinner. Another bonus with having a mini fridge is you can buy and store milk for cereal and lunchmeat for sandwiches and not have to worry about going out to eat for those two meals.

  • Lisa

    This one takes a tiny bit of planning I am afraid, but we do the surveys on all our receipts for restaurants from Denny’s to Fridays to Arbys. Denny’s offers free Grand Slam, Arbys free sandwiches, and Friday’s free appetizer just for completing the surveys. We started this awhile ago and last week we went out of town with our four children and we got 3 of them free meals with the purchase of mine and my husband’s entrees and our 16-year-old got a free Grand Slam. We only paid $16 for all 6 of us which comes out to about $2.66 per person. FRUGAL IF YOU ASK ME! Good luck with your meal plans and have a fun trip!

  • Nikki Bell

    We use a mini crock pot that can be inexpensively gotten at good will, Deseret industries, or salvation army in the town you visit and we cook soup. It is inexpensive and filling. We use crackers to make it more filling and the hotel coffee pot to make hot chocolate for dessert.

  • Cindy

    Carry cheese sticks and nuts they are good protein. We usually eat a late breakfast and use our cheese snacks and order pizza for dinner.

  • Megan M

    It’s not elegant but eating in the room is worth it. We make sure to find a place within walking distance to a local grocery (for the fun use of coupons) and stock up the fridge in the room. We tag along breakfast in the backpacks and eat a large lunch. By dinner we are all tired we’ll eat anything left in the fridge! It’s especially great to bring salty snacks if you are doing a lot of walking and plenty of water.

  • Koren

    It’s not rocket science but it’s what works. 🙂
    We pack PB &J and bread for sandwiches, cereal and milk for breakfast and late night snacks, and always bring water bottles everywhere that we filled up with ice for free at the hotel. We plan to only eat out once per day and keep an eye out for coupons at the hotel or ask. You never know. 😉

  • Britta

    My mom and I have traveled all over the world. We always find a little market near our hotel and snag some food…just enough for the evening. Usually we pick a couple of fruits, some bread or crackers, cheese, a few slices of deli meat, and something yummy for desert (cookies, local goodies, etc.) Dinner is the most expensive meal so we save a lot by doing this. Plus, since it is just us girls, we feel safer staying in after dark in a foreign country.

  • shauna

    restraunts.com just enter the zip and print away and also happy hour and if it is a weekedn sundays buffet day :} Also carnation goodstart breakfast on the go

  • brianne serrano

    This may sound funny but “hit the happy hours” and I don’t mean for the drinks. Restaurants usually have super awesome deals on food during happy hour. Oh AND get a large meal and split it in two so you don’t have leftovers(cuz you don’t want to waste expensive food) stinking up your hotel.

  • Alana

    My husband and I usually bring portable snacks on the plane and then stock up at the nearest major supermarket when we get to the hotel room. The little corner markets usually have high prices. As for eating out, check out Living Social and Groupon for any good deals!

  • Heidi

    ha! i’m a cheapskate, and never travel without instant oatmeal in my bag…it’s a quick and filling breakfast, and in a pinch, a quick between-meal snack! 🙂

  • Arlene

    When I make hotel reservations I make sure they have free breakfast and my kids like to grab an extra snack for later and we always have an ice chest with drinks in car drinks can add up especially in summer when you tend to drink more

  • shameka

    Hello! Can’t go anywhere without first checking groupons, living social or restaurant.com. It should be against the law.

  • Kim

    1) bring food with you-we always bring mixed pb & j (it doesn’t need refrig), crackers, meat sticks, powdered drink mixes in packets, canned tuna and chicken, granola bars
    2) The chamber of commerce in the area you’re going will have coupons for restaurants and discounts
    3) During college I traveled to the Bahamas and we would buy one drink during happy hour and have all the happy hour food we wanted 🙂

    Have fun.

  • Judie M.

    Find a grocery store near your hotel for snacks and drinks. Grocery delis are also usually less expensive than other options for lunch.

  • Kari

    We always ALWAYS pack food in our suitcases. Granola Bars, Peanut Butter, carnation breakfast and instant oatmeal. these items work for snacks or breakfast. we will find a grocery store nearby and get bread and milk and soda for ME… and we are good to go. we will eat one meal out per day as a rule. our last vacation was Southern California in december and we spent out of pocket for 7 days vacation to: Disneyland / California Adventure / Universal Studios / Sea World and the San Diego Zoo including airfare and hotel and car rental and food etc… for 3 of us under $1,000. i thought that was pretty frugal : )

    a 3 day park hopper for ONE is $184
    so, pack some food and away you go (however from your last vacation pics of luscious foods I don’t see this happening with you) hee ehe
    kari palmer

  • Wendy

    Go to the gocery store and do what u o best coupon! Breakfast, lunch, and dinner will be easy and cheep!

