As tempting as they look, avoid expensive mini-bars on the road (Flickr: Uggboy)
Pricey mini-bars should be a big “no no” when traveling with family

 

 

One of my goals for 2010 is to make our family travels more affordable. 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.

 

Discover Where Kids Eat Free:
Checking local papers and magazines for coupons and finding out where kids eat free is one way to save. Search the internet before you head out. On the site, Kids Eat Free, you can click on most domestic cities to learn where kids eat free and on what days of the week.
There is also an app for iphones for traveling parents called Kids Eat For.

 

Forgo Hotel’s Pricey Room Service Menus and Mini-Bar:
As tempting as stocked mini-bars may be, encourage kids to eat snacks that you bring to the room ahead of time. Before even checking in to 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 with a Kitchen: Residence Inn properties offer free HOT breakfast daily and look for suites with kitchens. A refrigerator can make a big difference. Ask the concierge about a grocery shopping service – a new trend at resorts catering to families.

 

Grocery Shopping Services 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 grocery shop. Family travelers can now find a stocked refrigerator upon arrival at a Divi Resorts property in St. Maarten and Barbados. Travelers can pick and choose their food choices before arrival through the property’s web site.

 

Find a Resort That Offers Free Kids’ Meals and Family Packages:
Look into finding special family packages that will help you save money on meals. For example, the Doral Resort & Spa in Miami offers free meals for kids through its Escape Family Time package throughout the year. The price includes accommodations in a garden-view room and free kids’ meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner!) for children 12 and under at all of the resort’s four dining venues.

 

The Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld also allows up to four children, ages 12 and under, to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner for free when ordering off the kids’ menus at Tradewinds or Boardwalk restaurants through its Escape! Family Time Package.

 

Need more help when it comes to traveling with the little ones? Check out CheapOair’s Travel and Safety Tips for Families.

 

Flickr: Uggboy

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