Food to Bring for a Hotel Picnic

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These hotel picnic recipes are perfect for saving money on the dining budget for your next family vacation.

A travel bowl filled with yogurt and granola.

Our family loves to travel using reward points for hotels, frequent flier points for plane tickets, and any other membership or discount plan we can think of to save money on everything else.

The one area that we really seem to struggle with is the dining portion of the travel budget.

Tim and I both really enjoy having a nice sit-down meal at least once a day.

Fast food & quick service are nice easy fixes once in a while, but without at least one higher quality meal a day, we get cranky.

When you're traveling for several days or a week, especially with kids, that can really add up quickly!

I know that all bets are off once we leave the hotel room so the best way for me to keep the family budget in check is to save money on breakfast by eating things I've brought from home.

At the same time, it is still a vacation. I look for special treat type breakfasts so we still feel like we're doing something fun and different than our routines at home.

To sell this idea to the children who may be disappointed they don't get to the hotel's pancake buffet, I dub these "Hotel Picnics."

We camp out on towels on the floor and make it memorable.

What to Pack for a Hotel Picnic

It's just breakfast so you don't need a kitchen arsenal but these items do come in handy!

1. Portable Dishware and Picnic Supplies

A lightweight set including a small bowl, plate, utensils & cup for each person.

You can make individual picnic kits and store them in lunch totes for each member of the family or have one big tote bag filled with all the supplies you need.

You can read more about my favorite hotel picnic supplies here.

But generally you'll want:

  • Utensils
  • Cups
  • A plate and/or bowls

2. Travel Bottle of Dish Soap & Scrubbie

Washing these dishes is no big deal, they mostly just need a quick rinse!

Forget the towel and let them air dry. You're on vacation too!

3. Easy Breakfast Treats

These breakfast suggestions are filling, portable, and low mess.

Best of all, you can make them far in advance of your trip and they will keep well in the freezer.

You don't need to feel pressure to make them the day before you go when your hands are going to be full with packing.

Fresh Items to Buy at Your Destination

To round out your simple hotel picnic breakfast, you just need to get a few items at your destination and keep them in the hotel fridge.

If you plan ahead, you may be able to even order grocery delivery to your hotel through Instacart or pick up the groceries through the specific grocery chain's online ordering.

All you need to buy is:

  • A large container of your family's favorite yogurt
  • Fresh milk
  • Fresh fruit of choice: splurge on the pre-cut fruit salad from the store or get travel-friendly fruits like apples, bananas, or oranges

For less than the price of one hotel breakfast for a family of 4, you'll have breakfasts for your entire trip!

More Recipes to Cook on Vacation

If you're renting a condo with a kitchen or another longer term rental, you may be interested in my entire meal plan for a week at the beach.

It includes everything you need to cook an entire week of dinners including this tasty sample of dishes:


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  3. One way my hubby and I travel and save is by using and/or
    It's basically a way to rent an entire house or apartment. This gives the opportunity to bring our own groceries and have all of the conveniences of home. We absolutely love it! We even bring our tabletop grill. we have the option to go out for dinner or dine at home and it has been a HUGE blessing to our family. We've stayed at lakefront resorts for as little as $55 a night! I highly suggest this travel option for future trips!

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  5. If a hotel offers breakfast, we always take advantage of it ๐Ÿ˜‰
    But we also pack a cooler with lunch fixin's: tortillas, cheeses, deli meats, bagged spinach, fruit salad, pasta salad, and broccoli salad are favorite standbys. Then we find a park or rest stop and have a picnic table lunch.
    On really long road trips we bring their razor scooters in case we don't find a park- that way they get to go play and expend some energy before the next leg in the car.

  6. Pingback: "On the Go" Travel Recipes & Tips for Kids - Melissa & Doug Blog
  7. We do this even still!! As we travel for Liv's dance competition, time and $ are factors in going out to eat, hence we carry along. While she's almost 14, I'm thinking she would still LOVE this picnic set in place of the costco paper that we bring.
    A little planning, a cooler and lots of ice can go a long way to saving a few dollars.

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