  • cyndi

    check discount sites like groupon, restaurant.com etc for discounts at restaurants. also check where kids eat free, and pick up a local paper there are usually specials and coupons for local restaurants in there. And of course ask the folks who work at the motel! We always take a snack basket and sometimes order pizza to the room for a meal when we are tired. But try to keep it cheap by eating with coupons, AAA if you have it offers some discounts at restaurants too! And of course a quick grocery run for a few staples can save lots. drinks, snacks and even breakfast can save a ton! But kids eat cheap and free at lots of chains and with all the coupons out there and meal deals it’s not that hard to be frugal on vacation without losing your sanity! have fun!!!

  • kimberly

    use Restaurant.com for certificates in the area your visiting. Worked great while I was in portland. I just did a search for a one mile radius around my hotel. It was awesome!

  • Megan Harrison

    The key is to bring lots of healthy snacks (preferably bought with coupons). Granola bars or Carnation Instant Breakfasts are great for breakfast. A deli is a great way to buy a cheap lunch or dinner. If all else fails, ask someone locally for a recommendation.

  • Lindsay Cox

    My numero uno frugal choice is to take food already prepared from home
    If not, it’s also good to go to the nearest grocery store and shop for food there.
    BUT whatever happens… I’m always ready with coupons in my purse of different places we could eat around.

  • Krissy

    SO i just went to lagoon for 3 days. We did have a continental breakfast but most places have early bird specials for $3.99 and up. I checked what restaurants were in the neighborhood. I had a Chili’s, who has free queso dip coupon online and happy hour half price apps 4-7. Also Applebee’s has happy hour every day 3-6 half price apps. You can always join their email group and usually get a free deal like TGI Fridays free app or dessert when you sign up for their stripes card. When we went to Lagoon we packed a cooler with yogurt, string chesse and fruit and some chips for snacks. You will figure it out you can always splurge a little it is your vacation!!! HAVE FUN!

  • leslie

    Pack snacks and visit places with samples…i.e. a farmers market or costco:)

  • coralee

    I always just stop by the local grocery store.

  • Felecia

    When traveling, there are 3 things that I tend to do about food: 1) I always pack non perishable items to snack on, 2) I order salads if at all possible (healthy and usually the cheaper option), and 3) I sometimes split a meal, this way we get 2 for 1!! 🙂

  • Holly Gover

    You definite have to bring a snack bag. My snacks always have fruits, vegetables and peanut butter for me and a kinds of stuff for the kids. You bake pack banana or zuchini bread for breakfast.

  • Kali Clayton

    My favorite way to eat cheap while traveling is to have cereal in a plastic cup. We usually stay at campsites (so no continental breakfast), and while starting out the day in the car I can fill up plastic cups with their favorite cereals and a little milk and we eat on the go. Cups are less likely to spill than bowls and easier to hold.

  • MMiller

    Entertainment books offer good discounts on food and they are really cheap right now since it is late in the year. Order online for the area that you are traveling too. When you purchase a book it also allows you to get online deals through their website.

  • Laura

    The best thing that I have found to save money on last minute vacation is to go to a store shopping and buying with coupons or whats on sale so that I do not have to eat out. If i have my kids I try and pack food from home and we eat twice a day because we are usually busy playing 🙂

  • Crystal Davis

    All i can say is coupons.. When you go out to eat make sure you have coupons for the restaurant that you are going to… Have fun!!!!

  • Carli

    I try to go on discount restaurant sites like citydeals.com or restaurant.com and order GC at a lower price to save some $$$ WHILE EATING…. because I really like to eat!

  • Casandra Farley

    Pack peanut butter and crackers in you luggage, it can tied you over until you can find an affordable place to eat. Also check out room service sometimes they will have really nice options that are more reasonable than going to a resturant .

  • Beth Rieb

    On a recent trip to Las Vegas I was working on losing weight, so ThaT was my main goal, but it was frugal, too. I packed protein bars for breakfast, made snack size baggies of almonds and beef jerky, and brought pre-made canned tuna salad kits for lunches. I also brought my own water bottle and packets of crystal light. Inexpensive, healthy, easy to pack and delicious!!
    Then the only meal I ate out was dinner.

  • Amie

    We always, always bring our own food. Instant oatmeal packs for breakfast work great in a hotel room with a microwave. Tropical locations you can visit the market and get some delish fresh fruit to go along with it. A jar of peanut butter and a package of english muffins with a few snacks packed from home and a few fresh items from the local grocery means eating out only one meal a day. Also, we often use restaurant.com to scope out restaurant deals in the area we are visiting before we leave.

