Instead of cramming my ways to save for and on vacation into one super-post, I’m writing them in a series, ‘Too Broke To Travel?‘.
Let’s face it, mama. You don’t plan trips or actually take them because you’re worried you won’t be able to afford it. Of all the reasons, us single moms don’t travel, the one reason that stands high above them all is, money.
Money. Even those of us with healthy salaries wish we had more. After all, we’re still using one income to supplement an entire household. And, it’s hard. Whether you have one kid or five, it’s hard.
A lot of us have become pro budgeters, seemingly doing magic tricks with our paychecks.
In every aspect of a vacation, money is a question, a comment, and a decision-maker.
Today, let’s talk about: vacation food and how you can afford it.
Let’s start with food in the airport going to your vacation.
When I go into one of those airport versions of a convenience store to buy a few snacks for a plane trip, I balk. $5.00 for a quarter-full bag of Welch’s fruit snacks? Are you kidding me?!
The economic thing to do is go to your local grocery store where the prices are reasonable. I mean, c’mon.
I did get my kid breakfast at McDonald’s our last trip. I did not feel an ounce of bad as she rarely eats fast food, our flight was too early to make her breakfast at home before we left, and it was cheap. McDonald’s oatmeal and milk isn’t going to kill my toddler.
Before embarking on a road trip, a local grocery store run is, again, economical. Getting snacks from every rest stop on your way isn’t.
In fact, before embarking by train, plane, or automobile, hit up your grocery store – use those coupons or savings cards – for snacks for your trip to your destination.
When you get there…
I recommend eating locally when you get to your destination. Eating at a place nearby reduces travel costs whether it be cab fare or gas in your car/rental. As an aside bonus, if you’re interested in the culture of your surroundings, you’ll be eating like the locals . If you’re interested and extroverted, you can mingle with the locals and get some information about how they live and what there is to do at this place you’ve traveled too.
Eat at a chain, if you can. Our last trip, we dined at a Chili’s one night. The wonder of chain eateries is the familiarity of the menu no matter where you go and the price range which, in general, is the same no matter where you go. If you’re eating on a budget, it’s helpful to know you can get a burger from a place you have at home for a similar price as you would pay at home.
And if you’ve taken my advice and rented a vacation home versus booking a hotel room, you probably have access to a kitchen. *Cue in the heavenly music and lights* You can get groceries from a local grocery store, stock that fridge for breakfasts and dinners for during your stay, and cook sometimes. Save money.
While you’re at that grocery store, pick up more snacks for while you’re away from your accommodations and don’t want to buy the expensive eats at the venue you’re exploring.
Don’t forget: make ‘food’ a column on your trip budget. All of this will be for nothing if you didn’t have restrictions on how much you were supposed to spend on food from jump.
It’s always nice to know what your expenses are and exactly how much your entire vacation will cost before traveling.
Join me on the Mobile Mamas Crew Summer Cruise for 2014. With the help of a certified travel agent, I’ve coordinated a trip that is affordable, luxurious, and fun! Every aspect of this trip will be taken care of – including food. Don’t you like the sound of that? Everything you need to know is here.