Frugal Meals/Snacks on Vacation/Travel, Tips & Methods
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    Arrow Frugal Meals/Snacks on Vacation/Travel, Tips & Methods

    My biggest expense during a trip when traveling is usually meals/snacks. Here's the usual scenario:

    Wake up a bit late, run to airport in a rush (no time for meal at home) and ended up paying extra amounts to eat at the airport cafetaria and picked up some snacks at the airport convenience shops (also overpriced!). I notice a lot of travelers also do the same thing, LOL.

    At The Airport
    Well, that was before me going frugal. Here are the things I do right now..and please add some more of your tips as well :

    1. Make effort to sleep early and wake up more early to prepare a meal & drink from home. This saves a lot instead of dining at airport cafetaria/foodcourts.
    2. Pack my own snacks from home (nuts, energy bars, few pieces of banana cake, PB&J on toast, sandwich etc)
    3. Bring my own bottled water.

    At The Destination
    When holidaying at resort islands, food prices are usually quite high. A friend of mine suggested to bring a 'portable kitchen'. Basically it's like this :

    Portable Kitchen When Traveling

    Stuff a small plastic with meal-making necessities. She brings a plastic container with a lid filled with a small paring knife, wine opener, small can opener, a couple of place settings of study plastic silver ware, packets of salt, pepper, other condiments, individual wet naps, and an assortment of zip lock bags, etc. Then put a small stack of paper plates and napkins in a large zip lock bag, a small plastic cutting board and a partial roll of paper towel.

    My Tips/Method for Cutting Food Cost at Resort Island :
    1. Bring own breakfast (cereal & powdered milk, just add water)
    2. Buy loaf of bread at convenience store and make my own sandwiches
    3. Bring paper plates/plastic cutlery for in room dining
    4. Buy meals at local eateries & take away half.

    That's it so far..please add some more

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    Registered User Contrary Housewife's Avatar
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    I always pack snacks for our trips, too. I grab a couple "fruit and cereal bars", some single serving chips, bags of nuts or granola, etc. Always stuff that keeps well for a few days. I also take a baggie with plastic utensils, S&P and napkins.

    Another thing I pack is the tea cannister. I have a metal tin that I fill with tea bags, sugar packets, and a few dry creamer packets. Motels often have coffee pots with coffee, but we prefer tea.

    On certain trips I take instant oatmeal to make with hot water from the motel coffee pot. Cocoa too. But I don't generally plan to cook unless we're getting a room with a kitchenette.
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    Contrary Housewife, packing snacks is very important so we don't end up paying extra at the resort convenience store or at the airport's mini market which usually charge more.

    Thanks for the tips

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    Moderator Ceashels's Avatar
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    I knew one couple that took their own case of beer (USA domestic) so they could enjoy it on their trip outside of the mainland. - crazy people.

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    Registered User arnie's Avatar
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    tuna salad kits or small cans of tuna are also good to bring.
    Oatmeal or instant grits packets
    cereal bars, granola bars, mini boxes of raisins, small fruit cups are great as well.

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    I have a hot plate. It's a stove burner, but just one eye. I also have this hot liquid thing... You plug it in and it heats the liquid right up. For things like soups, pasta, stews, and ramen noodles.

    We also do things like, Tortillas, can of refried beans, and then a jar of cheese sauce.

    I'll make egg salad ahead of time and we eat it our first or second day on sandwhiches.

    When we flew to London, it was just my husband and I and we took a loaf of bread and some PB. When we got there we picked up a thing of honey and ate PB and honey sandwhiches most of the time. Boring, but very cheap and on the go.

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    On road trips, we bring fruit, granola bars, bagels, and sandwiches with salami and cheese. I stick some perishables like cream cheese and smoked salmon, and sodas, in a small cooler. We buy a couple of gallons of water before we leave because water is usually more expensive at our destination.

    Our next trip, we are staying in a cabin with a stove, so we are going to be cooking. I'm going to bring pasta and canned sauce, tortillas and beans with salsa and avocados, boil-in-a-bag Indian food and boil-in-a-bag rice. We'll have no refrigerator for the first two days, so I am sticking to non-perishable stuff that doesn't need to be refrigerated.

    I'm interested in hearing more ideas too!

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    Anyone who is taking a flight now a days should be prepared with food. I had one client who was stuck on the runway for several hours before take off. They were VERY hungry by the time hey arrived at their destination! Sandwiches made with hard rolls hold up very well with being jostled around in a back pack....Take an EMPTY water bottle through the security check point and fill it up with drinking fountain water after you go through.... granola...nuts... those great breakfast cookies all make good snack ideas for traveling!

    Once you arrive at your destination, I have always brought a few spices and things I would need in my condo. I also bring pre measured rice, pasta, oatmeal, sometimes I bring dry cereal. It just depends on how long I am going to be there and how much I want to spend eating out! My husband is spoiled with my cooking and has a problem spending in excess of $50 for a single meal. So you can see, we eat in very often!

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    I travel for work a lot, mostly by air, so my carry-on usually includes about a dozen mini Clif bars. If I'm staying more than a day, I try to find a Residence Inn (free breakfast AND free happy hour [at which they serve food] at night) or a room with a mini-bar/fridge, and I go out the first night and buy bottled water, some fruit, and cream. If the hotel has a free breakfast buffet, I will grab a piece of fruit to take back to my room for snacking later.

