Travel Tip: The Easiest Way to Save Money on Vacation

June 14, 2022, 5:32 PM · Rising prices surely have many families rethinking their summer vacation plans. It might be too late for many of us to change reservations - and no one wants to cancel a long-anticipated vacation. But there are ways that you can save money when traveling, even when prices seem to be rising all over the place.

Where to start? The best place is to stop spending money on stuff you won't actually use. And the easiest way I have found to do that is... to order less when eating out.

At home, leftover food at a restaurant means a to-go bag and maybe lunch tomorrow. But on the road, leftover food on a plate is almost always wasted. Unless you have reached a destination where you are staying for several days, in a room with a decent-sized kitchen to refrigerate and reheat those leftovers, you're likely not going to be able to eat them. Which means you've wasted the money you just spent for that food.

When I am on the road with my family, we plan to share meals at every stop. American restaurant portions are huge, and we have found that we almost always can get by with splitting them. On travel days, when you are sitting in a car or plane almost all day, you probably aren't working up much of an appetite, anyway.

It's different on theme park days, when you are burning calories walking around the park for hours and hours. But even then, we start by splitting meals. If half a meal won't satisfy, that allows you the opportunity to try something else later as a snack. Ordering less not only allows to avoid wasting money on uneaten food, it can help you afford to experience more of what a park has to offer, if you end up needing more to eat.

And, as most parents can testify, little kids are awful judges of how much food they can eat. Order only what you know they will finish in this sitting.

Most of the time when I travel and visit theme parks these days, however, I am going solo. Even then, I try to save money by limiting what I order from restaurants. I go for the Ronto Wrap from Disney's Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge or the Soup & Salad Combo from Universal's The Three Broomsticks instead of some big combo platter from other restaurants. Again, it's not a value to get more food for the same or a little more money if you don't end up eating it.

You can apply this lesson at home, too, if you want to start building your next vacation fund. If you don't end up eating those leftovers that you take home and throw into the fridge, you're wasting money that you could be saving for your next trip. So take a look inside your refrigerator. If you see any old leftovers in there that you're not just about to eat, maybe it's time to change your eating habits while you're not on the road, too.

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Replies (5)

June 14, 2022 at 6:09 PM

I only eat one meal a day...so.

June 14, 2022 at 7:10 PM

Take your own food into parks that allow it. Eat meals outside of parks. Rent a condo with a full kitchen and eat some meals with supplies purchased from a nearby grocery store.

June 14, 2022 at 10:19 PM

Specifically for Disney World... stay offsite! Ive done several different resorts and stayed offsite too and the amount saved is momumental and usually the rooms themeselves offsite are better plus some places offer free breakfast which further adds to the savings. Plus Disney keeps taking away perks from staying onsite while raising prices.

June 15, 2022 at 10:39 AM

I tend to be someone who eats everything I order when out so am baffled at people paying for a meal they leave a bunch of behind, not even taking home for leftovers. I also go with idea of bringing your own snacks into the park rather than pay for most treats there.

My family often prefer WDW resorts for closeness/transport but yes, off-site is more affordable, especially spots where you can cook there. Just do the research a bit on places before thinking you have to pay more than you have to.

June 20, 2022 at 2:38 AM

We can also save some amount by going in a group vacation, this way we can share the expenses between each party, last time I went to my vacation with my roommates, there were 4 of us, but we were worried about our home accessories, as it was a rental flat where we were living, so we all decided to rent some storage services providers and found bystored they helped us a lot and also made sure our stuff was safe with them while we enjoyed our vacation.

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