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Cheap Vacation Meals: How to Save Money on Vacations

Updated on September 16, 2011

One purpose of a vacation is to get away from the routines of cooking and familiar restaurants. Eating ethnic cuisines and experiencing local ambience, however, can be one of the most expensive parts of a vacation and consume time that you wish you could use for other activities. Check out these tips on how to save money on vacation meals through cheaper vacation food and dining.

  • Avoid the fancy dining establishments. You can do that at home. You’re here for other purposes, so go for the fast food, cheap diner, etc. That’s especially true for those meals when you’re going to pull out the brochures and “decide what to do next.”

  • If you’re visiting a destination because of its cultural or ethnic identity, seek out those eateries. Even if you’ve decided that you don’t like that particular cuisine, they’ve always got a small part of the menu for “tourists,” and the atmosphere is great. Or tell your server what you do and don’t like and ask for a suggestion. Every ethnic cuisine has a surprise or three that you didn’t know about—try it, you might like it! And leave the brochures in your purse.

A bowl of Prawn Noodles, a famous delicacy in Taiping, Perak.
A bowl of Prawn Noodles, a famous delicacy in Taiping, Perak. | Source
  • Call out for pizza or Chinese to be delivered to your lodgings. This is great if you’re tired of running around to amusements or if you just want to kick back and relax with a movie or if one of you just wants to sleep instead. The larger your family or group is, the wiser this choice becomes.
  • Many places will have a complimentary breakfast, which is convenient and saves money—unless you visit a very foreign country where what they think of as breakfast isn’t what you think of. In a country like that, the international class hotels generally serve both “American breakfast” and something more locally typical.
  • If you are going to be in a hotel where a suitable breakfast is not included, hit the corner grocery upon arrival for a box of cereal, a bottle of milk, whatever you need to do your own thing in the mornings. If there’s no mini-fridge in your room, powdered milk and bottled water works fine on cereal.
  • Never eat or drink anything provided in your mini-fridge—even the water will be ten times what it costs out at the corner store. Instead, pick up a few snacks and bring them in. Just don’t confuse yours and theirs.
  • If you’re in a hotel with a restaurant, you can usually call them and have a meal delivered to your room. It costs slightly more, but there are times when the convenience is worth it. (OK, that didn’t save you any money; but if that was the only object, you wouldn’t even be taking a vacation, right?)

Omega One Super Color 3 Day Fish Feeder
Omega One Super Color 3 Day Fish Feeder

Extended-release fish food for the aquarium.

  • And before you leave home, don’t neglect to make arrangements with the dog-sitter or kennel and to leave some extended-release fish food in the aquarium.


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