I've got a fantastic solution to trimming your dining budget for a trip. My girls can't keep their hands off of these easy recipes, I hope your family enjoys them too!
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 "dignified" meal a day, we get cranky. When you're traveling for several days or a week, 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 from Home 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:
A lightweight set including a small bowl, plate, utensils & cup for each person. I packed a Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch meal set right into a packable lunch bag, 1 for each girl. It was the perfect meal kit for our hotel picnics.
2. Travel sized bottle of dish soap and a travel toothbrush to use as scrubby:
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. A few easy to go, packable homemade breakfast recipes:
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.
The 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: