Summer is almost here and we all want to go on a vacation somewhere to just get away and unplug. However, most people think a vacation is not in their budget. Gas, food and lodging need to be considered when traveling not to mention money on the fun things you want to do. Since there are five of us we typically drive to where we are going instead of flying. Gas is way cheaper than five airplane tickets. Today I am going to share with you how we cut costs on our food bill by planning our vacation on a budget. This is great if you are planning on taking a road trip.
I did something fun this last time. I made everyone a plastic baggie with their name on it. Then I put the following things on the counter for them to choose from to fill their bags: three varieties of Chex cereal, dried cranberries, raisins, cheese goldfish, graham goldfish and sunflower seeds. I asked them to grab a ¼ cup and put what they wanted into their bag. They all had a great time doing this and got exactly what they wanted no complaints. I held onto them until we got in the car. Then when we got into the car everyone had their own snacks to munch on when they were hungry. I also bring lots of extra snacks for when we are out exploring on our vacation.
No, this is not ROAD KILL. I am frugal, but not THAT frugal. We like to pack what I call a road lunch, so we don’t have to stop to eat lunch somewhere along the way. This is extremely helpful when traveling long distances. A potty break takes less time than a meal break. I will get a 1.5lb link of Summer Sausage and 1-2 lbs cheese and cut them up and distribute them evenly in baggies with everyone’s names on them. We keep a small cooler in the vehicle to place the baggies in. Then I give them a sleeve of Ritz crackers to eat with their cheese and meat. Now there is no fighting some one got more than someone else.
I have managed to get everyone a water bottle with their name on it and a strap to carry it. Before we leave I make sure I fill up all the water bottles and place them in the fridge. If I remember I try to place them in the freezer about an hour before we leave, so they are really cold. Then I put them in our cooler in the vehicle. I still bring extra plastic water bottles and juice boxes to drink on the road. But I have started out with filtered water from the fridge first then they can refill with the water bottle later down the road. Then we will fill them up before we leave the next morning so everyone has something to drink and we can fill them up through out the day and not spend money on sugary drinks.
Take it to go
If we are driving we will bring most of our food with us for the week. This makes more room in our budget for the fun things we want to do. I will do a meal plan where I can use the leftovers from the previous meal to make another. This does take some creativity. We usually get a place with a full kitchen, so we can cook our own meals. For lunch we pack a picnic lunch of sandwiches and chips or something simple we can eat while we are out touring around. Most of the time we can find a picnic area to eat at while we are there. We are there to see the sights and experience the place we are visiting. This makes for more memorable experiences with our family than sitting down to eat at a McDonald’s or some other fast food place. My kids still remember several vacations where we had fun picnic lunches and the kids could run around and have fun.
We like to go out once or twice to experience the local cuisine. If you check out Groupons before you leave for the places you are going for restaurants – read reviews. Then you can save money on eating out too. Groupon has a ton of deals you can get before you leave to save even more money on activities and food!
Here are a few meals I cook ahead of time, so we can have these for quick meals and snacks on our trip:
Here are some tips for you on Planning a Vacation on a Budget. Do you do anything frugal when planning your vacation? I would love to hear from my fabulous readers on any frugal things you do when on vacation.