  • Jennifer

    I buy an Entertainment Book (the coupon one that is often sold for fundraisers) for the city we are going to visit. They are available online, and if it is late in the year they are super cheap ($5-10). I have found there are usually coupons for nicer restuarants, fast food, etc as well as discounts for museums, zoos, theaters, tours, etc. I have always gotten my 5 or 10 dollar book price back in savings. And on our last day we usually I will find a nice person who has been helpful/kind to us to leave the book with on our last day 🙂

  • Tabitha

    Well, it depends on where you are going on vacation. If you are really adventurous you could snack on the wildlife outside of your hotel. Lots of protein and healthy for you.

    Seriously, find a coupon for the best looking buffett. Eat one “really good” meal per day and fill yourself up. Face it, we all can skip a meal or two every now and then. You’d be surprised how long you can “last” between meals.

  • Becky

    We bring almost everything with us when we go on vacation. I remember one hotel had a LITTLE fridge, but big enough for our gal of milk, so we had cereal and fruit for breakfast before going into disneyland, and while there, we packed our food with us, and ate in the park. We love to vacation, but HATE the expense and yucky feeling of eating out all the time. Pack things that are easy to make, especially if it’s a car trip, juice boxes, bagels and cream cheese, fruit. Sandwiches and numerous toppings… The possibilities are endless!

  • Stephanie

    we pack our own food if we are traveling by car. If we are traveling by plane….we take our entertainment book and all our resturant gift cards that have been given to us for random holidays through outh the year. We also look for little local resturants whom tend to be cheaper and much more yummy too!

  • Christi

    I either eat where the locals eat…find the nearest grocery store off the tourist grid, or of course bring my own food!

  • Lachelle

    We pack our own food.

  • Andrea A.

    Packing away a little extra continental breakfast ties us over until afternoon. Having a mini-fridge, microwave and sink in a hotel room is ideal. But if eating out is more exciting/more feasible, try splitting the entree. After all, we wouldn’t want to come back from vacation only to lose the weight.

    If you have space in your luggage, you could always pack an “emergency” meal if you are stuck at the airport or in transit like on an airplane. The “emergency” meal would include a couple of cup ramen noodles and packaged cookies/crackers or dried fruits + sporks. These things are TSA friendly too 🙂
    Then all you do is ask the steward/nearby restaurants for some hot water and there you go!

  • Squared231`

    Shop at a grocery store once you get to your travel destination! USE COUPONS too! We always do this and usually do a picnic lunch w sandwiches and chips/crackers. We have even once gotten those frozen lasagna family meals and cooked them in the hotel microwave add a bagged salad and your good to go!

  • Michele

    A cooler with water, fruit, bread, and sandwich fixins. And ask the hotel staff. They usually know where the best and/or cheapest eats are.

  • Kim

    We usually pack several snacks and share a meal when possible!

  • lori hollis

    When my family goes on vacation we usually pack a cooler and take chips/snacks for the road trip.If by chance the place we’re staying doesn’t offer breakfast then well go to a local grocery store and buy microwavable dishes and maybe even mile and cereal because nearly every room has a microwave and fridge.When we visited Texas we would only go out to eat once a day usually a buffet , the rest of the time would eat from our room stock

  • Roberta

    Use restaurants.com. Find Buffets. Share meals. Look for early-bird specials. Pack snacks from your stockpile at home & fill a cooler with drinks. Have a GREAT trip!!!!

  • Desi

    If possible I bring my own and a cooler.

  • melanie

    buy a local paper for their coupons, and/or do an online search for coupons in that zipcode- restaurant coupons? Also, peanut butter, jelly and bread are all ok out of the refrigerator, so these and a package of butter knives and a roll of paper towels in a paper bag in the back of the car will get you through lunch in a pinch.

  • Kayla Smola

    Definitely pack breakfast from your stockpile. Fiber one bars, pop tarts, Quaker granola bars all hold up well and will hold you over till lunch. Plus, they make good snacks on the plane or in the car, too.

