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Dining on the Road Tips

Out to Lunch! If you would like to try an exclusive restaurant, but it's not quite in your budget, consider dining there for lunch instead of dinner. The price will be considerably less and you'll be able to experience all the ambiance and delicacies the restaurant has to offer.

Share and Save. Refrigerators or appliances to store and reheat leftovers are not always available to most travelers on the road. Therefore, if you think the portions are going to be more than you can eat, consider sharing with someone at the table. The cost will be much less than two complete meals and you won't be wasting food.

Water is the Way. Although vacations are often a time to splurge, ordering water instead of soft drinks or alcoholic beverages will save you quite a bit of money while dining at restaurants. You don't have to give up your favorite drinks entirely, but asking your children to order water at lunch and allow them to have a soft drink at dinner will still keep your budget in check.

Nothing Beats a Free Breakfast! While traveling, consider staying at hotels that offer complimentary or discounted breakfasts. When you consider that the average breakfast meal costs $6 - that's a $24 savings for a family of four!

Try it - You Might Like it. Nearly every state or city is known for some kind of food specialty. Whether it's Philadelphia cheesesteak sandwiches, Chicago-style pizza, or fresh Maryland crabs, be sure to go out of your way to try the local cuisine. You won't find it anywhere else as fresh and authentic or at a better price.

Eat Where the Locals Do. If you're not on a tight schedule when driving to your destination, consider going several miles past the regular fast-food restaurants at the exit. You will find local, family-owned restaurants that serve home-cooked and often healthier meals.

Pack a Picnic. If you are driving a scenic route, consider packing picnic food before you leave. There's nothing better after a long drive than stopping to stretch your legs and breathe some fresh air while enjoying a nice meal. Consider bringing a Frisbee or ball to throw for a few minutes before climbing back into the car.

Snack on Savings. Be sure to have plenty of bottled water and snacks on hand such as granola bars, fruit, cheese, and pretzels. These items are usually very expensive to purchase on the road and they will allow you to stretch the time between meals.

Decide Before You Get There. When traveling with young children, consistency is always good. Before you leave, print out menus from some of the chain restaurants your family enjoys. If you know what you want before you enter the restaurant, you'll be able to order everything right away, shortening the amount of time children have to become squirmy and impatient.

Kids Eat Free. When traveling with children, consider going early, before the lunch or dinner crowd arrives. Also, many restaurants offer "Kids Eat Free" nights. Inquire at your hotel about local restaurants offering this promotion. Not only will it lighten the cost, but those particular nights are usually full of other families.

More Ways to Save. In addition to being able to print or download menus, some restaurants offer online coupons. Visit the websites of your favorite restaurants to see if they are offering any specials or discounts.

Sample Local Markets. Eat at the farmer's market rather than sitting down at a restaurant to dine. The fare at a local farmer's market is usually portable, simple and fresh. You can find an array of wonderful, locally grown vegetables, fruits, cheeses, and bakery items.

Hydration and Water. To keep focused and energetic, drink plenty of water. Thirst and dehydration can create feelings of hunger, so keep bottled water nearby. Save money by finding a local grocery store and purchasing a large pack of water and leaving it in your hotel or car or using reusable water bottles, which are more economically friendly than always buying a new plastic bottle.

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