Eating on a Budget on Vacation

by Merissa on October 8, 2010

in Fall Into Savings

On our recent trip I wanted to be able to save as much money as possible so we wouldn’t feel the strain of an expensive vacation when we got home. I knew the easiest way to do that was to cut out eating out on the trip. We managed to so this without feeling deprived of the fun of eating out.(Which,  I’ll admit wasn’t hard since we stayed in a cabin in the woods and were not near a town to eat out in! Here was our eating schedule. I hope it gives you some ideas on how to cut out what an be an expensive part of a vacation.

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Day One ~ We traveled to a big city and stayed in a motel. I had packed lunch meat for hubby and chicken salad for me. I made buns a few days before for sandwiches. We ate the sandwiches from lunch with some of the free cheese sticks I got at Safeway last week. For supper we were in the big city so we grabbed some Taco Bell quick before heading to the hotel to relax. We also stopped at Whole Foods and picked up a fancy dessert and a yummy breakfast thing for while we were at the cabin. Our hotel room had a fridge so we unpacked the coolers and kept everything in the fridge overnight.
Cost for Day 1 Lunch and Supper:  5.69 (sandwiches, Taco Bell, and 1/3 of the dessert)

Day Two ~ We traveled up the cabin this day. We started by eating breakfast at the hotel so that was free. We had sandwiches again for lunch while we were on the road and for supper I had brought along homemade chicken nuggets that I had made the day before the trip, plus fresh tomatoes and bbq sauce from home.
Cost for Day 2 Breakfast, Lunch, and Supper:  3.98(sandwiches, chicken, and 1/3 of the dessert)

Day Three ~ We spent the whole day at the cabin. I made some of our farm fresh eggs from breakfast. For lunch we had hot dogs that we bought at Whole Foods(yes this was the most expensive meal we had, we wanted to make hot dogs and I can’t have nitrates, pork, or certain spices so they were spendy!) Then for supper we were going to have hamburgers but we decided our meat smelled questionable so we had hot dogs again.
Cost for Day 3 Breakfast, Lunch, and Supper: 6.46(hot dogs, buns(which I don’t know why I didn’t make) and 1/3 of the dessert)

Day Four ~ Heading home this day so all we ate was breakfast and lunch. We had the yummy breakfast thing from Whole Foods and sandwiches on the road for lunch.
Cost for Day 4:  2.68

So our food on this trip cost us only 18.81 for 4 days. We didn’t feel deprived from eating out since we had Taco Bell and got the few gourmet items at Whole Foods to eat with meals. So it made it feel more special than just eating at home but I knew I wasn’t spending too much on food!

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Alex November 24, 2012 at 6:05 am

I like your style. My husband and I do this when we go out of town as well. I usually bake chicken for sandwiches and take new snack-type things with us. We order in the second day, enough to have leftovers the third day. And the fourth day we might go out to dinner, but nowhere fancy, usually wherever someone gave us a gift card to.

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2 Becki Hieneman January 21, 2014 at 12:14 pm

Last year when we went on vacation I wanted to save $$ on food as well and the oceanfront hotel we stayed in didn’t serve a free breakfast. I knew we’d be stuck spending a fortune if I didn’t figure something out. I knew the hotel room had a fridge and microwave, So I made a bunch of food and casseroles and froze them. Scrambled eggs, gravy, biscuits, hashbrown casserole for breakfast. The enchilada casserole, sandwiches, baked spaghetti, chicken casserole. I picked casseroles and things that I knew would freeze well. I fed 4 adults and 2 kids for a week for about $50. Everything stayed frozen pretty well all packed in together. I plan on doing it again next year. It took maybe a day to prep everything.

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3 Linda Shirts April 15, 2014 at 7:53 pm

We always travel with food. A cooler with yogurt, cheese sticks and or cheese slices, fruit, carrot sticks, bread or tortillas, protein bars, water. A can of chili can be heated in a microwave at a service station. Motel room coffee pot supplies hot water for instant soups or oatmeal. A sandwich maker can toast a tortilla or bread slices with canned refried beans or cheese for filling. Take a few extra tools, a knife, a can opener, whatever you think you might need. I have low blood sugar and thus must eat every 2 hours. Carrying food gives us more flexibility and saves time. I can eat what I need to eat and we can save money, too. I enjoyed how you broke down your expenses by the day. Great post!

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