  • Alicia

    When you get to your destination buy bottled water somewhere cheap and take a couple of bottles with you everywhere. This way you don’t have to spend tons of money on drinks. We did this at Disney and we calculated that we saved ourselves about $200.00 for the week. Also we you pick up the bottled water. pick up a few snacks too. Just pack some ziploc bags before you go. Don’t want to have to buy them somewhere else. Yikes 🙂

  • Angela G

    We just went on a 2 week trip to California with 9 kids & my husband and I – eating out would have killed us …… so here’s what we did. One night we went to fast food, we used coupons to help pay for dinner (at half price). During the car ride everyone gets their own “snack bag” we load it will snacks, water bottle, and then we have stuff for sandwiches in the cooler. When we were at the beach & at Disneyland we didn’t want to rack up a huge bill so before we got there we went to Costco & picked up the pre-cut apples & baby carrots & more water bottles. They stayed great in the cooler. When we got to our destination we had already googled grocery stores so we went & picked up food. Our hotel had a microwave & fridge with a freezer. We picked up some freezer dinners (which I never buy so it was a treat for my family) I brought paper goods & drinks & snacks & some stuff from our stock pile that we could easily warm up to serve (don’t forget a can opener!!) We saved SOOOO much money!! Breakfast we had instand oatmeals & pop tarts (from our stock pile), lunches we usually had some kind of sandwiches (even chicken salad, pb & j, lunch meat) we only had to buy the bread where we were (we were usually gone doing stuff for lunch so we pre frost our water bottles & used them as ice for our ice chest), then dinner we had something that we could warm up at the hotel. Be sure to at least eat somewhere local at least once, at the beach we went to a place that makes the best cinn. rolls. it makes for great memories! Happy vacationing!!!!

  • Melissa S

    When we went to disneyland we packed our lunch & took camel backs for drinks because it was easy to carry & easy on the rides we did get a locker to put our lunch in. Since we drove we just went to the grocery store near our hotel & of course used coupons. for breakfast we did go out & had a meal.

  • Becky A.

    I like to see what restaurants or grocery stores are close to the hotel where I will be staying while on vacation (I usually use mapquest.com). Then, a quick internet search of those businesses sites/ads allows me to take applicable coupons with me to help cut food costs while there.

  • Susan

    I’m on vacation right now!

    As many have suggested, pack snacks. Be sure to take protein, like nuts or string cheese. We like NV granola bars with peanut butter. I brought along some of the Justin’s PB packets that I got very inexpensively at Amazon, thanks to one of your posts.

    Part of the fun of traveling is eating out and trying local foods. We try to stay away from fast food chains that you can have anytime/anywhere, but occasionally do the $1 menu at those places if we’re hungry don’t want to slow down to eat. I’ll admit we had McChicken sandwiches for lunch the other day.

    Check out the rack of brochures that is usually located in the lobby area of your hotel. You can sometimes find deals and coupons for local places there, not to mention lots of ideas for places to visit and things to do that you may not know about. One of the places on our list had an ad for $.99 all-you-can-eat pancakes, so we arranged our schedule to have lunch there early enough to get this deal. The ad said that extra entrees were available for an additional cost, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it turned out that an entree of two scrambled eggs was only $1, so for under $5 I was able to feed my daughter and I a big lunch.

    Not related to food, but I found an ad for an authentic Indian pottery place where kids can sit along side the native Indian artists and paint a pot for free and learn about Indian language. It turned out to be one of our favorite activities! There was no pressure at all to buy anything, but I did get a little piece that I just fell in love with (for a very reasonable price). It then cost $10 to ship my daughter’s pot home since it needed to be fired and we wouldn’t be there to pick it up, but I still think it was a great price for a memorable experience. So definately scope out those ad racks!

    For dinners — two words — happy hour! Food is a lot less expensive at restaurants before the dinner hours start. On a recent trip to So. California, I was able to get pizza one night and nachos another, large portions, for under $10 for both of us. Ask the hotel staff for recommendations. For dinner last night we just wanted something light, like soup, and the desk clerk recommended a local nearby diner where we had soup and bread for only $1.99.

    So, late-breakfast-early-lunch and then late-lunch-early-dinner, and fill in with portable snacks, and you can eat quite cheaply.

    Have fun on your trip. We’ve had the best time on impulsive, spur-of-the-moment trips.

  • m.miller

    Treat yourself to happy hour at a fun local place.

    Friends of mine just got back from their honeymoon and were telling us they went to happy hour at nice sushi place and only spent $6-$7 a piece to sample the menu.

  • Kissa

    Stay really busy! When I am having so much fun, I notice that I don’t have time to get too hungry for snacks! Also, make sure your hotel room has a fridge so that you can actually take your leftovers from the restaurants!

  • Segou

    Our biggest travel tip is to pack a lunch on the plane, they never feed us enough and it is usually terribly processed food. Also, if we have a starbucks card many times we will bring that so we have have a low cost snack if needed at the airport. Other tips, always get a room with a refrigerator, even if just for pop and water, and use Groupon (like the recent Quiznos deals) to eat out. Have a great trip!

  • Lisa M

    I always take my Entertainment Book. Some national chains will take the coupons from anywhere. Have fun!!

  • Racheal

    My family has food allergies so eatting out for us is not an option, even on vacation I still have to prepare everything we eat. Of course we save money by doing this but from experience we’ve discovered the best way to make meals at a hotel…CROCKPOT! There is nothing better than going out for the day and coming back to your room to a fully homecooked meal!

  • anna hone

    OOOO!! Two good ones…. Pack any snacks/ meals that you can to eat on outings rather than stopping somewhere for a quick snack/bite…..pretty self explanatory 🙂 But then usually at hotels and things they have booklets at the front desk for coupons to surrounding places to eat and shop. USE THOSE COUPON LOVER!

  • Felicia

    We pack whatever food we can; if the place is not a resort town with exorbitant grocery prices, we’ll take some coupons and buy some essentials to cook for ourselves! Good luck!

  • Bonnie Avery

    Raid your stockpile. Check local ads at your destination for places/events where free food is available. Like if you came to my town this weekend, there seems to be lots of open houses/grand opennings. You can dine & dash at these kinds of things without getting arrested. And don’t forget to put your name in any drawing boxes, you might just win!

  • Lori Davis

    We enjoy finding places to eat from Diners Drive-Ins and Dives on the food network. They are usually fun, unique and inexpensive places to eat.

  • Jodie

    Walmart, Target, and local grocery stores for snacks and food. If you are lucky with a hotel that has a kitchen you can make dinner for each other and have a romantic time eating in. 😉 Enjoy your trip Mavis!!

  • Katie

    Check out Groupon for the place you are going. I LOVE groupon! And of course pack as many snacks as you can….we tend to spend more on snack things for all the kids then meals when we are on vacation! 🙂

  • Lisa A.

    Well, for starters, check online at Entertainment book dot com, they usually have coupons for buy one/get one free dinner or lunches in the area you are going to. Print them off before you go or where ever you have access online, but make sure that the restaurant will be near where you are staying. If you can, clip the obvious fast food ones which usually are near any hotel in America.

    Pack a baggie of “Trail Mix” for the plane trip, this will go far. Also, if flying be sure to ask for extra snack packs they hand out, don’t be shy, they usually are happy to give you more. Oh pack your Hot Chocolate packages in your purse before leaving…you’ll enjoy these anywhere you find hot water…this is practically everywhere!

    Then once there, scope out where the local close grocery store is…and get some small milk in cartons (I like rice or soy milks) and a box of granola or cereal for breakfast, and fruit. If where you are staying does not provide you will that little fridge, an ice bucket will keep your milk cold on the counter for a day or so. Only buy small containers of milk so that you can open one at a time for that day. This makes a nice breakfast for your mornings. Your hotel will have paper cups which are useful for bowls and plastic ware or spoons or are always free at the deli counter in the grocery store or ask the hotel for some.

    Also, pick up a few “cup of soups” for late night fun time snacking in the hotel room…just add hot water…I love to get a few bags of snacks or cookies (to go with the cocoa) and soups, just in case we want to snack before bed.

    With your bogo free entertainment coupons for lunches and dinners you should be fine when out, and then with all these frugal snacking ideas…you’ll have more food then you’ll know what to do with…trust me!

    (no coupons?)… you could do what I do often with my hubby, we go to an inexpensive Chinese dinner fast food place (Panda Express is everywhere) and we order the “to go” 2 or 3 item dinner container…ask them to NOT be skimpy on servings…especially the rice and noodles sections…don’t be shy…and then when paying for this one meal…we ask for an extra paper plate and two water cups, which I will then split this meal once we sit down,…wow…the meal is usually so big it is PLENTY for both of us! I love Chinese food…yummy (remember, this splitting of one meal will work in MANY restaurants)

    Hope this helped….Bon Voyage…

  • Renee

    Going to a place that serves good-sized portions and splitting a meal! You still get enough to eat, but are only paying half-price. My favorite pick for this is Cheesecake Factory!

  • Pam

    We buy sandwiches at the airport (with a coupon of coarse) somewhere like subway’s and take it on the plane with us. That way we can avoid buying the little snack packs they offer for $5 each with a few crackers in them, but still take advantage of the free drinks they serve you on the plane. It works well for a 2 to 3 hour flight. That way when we land we’ve had a satisfying lunch and are not tempted to buy the first snack we see at the airport when we land.

    Have a great trip!

