Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Eatin' on the cheap...on vacation??

Usually when we travel with The H, we've on the company dime. We try to use some of his daily food allowance to buy us ingredients--healthy meal/snack options--so we're not forced to eat out every night. But this week we're on our own, and I don't want that to mean all restaurants, all the time. First, because it can be expensive, and second, because I don't want to rely on fat- and salt-laden meals all week!

The past two days we've spent nothing out-of-pocket on food until dinnertime, and one of those days included a trip to the Philadelphia Zoo.

We're fortunate to be staying at a hotel that sets out a fantastic continental breakfast spread every morning (included with the room rate). If we eat here, and bring a few extras back to our room for later, we can easily do lunch on the cheap. This time we took advantage of the little guy's insulated lunch box--previously filled with airplane activities-- and the icemaker in our room, and were able to pack a lovely little picnic for (nearly) free.

Here's what we had at the zoo:

The H: a few hardboiled eggs, gluten-free pretzels, and hummus (from our small grocery trip Monday), plus an apple and yogurt from breakfast.

The little guy and I: PB&J on wheat with peach yogurts (all from breakfast); he also had pretzels and hummus and some bites of apple while I had cantaloupe from breakfast.

We all brought our own water bottles, too. Having lunch this way saved us *at least* $30 (I think that's a conservative estimate) that we then had available for dinner. Plus, not having eighty zillion (unhealthy) choices in front of us, we all stuck to what we'd brought and that was that. No tantrums about this fried meal or that frozen treat! Love it.

Today's lunch was brought to us by "Kate's Tendency to Overpack and Plan for the Worst." Before we left MI, I tucked a few microwaveable soups and a box of GF mac 'n' cheese into my suitcase, in case we didn't have time to grab dinner at the airport between flights. My leftovers from dinner + macaroni for my boys + applesauce + more hardboiled eggs + chicken-rice soup = "free" lunch again! This was after we had breakfast in our room, which was a combination of grocery-store acquisitions and continental breakfast.

We even went so far as to bring our own coffee (and grinder...) on this trip, not really to save money, but because we're weenies.  

Every time we travel with The H, one (or both) of us complains that hotel coffee "just isn't the same" as our freshly-roasted-from-a-local-roaster java at home. So yeah, it took us this long to figure out that if we bring our own, that's not an issue! SMRT, I tell ya. We've been augmenting it with half-and-half from the breakfast buffet.

How do you (or DO you?) look for ways to save money on vacation?


  1. I save money by traveling w/ my wife who is Legen wait for it dary

  2. I always travel with coffee, a plastic press to make my own. Fruit - can never find good fruit at hotels! Packaged nuts, healthy bars, jerky, all sorts of snacks! When I went to India, I took 35lbs of food in a suitcase and lived off it rather than the local food - for fear of getting sick. No more worries about spending a ton on trips or eating bad!

    PS Be careful if your real name is posted on your blog about 'living off your H's per diem' that could get him in a ton of company trouble!!