Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Frugal Challenge - Keeping Vacation Food Costs Low


We will be hitting the road for a 12 hour trip this summer. I am over the moon to see my brother and his family. I love them and miss them so much in between visits. When we travel we try to keep our food expenditures low. Eating out is just not a huge priority to us. We try to keep the sodium in our diets low and limit fried food and of course try not to spend our entire vacation budget on food. Here are some of the ways  we economize:


1. We make all of our food for the road ahead of time. Not only do we not want to waste time sitting down to eat in a restaurant but we find it cheaper to make our food ahead of time. I will pack a snack bag with junk food, trail mix, fruit and waters. In our ice chest we will have sandwiches and yogurts and sodas for the road.  One of my daughter's has the responsibility to make us all our sandwiches. While we are packing the car and getting ready to leave, she is preparing lunch and writing everyone's names on their sandwiches. Easiest way to find whose is what in the ice chest. We stop only for gas and to stretch our legs and maybe an ice cream to get us through the last couple of hours of the trip. It helps pass the time too to have munchies.

2. Some of our stay will be in a hotel and we always choose one that serves some sort of breakfast. That is a huge savings and we manage to stay free as well because of all of hubby's travel for work.

3. If our hotel does not have a refrigerator in the room, we keep our ice chest iced up for drinks and snacks, fresh fruit, yogurts and sandwich makings. We will take our lunch if we are heading out for the day for sight seeing. We usually plan a couple of meals out but really pre-planning is what helps me to save. I know we will eat out this day or have dinner out one night. Mostly we are eating with family but will have a meal or two out.
I keep an itinerary of our trip and what we want to do each day. I will usually fit in a run to the market to have food for the trip home.


4. Sometimes I take my small crockpot with us. Yes I do. I can throw some dinner fixins in there before we leave and when we come back from a day of sightseeing, our meal is hot. A couple cans of chili and some turkey dogs heat up nicely and are ready when we get back but usually I will have a frozen meal in our ice chest that I can put in the crockpot and have hot by the time we get back. I can slice up a melon and serve the chili and dogs on some buns and have dinner very cheaply or bring out some carrots and ranch dip to add to other meals. Here is a good recipe for travel. Freezes well and heats up nicely. Plus we are tired and just getting back to the room so kids can swim and relax is my goal at the end of the day.

16 comments:

It's All Connected said...

Great post! It's sensible, better for you and fun to have your own food on a trip. ~ Maureen

laurie said...

you are just so clever, great tips!!!!! We can all use these!!!

Kim@Snug Harbor said...

The frozen meal for the crockpot is GENIUS! I'm gonna have to remember that one.

Sweet Tea said...

You are to be applauded, but it does seem like a lot of work. Aren't you tired after doing all of this prepping, serving and cleaning up? Seems like you don't get much of a vacation. Maybe I'm wrong, cause you certainly do reap the rewards of a good diet and cash saved.

The Boston Lady said...

Elaine, have a wonderful visit with your family! Your tips reminded me of our many car trips while our kids were young and still at home. We camped a lot to save money and always brought our food along, except for special treats and a few meals out. I am impressed with your crockpot idea - I never would have thought of that. I have been guilty of bringing our toaster oven and heating up individual meals I froze at home - this was before microwaves were small and more portable. My parents always packed breakfast items when I was young because the hotels did not have those free breakfast as they do now. So many good ideas. Have a wonderful time. Ann

Linda said...

You guys sound so much like us in so many ways!! My sons just went on a short trip to Las Vegas...took fixings with them...got a couple free buffets...and in 3 days only spent money on one small meal. We were so proud. We always bring an ice chest filled with goodies no matter where we go...even to go to swap meets and such...drinks are so expensive...as are snacks. I never thought about the crock pot idea...I love that!!

Ricki Jill Treleaven said...

The crockpot idea is *brilliant*.... Shanley Belle and I are going on a road trip this summer, and I think I might take one along for it.

nancy said...

We did the same thing, and would eat out somewhere nice once or twice during the trip. Like a good seafood place on the coast...

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

This really is great info for traveling. We used to stop at restaurants for lunch when we traveled and it would take an hour or more! So now we pack sandwiches and snacks. Something else we like is bagels. We make cold coffee drinks and I toast bagels, add cream cheese and put a piece of wax paper over the top. About the middle of the morning they taste so good! Enjoy your trip!

Kris said...

We used to do the same thing when traveling with all of our children!!!! Very wise!!

ImSoVintage said...

Love the crockpot idea. Traveling with a family is always a challenge when it comes to food expenses and looks like you plan well. :)

Sweet Bee Cottage said...

What a clever one you are! We've done the sandwich and snack thing before, but I never thought of the crockpot. But I have to confess.....even though we pack those things, we still sometimes stop if we see an interesting restaurant - not a chain - on our journeys.

Sam I Am...... said...

What wonderful ideas for saving money on a trip. I don't travel much but if and when I do I will be doing those exact things. Thank you! I do not eat out either. It's very rare. The recipe sounds great also. Do you freeze it before you bake it or after? I like make ahead dishes that I can prepare and then freeze and bake later when I'm busy with other things like major projects around here so I don't have to stop working to fix dinner. You always have such frugal and practical tips! You should write a book!

Crafty Gardener said...

I love the idea of taking a crock pot along and cooking dinner while you are out. Thanks for the tip.

Linda @ A La Carte said...

Really great ideas, especially taking the crockpot! Sure does cut down on the cost of food on the road. Leaves more dollars for fun things!

Katherines Corner said...

Great post. We do these things too. It really does help keep costs down. Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop Linky Party. I hope you have a wonderful weekend xo P.S. I'm having a party at Katherines Corner today and you are invited!

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