  • Shelle

    Oooooo, that’s a tough one. I’d probably pack myself some fruit, pb&j sandwiches and cheesesticks – all easy to eat and requre no refrigeration. Then I’d check out what that city has available on restaurant.com and have a grand time trying out a new restaurant in a new city, or I’d dig through my stack of restaurant gift cards (earned by participating in surveys, etc…) and see if one of these fine dining establishments are in the area.

    Whatever you end up doing, have a great time on your vacation!

  • Karla

    My most inexpensive vacation was at an all inclusive resort in Puerto Vallarta Mexico. The resort was very family friendly and resort stay included food all day and they had many choices as well as unlimited drinks :-). I had pina coladas all day long! I also appreciated that they had family friendly nightly shows and there was no need to go out and spend money on entertainment. When we arrived at the airport, we were greeted by people wanting to sign you up for timeshare presentations. We signed up for one and got free day trips which included a snorkeling trip and a sightseeing and tequila tasting trip. Yes, you can expect to waste most of your day at the timeshare presentation (even though they say to expect to be there for about 2 hrs), however it was worth the money we saved on the sightseeing trips and you have to stay strong and not walk out of there with a timeshare purchase. Our initial cost was for the trip which I purchased through American Express and it included airfare and the resort stay. So while in Puerto Vallarta we only spent money on tipping the staff at the resort (who by the way were very nice and did not make you feel like they were expecting anything) and food while out in the day trips. It’s going to be a very special place that I’ll travel to without doing the all inclusive thing! All inclusive is the way to go.

  • Sherlyn

    Ask the concierge or a local which restaurants serve bread on the table–this will give you a fill-me-up food. Then choose a large appetizer or meal to share with a friend. If they have a cheap side salad, you may want to get one for each of you. Of course, drink water, but ask for lime or lemon to give it some flavor. Always ask for a refill on that bread, so you can get the “leftovers” in a take out bag. My sister and I just went to Cheesecake Factory last night and spent $27 on 2 salads, Avacado Eggrolls (very filling) and Reeses Cheesecake. (It would have been cheaper if we skipped the cheesecake, but I couldn’t resist!) Have fun!

  • Mardie Bradshaw

    While on vacation, we usually buy breakfast and lunch foods at the grocery store closest to the hotel. You can even take coupons specifically for those things you plan to buy. We do things like granola bars and juice for breakfast and crackers, ham, & cheese for lunch. Then we plan on one nicer meal for dinner. You can sometimes find good deals for your dinner eating via restaurant.com or something.

    None of these ideas are new to you, I’m sure. I feel silly giving fruGAL advice to a pro fruGAL like yourself. 🙂

  • Tyree

    I love Subway–$5 can feed two lunch and not feel yucky for having eaten out. Also pack lots of snacks (chips, granola, etc then you don’t have to pay to add them to your lunch.)

  • cARMEN

    I learned a great tip from Mavis on her So Calif trip, she was able to go to So. Calif and feed her family of 4 for the entire trip for absolutely nothing! And in So Calif & disneyland that is just unbelievable! Her trick – just raid the hotel breakfast bar, take as much as you can pack away and get back to your room and eat it the rest of the trip, try to stay at a place with a good breakfast bar like she did with meats and cheeses and you will have free lunch, dinner, food for drive back. Can’t beat free! Also all those free Emerald breakfast snacks from Albys, it looked like you got about 3 boxes of those, so you should be set on your free food to take Mavis!

  • Marissa

    Bring oatmeal and make it in the hotel coffee maker. Bring some hard boiled eggs that are kept cold from the ice machine, and you have a good hearty breakfast. I was a flight attendant for 12 years
    and the things you can make in hotel coffee maker are many……….heat up canned soup too!

  • Debbie J

    My favorite cheap travel food would be snack/nutrition bars that are light weight and easy to pack (avoid anything with chocolate), inexpensive (I usually have coupons to use when I purchase them), and can be placed into a purse or fanny pack to eat when you’re on the move. I usually take a bottle of water and refill it. Hope you have a great trip!

  • camie

    We take a cool chest or if limited on room, buy a styrofoam cool chest somewhere on our trip and buy some ice. Then we fill it with whatever we will need on our trip that needs to be refrigerated. I usually pack all the nonperishables that i can, then we only have the refrigerated items to buy–sandwich meat, mayo, etc. We usually don’t have to buy food after that, depending how long our trip is. Then if we’re flying, we toss the styrofoam cool chest.

    Or we get all the coupons we can on places to eat out. This is usually only if my husband is traveling alone and is attending business meetings all day.

  • Jeannie

    Take along a crockpot or two, along with the liners, of course, so that clean up is a breeze! Meals make up super easy with just a few ingredients, and they can be cooking while you are out vacating! Leftovers can be kept in the fridge to be heated up or made into sandwiches later.

