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13 Tips On Saving Money On Food During A Vacation

Updated: Apr 27, 2019

Grey backpack with snacks to eat at Disneyland.
Backpack full of snacks for Disneyland

Taking a vacation can be very expensive! I know when we go on vacation we try to save money on absolutely everything. We go to Disneyland a lot and the food can be very expensive so this week the 13 travel bloggers are going to advise you on how we save money on food during our vacations. So here we go 13 tips on how to save money on your food budget…

1. Disabled Disney…”One of the ways we save money is by NOT purchasing food in the Parks! Wait…did you say NOT purchasing food? Yes I did. Disney allows you to bring in food. So we will bring in snacks, sandwiches like peanut butter and jelly, soda, bottled water, and basically anything we like to eat! The only caveat is NO glass with only a few exceptions. So we eat breakfast either at the hotel or before going in, bring food and snacks with us, and usually will get a late dinner on our way back to the hotel! And we also get hotels with microwaves and refrigerators because then we can buy some cheap microwave things to keep in our hotel room for food! This means we don’t have to buy food in the Parks!!!”

2. Sarah at Dandelion Seeds advises“Especially since we have food allergies, we always stay somewhere with our own cooking facilities. With that in mind, one of our first stops at our destination is always the grocery store. Sexy? Notsomuch. Practical and helpful? Definitely. We make a list of our favorite meals from home and make the easiest ones while we're traveling, so we can reserve the bulk of our time for adventures outside the kitchen. I come up with a meal plan and shopping list for the week and buy only what we need (it works our much better financially than impulse shopping and also creates less waste).”

3. Sarah from State By State says “Our family spends a lot of time in the car. Driving from campground to campground and also from attraction to attraction. I always pack a bag of snacks before we leave. Having snacks in the car means we don't have to stop and eat somewhere. Some of my favorite car snacks include: granola bars, grapes, berries, dried fruit, trail mix, baby carrots, sugar snap peas, and applesauce drinks. We also keep an old coffee can with candy in the car. The candy is helpful if we have an extra-long car trip or need the kids to calm down in confusing driving situations.”

people sitting on a park bench having a picnic
Courtesy of State By State Picnic on a Park Bench

4. Deb at World Wise Kid says “We typically have one big, hot, sit down meal in a nice restaurant or cafe each day. We are selective about where this main meal will be, asking opinions from locals about a family-friendly, non-touristy place that uses fresh, regional ingredients and offers vegetarian options. This meal is a time to observe the culture, connect with the locals and do some journaling or researching our next location.”

5. Yamy at Gofamgo “The cost of dining out could easily skyrocket for a party of 4 and up, which is usually the case for family travelers. When we travel with a large party, one of our money-saving strategies is to look for a restaurant that can serve family-style dishes. The meals often come in a large serving on a platter. In the USA, the serving sizes of meals are often good for 2 servings. If we don't end up sharing, we pack the leftovers to go for a later meal in the day. This is especially the case when we book a hotel with a microwave in the room.”

6. Shannon at Grab My Passport has a tip about air travel food “Air Travel - Airport snacks can be pricey! We always pack sandwich bags with snacks to munch on while waiting around the airport, as well as for the plane. We also bring refillable water bottles - just dump them out before going through security checkpoints and refill them once you get into the terminal.”

7. Kris at Gadsventure says “Try to eat local style food. For example, Nasi Goreng is so much cheaper than a Hamburger in Bali! When we travelled around Peru you could save a ton of money by asking for the Menu del Dia (the menu of the day). It is a set menu that gives you up to 6 courses for the price of one regular menu item. This would include a soup, a cocktail, appetiser, entree, main and dessert! The key is you have to ask for it though, it is not freely advertised. Remember the Menu del Dia next time you are in Peru!”

8. Shannan at Captivating Compass “House sit - Using a well-equipped kitchen is always a luxury while traveling. Cooking for yourself will allow you to splurge on the decadent dessert or local bottle of wine. Stop at the local market for fresh ingredients and try a new recipe. You will make such enjoyable memories in your home-away-from-home while dining in affordable luxury.”

kids with ice cream cones
Courtesy of Captivating Compass Kids having Ice Cream

9. Tiffany from Mommy And Me Travels advises “If staying in a hotel, find a place with a continental breakfast. Or if you are in an apartment like Airbnb, make your breakfast at "home". This meal is the most important of the day as it gives you energy to enjoy all of your daily activities. Don't skip this meal but use the cost effective means available to you for 1 of the 3 meals you will have that day. This will be free or pennies for your morning breakfast budget.”

10. Annette at Tips From A Typical Mom says “Most of our trips are done in the car so we pack sack lunches and put them in the cooler along with all the snacks the kids will need while traveling. It's important to only give the kids water to drink so they don't guzzle down a huge bottle of juice and then need to use the bathroom every hour. Water is boring so they will only drink it when they are thirsty.”

11. Nikki at Yorkshire Wonders tip is “Before we go to Orlando I always check the local voucher sites such as Groupon or Wowcher. You can pick up some bargains here for meals out (and activities too). It's also worth signing up to the newsletters of the restaurants you might visit as you are often sent vouchers to use for a free starter or dessert. Try to leave this until quite close to your trip as the vouchers tend to have short use by dates - or use a second email to sign up nearer the time. Also check out the 'Kids Eat Free' cards.”

burger and fries from Planet Hollywood Orlando, FL near Disney World
Courtesy of Yorkshire Wonders Burger from Planet Hollywood Orlando

12. Kirsty at World For A Girl says “We don't have a particularly stringent travel budget when it comes to food. We love to eat out and experience new cuisines and cultures. We tend to look for cleanliness and a family-friendly atmosphere over price. However, many of the things we do for convenience actually save us money in the long run.”

13. Regina at Full Time Field Trip says her family “Special Treats. For special, regional food, must-try dishes, we get a couple of orders and share rather than each person getting their own plate. That way everyone gets a taste and none is wasted if it’s not well liked. Eat On The Streets. Street food is cheap and amazing. They will almost never take a credit card so be ready with cash. For safety make sure the food is piping hot. We look for food carts with a line. A long line means tasty goodness. Some of our tastiest adventures and best memories were made sampling a variety of street foods.”

These are the best tips and tricks from 13 travel bloggers! We all think pretty much alike and there are several running themes. Choose a hotel that offers breakfast, stay in a place with a kitchen and fix your meals or pack food for where you are headed that day! What are your tricks with saving money on food during vacation? Leave it in the comments. Oh and make sure you go and check out each of these bloggers!

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