Monday, June 27, 2011

Frugal Challenge-Keeping Vacation Food Costs Down

If you are heading out of town like us this summer, the thought of how much it takes to feed a family for a week while out of town can be quite scary. We happen to be camping in our trailer so I plan to make almost all of our meals myself. You may think I am nuts because who wants to be cooking when they are camping but over the years I have come up with a system to make this super easy for me. I just cook ahead. For weeks now when I made a meal like lasagna, I just made two and one went in the freezer for camping. When we grilled carne asada we made a bunch and some went already sliced into a freezer bag to just be heated up and served for dinner one night. 

I also buy things ahead on sale and stash in the freezer or cupboards for later. I already have all our drinks in the trailer, cases of water and snacks that I bought ahead a little at a time. I used to shop for it all right before we left and it would cost me hundreds. Now I just work at it in the months prior to leaving.

Last year we had our four kids and three of their friends plus us. To go out to eat with six teens a toddler and us would cost hundreds. Instead we would treat the kids to Starbucks or ice cream out one day and spend what we would spend on meals on fun extras. We rented a boat to float around the harbor for the afternoon and brought a picnic with us. Another day we rented kayaks.

Here is my freezer in the trailer with our pre-made meals all ready to go.


Not pretty but practical.

We have even gone budget in hotel rooms. We have brought our crockpot and plopped meals I have made ahead in when we went out and came back to a hot meal. We like to stay in Marriot's Residence Inns as hubby earns points traveling for work and we can stay for free. They have kitchens and often free breakfast and light suppers. We will usually go out for one nice meal and the rest of the time we eat in. This may not be for some but it takes just a few minutes to heat up and serve and we save hundreds of dollars this way. Works for us.

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11 comments:

Dina said...

I grew up doing that kind of thing. Every family vacation included a couple of really well stocked coolers. We would stop at roadside picnic stops, eat and go on. Once at our destination, breakfast and lunch were in the room. I strive to do similar things with my family now.

Ceekay- Thinkin of Home said...

I have never thought of taking a crock pot...but that is a great idea. We always eat inside the hotel when we are doing our quick trips because we have our dog. So we usually stop at the grocery store and load up...but I will have to remember the crock pot idea. That would be a great reason to have one of those smaller crocks...at least for us.

Emma said...

Hi Elaine. I am really enjoying your blog. My family & I are going away for the weekend in our caravan, and i like cooking in there. I feel its all part of the fun of holiday! We are having a heatwave here in England, so I'll take lots of salad and things for a BBQ.
i grew up on caravan holidays and we rarely ate out, except at seaside resorts we'd have fish and chips, and as an adult with my own family now, I feel its just part of the holiday.
Your are super organised though, i leave everything til the week before!

Ricki Jill Treleaven said...

My mom used to keep baggies in her purse, and when we had breakfast, restaurants always served way too many biscuits, so she would make biscuits with ham or bacon and put them in the baggies for me and my cousins to have later for a snack. (Y'all might not have biscuits in California like we do in the South, LOL)...

Mary said...

Yes, that's the way to go. We generally eat out one meal daily and the rest we eat in the condo. This year, with the economy and gas prices, we're staying home. Thanks for sharing the thrifty way of dining on vacation!

Diane Mars said...

Very smart way to travel.. I hope I can have a getaway soon! oxox, Diane

Ginger Zuck said...

I think you're brillant! Who wants to eat out every night anyway. I get all out of wack when I travel and do that. I am unable to sleep god and so I think you are really smart doing what you do and besides it's much healthier for your family! Love it!

acorn hollow said...

Go to resturants.com and they have resturant gift certificates for 1/2 the price just put in the town you want to eat in and it will come up with a list of resturants offering the 1/2 price gift cert.
Cathy

Michelle said...

Great job! We do partial budget by cooking lunch and dinner on camping trips, but we always go out for breakfast and then a snack if needed :)

Kris said...

I do a lot of cooking ahead when we go on vacation too. You are one organized Mama!

deb said...

Great tips!!!!!!!

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