  • J. Dann

    Before you leave, sign up for nearby restaraunts birthday/customer appreciation clubs. I have a small binder that I always keep in my car just for those occassions. Perkins will give you a free breakfast, lunch or dinner item just for signing up (and you can do this for your entire family). I drink water, so it’s FREE. Of course don’t forget to tip the waitress. Chili’s often does buy 1/get 1. Call some of the local restaraunts in the area you’re visiting and ask if they have any weekly specials, or if kids eat free. Between this, and packing a cooler with instant breakfast drinks, oatmeal, fruit, lunch meat and some snacks, I think you’ll fare well

  • Jamie

    When we go to a hotel with our family, we first find a good deal online. It has to be a place that serves breakfast in the morning and apitizers at night. Usually the breakfasts are AMAZING and the apitizers are more like dinners. So even though the hotel is more pricey (usually it’s a suite) with my five kids getting breakfast and dinner free is well worth it! We save a ton! Our last hotel was $100 a night (i got a deal) and it came with 2 bedrooms and a kitchen, so not only did we get free breakfast and dinner but we made our lunchs in our little kitchen too. Super fun and super cheap with 5 kids! Hope that helps!

  • Melissa Sauer

    I take my coupons 🙂 I usully have a coupon for McDonalds, Quiznos, Sizzler ect. It seems like these coupons are my friends at home and if I am ever traveling 🙂 Have a fab trip!!!!

  • Constance Hymas

    I use restaurant.com. I also earn gift cards for restaurants at mypoints.com. And I try to pack healthy snacks. If my room has a fridge I save 1/2 of my dinner for the next day.

  • Kourtney

    I say pack whatever you can, easy to make stuff. Use the coffee maker for hot water for anything,oatmeal, hot chocolate, teas. Bring a thermos or water container too so you might be able to take it along on your adventures. Happy travels!

  • Savanna

    When my mom and I go on vacation we always share meals and always pass on a drink. On our last vacation we went to Red Robin and our food came cold so we talked to the manager and he bought it for us and then my mom told him that this was our get away after her divorce trip and he also gave us a $25 giftcard!

  • stephanie

    If you are taking kids, they love nothing more than ramen noodles! Stick a pack in a bowl, add hot water from the coffee maker and voila’! kid gourmet!

  • Anna

    When I go on vacation, I like to take a break from cooking, and I like to eat at local places that aren’t national chains. Take a stop by the Chamber of Commerce building or city hall to get coupon booklets for the local area! They usually have great deals that allow you to still have a vacation from cooking!

  • Marti

    During the summer and spring months, I find out where the local farmers market is being held in the city I am visiting. It is a fun thing to do in a strange city and you can get fruit and other snacky items at low prices!

  • Melodie

    I take a water bottle with me and refill. Take granola bars along to make it between meals, and always ask what the lunch/dinner special is.

  • Erin

    If there’s no free breakfast, I swing by Walmart a pick up some pop tarts or something like that for breakfast and then some snacks for the afternoon. And I love looking for restaurants that have lunch specials for about $5 🙂

  • Leah

    Definitely use restaurant coupons, restaurant.com, and dollar menu items.

  • Nancy

    I always pack breakfast and lunch and then hit Wendy’s $ menu for dinner. Saves a ton on food! Good luck!

  • lindsey

    I don’t eat big portions so I buy from the children’s menu, and no one ever says no.. it usually comes with an entree, a drink and a desert… and i can buy an appetizer to make up with the smaller portion.. its saved a lot of money! have a great trip mavis!

  • Jaye

    Bring your own blender :0) AND eat off the main ‘strip’ .. since the restaurants that are further from the majority of the tourists have to actually be GOOD to survive. In my opinion, there is absolutely NOTHING worse than getting cheated out of your money by a ‘touristy’ restaurant 🙁 Have a wonderful time!!!!

  • Becky

    When my family goes on vacation I map out all of the near by restaurants and even get addresses, because who wants to drive around aimlessly looking for food when you are supposed to be relaxing?? Then I go online and check my papers because many places have good coupons (like the $4 off Olive garden coupons…etc) and print them out, all of the ones I can find and put them in a folder along with my addresses and directions). I do this because I don’t like to decide where I am going to eat before I go on vacation, I want to be able to go get what I am in the mood for that day. I also map out where and what time the Happy Hour specials are, just in case my hubby and I want to have a drink and some appetizers for cheap! If we want to be super frugal I will buy a Styrofoam cooler when I get there and fill it with hotel ice. I will fill the cooler with beverages like water, gatorade, etc, along with fruit, and other on the go type breakfast items. Have a blast on your vacation!

