Budgeting / Money Saving Tips / Travel

How to Save Money on Food While on Vacation

Updated June 2, 2016



How to Save Money on Food While on Vacation


Every time we go on vacation, we always talk about the food and where we are going to eat, and what restaurants to try out. But lately, food has been so expensive that it’s hard to eat out anymore. It costs us $30 just for the 5 of us  to eat at McDonald’s. Yikes! Who wants to spend all of their vacation money on food? This year we are going to try something different and try to eat just one meal a day out at a restaurant or fast food place. We had to come up with some ways to be creative on making the other meals from the hotel room so  I have compiled a list of ways to save money on food while vacationing.


Sign up for Restaurant Mailing Lists– Search the area where you will be traveling to online and find the restaurants you would like to visit. Sign up for their mailing lists 1-2 weeks before you leave. Sometimes you get a free appetizer or dessert coupon just for signing up.

Print Coupons from Restaurant Websites– Also, check to see if there are any printable coupons to print available online for the restaurant you would like to visit. Sometimes they will have them right on their website available to print right away. Gift Certificates– You can purchase gift certificates to restaurants listed in your area for $5-$100.  You can usually purchase the gift certificates for a lower price such as, $25 gift certificate for $6. Read the fine print of each certificate as you need to purchase a certain amount of food to use the certificate.

Groupon Gift Certificates– Find food gift certificates in the area you are traveling to and purchase it for up to half the cost of the gift certificate.

Living Social Gift Certificates– The program runs the same as Groupon and you can receive a discount of food gift certificates.– Enter in your zip code HERE to where you are traveling here and check under restaurant category to find printable restaurant and fast food coupons.

Make food at Home– Make food ahead of time and freeze and bring to the hotel or condo with you if you are not traveling too far and are traveling by car.

Take a Small Appliance – Bring a Crock Pot, George Foreman, Skillet, or Toaster to make your own meals from your room. If you are staying in a hotel you might want to check and see if you are allowed to bring small appliance first. Some places might not let you and you don’t want to get kick out of the hotel.

Write to Companies– Have a favorite food or snack? Write to the company to tell them how much you like the product and usually they send you a coupon for your compliment. Take your coupons while traveling and head to the local grocery store to get groceries.

Store Deals– Take advantage of store gift cards deals, such as CVS, Walgreens, Kroger, Meijer, etc. Sometimes they will offer a $30 gift card for $25 or buy $50 in gift cards, get $10 FREE. Check your local sales ads weekly.

Microwaveable Food– You can find lots of microwaveable food to make sandwiches with such as, Sloppy Joes, Shredded Chicken, Shredded Pork. Plus, you can find microwaveable side dishes such as, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, etc. This can be a quick, easy, and cheap meal for lunch at the hotel or even for dinner.

Eat a Big Meal– If you are heading to a destination such as an amusement park, water park, etc. , eat a big meal before you head out to keep you full till lunch time. This will save you from spending double the money for breakfast and lunch inside the park.

Take Snacks & Drinks– If you are heading to and event or park take a small cooler of snacks and drinks (if location allows) to save you from buying $5 water bottles and snacks.



  • Jayne
    July 23, 2013 at 12:38 am

    These are good good ideas! We’re planning an oversea holiday and have checked out on living expenses. Food is EXPENSIVE!! Instead of eating bread everyday, vouchers are way to go.

  • Sandy Cain
    July 26, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    Great tips! I’m a;ways surprised at how much food costs while traveling. This can sure save a lot of money – especially bringing a little grill with you. And you’re right, best to check with the desk and find out if it’s allowed!

  • Kristina (@lilbabee23)
    July 28, 2013 at 12:40 am

    These are really great ideas! Food has gotton crazy, and it costs 25 just for my husband and two boys to eat at McDonalds. Ouch!


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