There are plenty of ways to become a smarter traveler – finding value, travel deals, and ways to cut costs when on the go with kids. But, the best way to save money when traveling is to cut the cost of dining out. Family vacations are a wonderful way to spend quality time and enjoy a break from repetitive everyday life activities. While it’s important to have fun, vacations also require careful financial planning for the cost of food, housing, and entertainment. Fortunately, there are tons of ways to save on food while you’re abroad!

So, if you’re wondering how to save money on food during family vacations, you’ve come to the right place.

Discover Where Kids Eat Free

How to save money on food during family vacations when kids eat free

Checking local papers and magazines for coupons and finding out where kids eat free is one way to save. Search online before you head out. There are tons of websites for various domestic cities where you can learn where kids eat free and on which days of the week. For example, Time Out has a list of NYC restaurants where kids can eat for free.

Forgo Hotel’s Pricey Room Service Menus and Mini-Bar

How to save money on food during family vacation by shopping at convenience stores

As tempting as stocked mini-bars maybe, encourage kids to eat snacks that you bring to the room ahead of time. Before even checking into the resort, take the kids to a local convenient store and allow them to choose one or two healthy snacks for the trip. Thinking ahead is key because once you get to the room, it’s easy to get lazy.

Find a Resort That Offers Free Kids’ Meals and Family Packages

How to save money on food during family vacation with family packages

Look into finding special family packages that will help you save money on meals. For example, SeaWorld in Florida has Kids Free Packages which allows kids 3-9 (only 2 kids per family) to enter the park for free, and purchase an all-day food pass at a low price. You won’t just save on cheap flights to Miami, but your accommodations as well.

Use Grocery Shopping Services to Give Mom and Dad a Break

While a refrigerator in the room is a great way to save money, it’s only a real vacation if mom and dad don’t have to do the grocery shopping. Some resorts, like the Divi Resorts property in St. Maarten and Barbados, now offer grocery shopping services for guests that allow for families to find a fully-stocked refrigerator upon their arrival. All travelers have to do is pick and choose their food choices online before arriving.

Create a Budget

How to save money on food during family vacations by budgeting

Budgeting is key when it comes to knowing how to save money on food during family vacations. Start by setting a reasonable budget for food. Consider the number of people, days, and the number of meals that your family would possibly consume. If feasible, try to stay under budget in case any part of your plan does not work out.

You may also enjoy: Traveling With Kids But on a Budget? Here’s How to Save Money on Your Trip!

Find Restaurant Deals

Finding restaurant deals is simple. Go to websites like Groupon, RetailMENot, Scoopon, Yipit, and StackSocial. Browse through the brochures that are in hotel lobbies for coupons. Sometimes downloading the restaurant’s app on your phone will reveal more savings.

Pack Your Own Food

How to save money on food during family vacations by packing up food

There’s nothing wrong with packing your food to enjoy. This will cut costs and save you from having to make a trip to a grocery store. Keep in mind that stores in different regions will price products differently. Pay the price that you are accustomed to and enjoy the convenience of having your favorite snacks.

Take Advantage of Hotel Benefits

How to save money on food during family vacations by eating at a buffet

Hotels come with tons of different benefits, but when it comes to food, where do you even begin? For starters, treating yourself to the buffet is a great way to save money and satisfy everyone’s appetite. It’s a cheaper alternative to ordering out or grabbing fast food and you usually get more food for your money. Some hotels will offer complimentary breakfast and snacks throughout the day. When booking your trip, look for places that offer this amenity. It’s convenient, saves money, and you won’t have to travel to get food. You should also check out your hotel’s happy hours; these usually include half-priced drinks and food. But, before you go, make sure to call and verify all the details with the hotel.

Cook Your Own Meals

Nothing compares to a home-cooked meal, even when you’re on vacation. It’s a good way to prevent getting homesick and it’s cheaper than eating out. Allow the family to choose meals to make sure everyone feels included in the decision-making process.

Enjoy Cafes or Street Food Instead of Fine Dining

How to save money on food during family vacations by eating street food

Cafes and street food often have foods that are filling at a cheaper price. Avoid costly fine dining experiences and save money while curbing your family’s appetite. Going to a cafe or stopping at a food cart allows the family to have a cultural food experience, especially if the cuisine is popular in that area.

How do you save money on dining when traveling with your family? Tell us in the comments below!

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