Seven ways to lower vacation food costs | SierraSun.com

Seven ways to lower vacation food costs

Sheri Alzeerah
Special to the Sun

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; The suitcases are zipped, hotel reservations have been confirmed and if traveling by plane, life has been neatly compartmentalized into 3-oz. containers. You, along with millions of others ready to get away, are all set for your summer vacation.

Whether going by plane, train or automobile, Rule No. 1 during a successful summer trip is to keep all tummies happy. Rule No. 1 after a successful summer trip? Keep all bank accounts happy.

One big way to cut costs without sacrificing a fun vacation is to manage your food budget while away. Take these seven tips into consideration before jet/train/car-setting this summer to avoid a trip that leaves you broke:

1. Research

Scout out restaurants in the area online and even better, find food discounts and savings accordingly. Start by exploring restaurants that are walking distance from your lodging, so you can save money on gas or transportation fees.-

2. Make an itinerary and set a budget

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Even if youand#8217;re not a three-meals-a-day type of person, allot money to allow for three meals for each day youand#8217;ll vacation. According to the price level of restaurants you found in Tip No. 1, plan for how much money you expect to spend each day. When you set a realistic budget prior to departure, youand#8217;ll be able to better gauge your food expenses while on vacation.

3. Pretend youand#8217;re a local

When on a trip, itand#8217;s sometimes easy to forget that locals live on a budget where youand#8217;re vacationing. Avoid getting sucked into overspending and get cultured instead. Go to the neighborhood joint or scope out the street food scene, and discover the cityand#8217;s best without spending the most.

4. Pack snacks

Whether traveling with kids or not, your crew is bound to get hungry in between meals. Instead of buying snacks at convenient stores, take favorite packaged goodies from home.

5. Look for festivals or markets

Free food and even better, free fun for hours on end are easy to find at local festivals. Plus, these extravaganzas full of all things local are bound to be bursting with opportunities prime for the picture taking. Food markets are another option for local fare thatand#8217;s fresh and cost effective. Snack on seasonal produce, chow down on baked goods and check out the catch of the day at the place where community meets fresh food.-

6. Score complimentary breakfasts

When booking a place to stay, consider finding one with complimentary breakfast. Whether full-fledged continental buffet or just a bowl of cereal, these meals can save you big bucks in the morning and keep you energized until lunchtime.-

7. Bring a reusable water bottles

No need to waste money on bottled water when you can refuel for free at water fountains or, depending on where you are, from the tap. Itand#8217;s summertime, and the livingand#8217;s easy when you donand#8217;t have to deal with needless vacation expenses. Be a better budgeter on vacation and soon enough, youand#8217;ll be a better budgeter even when you return to life sans 3-oz. liquids.

and#8212; Sheri Alzeerah is a journalist and freelance writer for http://www.foodonthetable.com.