How To Cut Travel Food Expenses In Half

Road trips with the family can get expensive when it comes time to eat meals on the road.  Here are some of our best tips for How To Cut Travel Food Expenses In Half.  Some are simple common sense methods, while others may be things you hadn’t considered before.  Saving money on food while traveling can free up more room in your budget for an extra day on the road, or perhaps a special day at a local theme park.


How To Cut Travel Food Expenses In Half

Pack your own groceries. From snacks and drinks in the car, to meal prep in your room or condo packing your own groceries will help you to cut travel food expenses in half easily.  Instead of spending $20 at every fast food stop, you can spend $7-$10 and have sandwiches and fruit in the car instead. 

Stay in a hotel or condo with kitchen. As mentioned above bringing your own groceries saves money, but that requires a place to cook if you plan to have anything other than sandwiches and snack items.  Book a condo for ultimate savings that includes a fully functional kitchen.  Many extended stay hotels offer kitchenettes that work great for easy breakfast, lunch and dinner on the road.  Make sure to inquire ahead of time about supplies provided (pots, pans, etc.).  You may need to pack kitchen supplies as well as the grocery items.

Split entrees at restaurants. Instead of ordering separate meals for everyone, start splitting an entree instead.  Portions sizes are huge in most restaurants, and that means you are eating far more than you need to or left with leftovers. Even kids can help save money by splitting an adult entree instead of eating individual kids meals.  Often they get more food for less cost this way.

Take advantage of kids eat free nights.  There are many local and chain restaurants nationwide that offer special kids eat free nights.  Plan your menus around those nights to stretch your budget even farther. 

Order water instead of soft drinks. This can save $10-$12 off your restaurant tab for a family of four every time.  That adds up fast over the course of one week on the road.  Over the course of 5 days that could easily be $150 or more in savings just on beverages. 

Use restaurant coupons. Check sites like Groupon, and local newspapers for coupons to local restaurants.  Buy one get one free are often popular or small mom and pop diners.  Ask the chamber of commerce at your destination for a local coupon booklet.  You’ll be surprised at how many great deals you can get from this little booklet.

These tips for how to cut travel food expenses in half will help you to stretch that budget much farther.  Think and plan ahead for everything from breakfasts and snacks on the go, to beverages in the car. When you look for coupons, use special promotions and provide food from home for in between, you can take a $500 food budget down to $250 or less for the week.


  1. Drinking water has always been one of our tricks. In addition to saving cash, it keeps you thin, too!

  2. Rosie says

    I would be more than happy to do any “due diligence” to save on food costs – you can see how much it really adds up! Many ppl, esp on a vacation, just don’t want to be bothered. I find it fun to save!

  3. Karen Glatt says

    We pack our own groceries, and get a room with a kitchen to save on eating out while on vacation. I also drink water when eating out because pop prices are atrocious. we also carry our own water bottles. These are all great tips to follow.

  4. Stephanie says

    Great tips always order free water 🙂

  5. Nicole Dziedzic says

    Great tips for summer travel, that are sure to save and help out a ton, food expenses when traveling can really add up quick, and depending on where you go things may get pricey, when we travel we eat where the locals eat, we usually ask around for places too, it helps.

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