    I do bring my own coffee. Even though hotel coffee is free, it usually is some nasty brand that I wouldn't fertilize my plants with.
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    once, the night before we were leaving for vacation our fridge died. we were driving & i was already planning on taking some "car food" with us. there wasn't a bunch of food left in the fridge, but i didnt want waste what was there. i had read in a magazine once about filling up a thermos with really hot water and putting a whole pack of uncooked hotdogs in it. we tried those hotdogs out at our first stop and the trick worked great!
    we also usually keep cut up veggies on hand (in icewater) for soups. we just drained the water off and took the veggies to munch on in the car. we boiled the eggs and took salt shakers & used those up too. we keep a loaf of bread in the freezer so we took that and some peanut butter and a jar of jelly and that lasted well too. jar of pickles, etc.

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    Can I just second oatmeal! lol I make my own oatmeal packets in baggies and then use hot water (either made in a hotel room with the coffee pot or in an airport with a cup of hot water most places will give you for free) to cook it. Cheapest, healthiest breakfast or snack I can think of for on the go.

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    Was the water boiling when you put it in? How long did you cook the hotdogs in the thermos? This is a fantastic idea!


    Quote Originally Posted by SillyLily :-) View Post
    once, the night before we were leaving for vacation our fridge died. we were driving & i was already planning on taking some "car food" with us. there wasn't a bunch of food left in the fridge, but i didnt want waste what was there. i had read in a magazine once about filling up a thermos with really hot water and putting a whole pack of uncooked hotdogs in it. we tried those hotdogs out at our first stop and the trick worked great!
    we also usually keep cut up veggies on hand (in icewater) for soups. we just drained the water off and took the veggies to munch on in the car. we boiled the eggs and took salt shakers & used those up too. we keep a loaf of bread in the freezer so we took that and some peanut butter and a jar of jelly and that lasted well too. jar of pickles, etc.

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    You can make ramen noodles in a thermos, too.

    We have dogs, so don't travel by air. We take everything including the kitchen sink when we travel, because we usually tow our pop up. Handy, because we have everything we could possibly need for food prep.

    Coolers go into the back of the truck if we're camping in grizzly country.

    For long road trips, I'll make up a garden veggie salad before we leave with any and all fresh veggies that need to be used up. Sometimes I add ham or chicken and/or cheese cubes and maybe some pasta. That gets packed in a cooler in a bag with a bottle of zesty Italian dressing or whatever flavor sounds good packed separately. The dressing gets added to the salad, only the portion that will be eaten for that meal. The salt in the dressing is what makes the veggies wilt, and not adding the dressing keeps the veggies crispy for several days.

    I do the same thing with Spam pasta salad (or ham). The prep work is done at home and the mayo is packed separately. The pasta doesn't get soggy that way and again, the salad keeps for days. If we're at a rest stop for a lunch, we mix the salad up in large plastic cups, each to our own taste.

    We carry along a picnic bag even for day trips, which is packed with paper plates, napkins, paring knife, etc, everything we need to have a nice lunch even if it's just sitting in the car. Often, we'll pull into a parking lot on a bay on Lake Superior or some other place that's far more scenic and interesting than any restaurant we could go to.

    I like using shredded cabbage instead of lettuce because it keeps better in the cooler, and doesn't get icky if it freezes a little, unlike lettuce. It can be used just like lettuce for salads or in sandwiches, or to make a quick batch of coleslaw. Carrots also don't mind being slightly frozen.

    Last year, we invested in eleven stainless steel water bottles. Nine of them fit in a small softside cooler which we use as a carry bag, not a cooler. Two are in the front of the car for use. They are color-coded so we know whose is whose. That system has worked out far better than expected. We refill with park water when we find some that tastes good, which is almost everywhere. The fresh tap water tastes far better than stale bottled water from plastic bottles. (Ick.) Having a bottle for each of us in the front seat helps us stay hydrated which means we feel better while we travel. It's easy to grab a full bottle from the back of the truck when we stop for gas or something, and put the empty one back in the carry case so everything stays organized and together. When filling them at the parks, the carry bag makes it easy to transport the bottles. I wish we'd done that years ago.

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    Most of my vacationing and travel is FAR away from resorts, but some of the same ideas apply.

    For snacks and meals, that is why I run my dehydrators as much as I do. You can make many healthy, delicious, natural meals and dehydrate them, or snack on things like apple chips, fruit roll-ups, or jerky. That way, you are not carrying around all of the water in them when you travel. You also don't need to worry about bringing a cooler and ice. All you have to do is get some water on the boil, add the right amount to your dehydrated food, and wait 5-10 minutes.

    I primarily make up all of my meals in single serving sizes in freezer bags. When meal time rolls around, you simply take out the bag with your food, add the right amount of boiled water (usually 1:1, as in, if there is 1/4 cup of dried food, you add 1/4 cup boiled water) to the bag, seal and put is some sort of insulated cozy. Even a rolled up sweater works. Wait 5 minutes and you have a perfectly re-hydrated, hot meal where you know the ingredient list.

    There's a whole bunch of information if you google "freezer bag cooking".

    For camping (in the summer anyway) I have a little portable microfilter that screens out the nasties from the dirtiest water. It may not be a bad idea to use something similar in places like Mexico. Or just stick to the cervesas!

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    When we travel we always bring our own breakfasts rather than eating breakfast out. We also bring drinks and snacks. Depending upon where we are going we'll bring sandwich stuff and fruit for lunches too. But we still always go out at least one meal a day. We look for deals- last time we were in Florida we found a restaurant where kids ate free- it was a local seafood place and it was great. Or we'll look for coupons.

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