Tips to Slash Vacation Food Costs

Food costs can take a big bite out of your vacation budget. Discover seven ways to minimize the impact.

Use Coupons and Gift Certificates

Don't leave home without those coupons! You can cut your food expenses considerably by purchasing an Entertainment Book for the area that you'll be visiting, or by picking up discounted restaurant gift certificates from All it takes is a little forethought to save.

Get Your Order to Go

Most hotel rooms and vacation rentals come with a folder of take out menus. Sift through the folder until you've found something that looks tasty and affordable; then place an order, and skip out on the cost of drinks and a tip.

Never Pass Up a Free Meal

Does the hotel you've booked offer a free continental breakfast? If so, that's one meal a day that you've got covered. How about cocktails, coffee or an afternoon snack? Find out what's included in the price of your room; then, take advantage of any and all food freebies.

Eat Where the Locals Eat

Those tourist hot-spots that seem pricey to you also seem pricey to the locals. Talk up the clerk at the hotel desk, and find out where she likes to go for cheap eats. Then, enjoy an affordable night out minus the vacation crowd.

Eat Out at Lunch

Skip the pricey entrees and long wait times by eating out at lunch instead of dinner. Lots of establishments offer lunch specials to drive in business during the slower part of the day.

Pack Snacks

Snack foods purchased from vending machines and convenience stores receive a hefty mark up before they reach you. Avoid this expense entirely by bringing along your own snacks from home or stocking up at a grocery store once you arrive at your destination.

Dine In

Eating out three meals a day is fun, but pricey. Hang onto a little money for souvenirs and sunscreen by eating some of your meals in your room. It's amazing what you can accomplish with a mini-fridge and a kitchenette.