  • Faith

    We are actually about to go on a 2 week long vacation. Mostly camping. But our first 4 days of the trip will be in hotels. We have 3 children (boys) (great appetites 🙂 This time around, I took the coupon from Safeway’s ad and got 6 of the travel mac and cheeses, we have oatmeal packets and we got a hotel that has free breakfast, so I plan on feeding the kids and then having everyone grabs snacks from the breakfast bar to bring with them throughout the day. We are bringing a very small cooler and plan to stop at fruit and veggie stands along the way. This will keep food cost and waste down and make the boys make better decisions as far as food goes. Since they love anything processed. We also booked our room using the “mystery” option on one of the websites and of course ended up saving a ton of money on the hotel we wanted in the first place. We are stoked for this trip!!

  • Amber Patterson

    My husband travels all the time for work and the best way we have found to save on money is: (the hotel should have a mini fridge) you can pack with a few items we usually make our own breakfasts, and we pack a lunch for a nice picnic. In the evening we can eat out as a family. When we go as a family we usually travel in an R.V. So we don’t have the expense of a motel. So we usually have our own food.

  • dottie

    We will go to a casino, usually if you join their players club, for free, they will give you $20-25 voucher per person for food at one of their restaurants or buffets. You have to put down a certain amount of money on your gambling card and gamble for maybe an hour before you can get the food voucher and cash in the money you didn’t gamble away. They track your card to see your gambling habits, you get free food. Our local casino has a really cheap deli style restaurant and we spend one voucher for dinner and then get food boxed to go for tomorrows lunch with the other voucher.

  • Lisa A.

    Lisa A. here again, b/c I wanted to mention that with our idea of spliting a meal, it works wonders at Dennys or any Mexican Restaurant.
    At Dennys we order one 2$ breakfast and one 4$ breakfast (ask for pancakes on the side) (free tomatoes in your eggs) and (free saltines for your eggs goes a long way) and an extra plate for us to split all. THEN at Mexican places, usually the chips and salsa are a great free way to fill up. Order a 2 -3 item plate with rice and beans and an extra plate to split these items.
    Still hungry? Usually we have beens and rice at the end left over, so I grab some free chips and make mini tostadas with the beans, rice, and (free) ranch dressing or salsa (or ask for more). Like I said…spliting a meal these days is fabulously frugal considering that most restaurants in America OVER feed their customers and serve larger than normal meals 🙂

  • Launa

    Bring food with… (canned soups, chili, baked potato-these cook in the microwave in a grocery sack for around 4 mins each and then can be topped with a can of chili, microwave popcorn, etc.) ….And, buy food at a grocery store when I get there and put it in the hotel’s mini fridge/freezer (frozen burritos, already prepared salad, fruit, breads, frozen meals, etc.). You could also check out Restaurant’s.com for any local restaurants that are close to the hotel.

  • Cindy Wilcox

    We have looked for places to stay that have a kitchenette, sometimes that room is just slightly more expensive but we can eat at least 2 meals there. We did this on a recent trip to Canada and saved a bundle feeding our 4 kids from the grocery store. Bonus: the kids loved picking out products to try that we do that we do not have at home.

  • Heather M

    Instead of buying treats at the places we go to, we stop by the grocery store and then take a backpack with us. You can save a ton on water, snacks, and food.

  • Pamela

    It really depends on your hotel room amenities. Always go to the grocery store, unless you’d like to sample some local cuisine (which, as a FRUGal, you may not!).

    If fridge, microwave, stove, oven: Sky’s the limit! DEFINITELY take your coupons and go to the grocery store!

    If fridge + microwave only: Yogurt, English muffins or bagels (assuming you’d need butter, cream cheese, and/or jelly to keep refrigerated and put on those things 🙂 ), cereal/milk for breakfast; loaf of bread and deli meat and cheese, microwavable frozen pizza or sandwiches (Lean Cuisine or Smart Ones) for lunch; almost any frozen dinner meal, Chinese food (yes, they make frozen of this; not bad!).

    If NO fridge: Donut holes, danishes, granola bars, fresh fruit for breakfast; tuna, trail mix, nuts for lunch; ramen noodles, fresh fruit for dinner.

    IF YOU HAD planning time: Investigate places to eat out in the destination area and work your Groupons, surveys, and Swagbucks for gift cards in the locale; obtain an Entertainment book; seek out Restaurant.com, Chamber of Commerce/visitor center/city locales website for coupons.

    • Marcia

      Save a lot of money on food with an RV. We load it up from all the sale items we have at home and cook inside or outside, weather permitting. Makes meals healthier too!

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