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Budget tips for traveling - Dining Out

There are several ways to save on food travel costs.
There are several ways to save on food travel costs.
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

When planning a trip, the three biggest costs are usually the travel, lodging and meal planning. If you are traveling with a family, your food may be the greatest expense of all! With a little planning, however, you just might save enough money to squeeze in an extra activity or at least return home with a few bucks in your pocket!
Booking a room that includes breakfast is one way to save. Breakfast is generally the cheapest of all the meals, but even at a fast food restaurant breakfast can cost $25 to $30 for a family. That adds up over the course of a trip.
After the reservations are made, it is a good idea to become familiar with what dinning choices are nearby where you are staying and the places that will be visited. Compile your list and get ready to hunt for deals!
Coupons can be helpful to reduce the amount on meal spending. While you may find chain restaurant discounts in the Sunday paper, inserts or mailers, be sure to read the fine print. These vouchers might only be good at certain stores or local franchises. An internet search for coupons might provide better results.
Retail Me and are both free to use websites offering coupon savings at a variety of eateries. Retail Me Not has some printable coupons to browse through as well as a mobile app that can send savings right to your phone. Val Pak allows users to enter a zip code or city and lists the coupons for that area. For a more local flavor, might be a better choice. is a website that allows customers to purchase gift certificates at a discount. To get started, just enter a zip code or city and a variety of restaurants will be displayed. Clicking on one of the selections will load a new page showing you what gift certificates are available. Under that is the minimum purchase that needs to be made to use the certificate. Find the deal that works for you and add the gift certificate to the shopping cart. All that is left is to make the purchase and enjoy your meal!