When our kids were young, the bulk of our vacation budget was the lodging. Somehow, my boys became teenagers without me noticing and they ate. Constantly. Fast food got expensive! Dinners got expensive! Even pancake breakfasts busted the budget. My vacation planning strategy had to change, so we didn’t go broke.
As I discovered online deals, the budget got back on track and our vacationing ways survived! My boys are preparing to leave the nest now, but I will continue to use these strategies to save on dining. That translates to more money for — shopping!
Groupon. This may be the easiest way to save money during travel — on more than just food. Groupon offers 50% savings on food, entertainment, spa treatments and sometimes even on lodging. Read the fine print for exclusions and expiration dates. Search Groupon by the city closest to your destination to see what’s available and plan accordingly. (Please use my referral code if you use Groupon from this post. Thank you!)
Entertainment Books. These coupon books have been around forever! Today, they offer a traditional coupon book or a convenient smartphone version. Simply log in to the region you’ll be visiting to discover restaurant, shopping and attraction coupon offers. If you prefer the coupon book, order at least two weeks before your trip to allow sufficient shipping time.
Restaurant.com.This website offers discount coupons to restaurants throughout the United States. Simply enter the zip code for your destination and search restaurant options to discover great places to eat for less. Purchase a $25 coupon for $10 and save $15 on your meal.
To make the most of Restaurant.com:
• Read the fine print before you buy. Some coupons restrict time of use (not on weekends or dinner only) while others expire (usually at least six months out).
• Do a “google search” of restaurant.com coupon codes, because they regularly offer discount codes. Enter the code at checkout for greater savings. (I usually get $25 coupons for $4, a $21 savings off menu price)
• Some restaurants factor the tip when you use the coupon. Check your receipt to see if tip is already included. If not, TIP your server on the FULL PRICE of your dinner. You may be saving money, but they are working based on the full order. Thank you!
Search for Coupons Online. A quick search, such as “restaurants
Dining Packages. Amusement parks offer dining packages to save you money. If you plan to eat all or most of your meals at amusement park restaurants this option might stretch the budget and fill those hollow legs! Many hotel chains, including Marriott and Choice Hotels, offer combination hotel and dining packages as well.
With just a few clicks of the mouse, you can save 10-50% and dine for less! Happy travels!
written by: Karen Dawkins
Seasoned traveler and North Carolina mom, Karen Dawkins, writes about her experiences and tips at Family Travels on a Budget. She has traveled around the world with her family on a budget, enjoying the adventure and the challenge of doing it all for less!
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net