We all know vacations can empty the bank account. Budgeting for a cost-effective vacation for the whole family can be challenging, but rest assured there is a way to cut down your vacation costs drastically – MEAL PLANNING!
Let’s face it… we throw a lot of money out the window when we’re hungry, especially when we’re out of town and don’t know where the cheapest tasty burger is. It’s a game of Google and hope for the best!
If you come up with a simple meal plan for your vacation, you can save loads of cash. This will leave you with more money for memory making!
Here’s a quick guide to meal planning for your sunny vacation on the Gulf coast.
- Count your meals ahead of time. First and foremost, you must know how many meals you’re planning for. Simply count how many meals you will need during your stay and for how many people. If you have a family of four going to the beach for seven days, that’s about 21 meals total for the week that will each feed four people. It is also important to have snacks just in case you get hungry in between meals, about one or two a day. That’s about 10-14 snacks each for four people. That may seem like a lot, but you’ll likely end up hitting the local eateries throughout the week so plan accordingly.
- Make a menu. Write it out or type it out on your phone! It will come in handy and make for a more relaxing trip. Leave empty spaces for the restaurant splurge trips you will take. Also, plan on transforming your dinner leftovers into the next day’s beachside lunches. Here’s some examples for basic meals to give you an idea of how the dinner ingredients work hand in hand as lunchtime leftovers.
- Dinners: Most of the planning will go into dinners. Base your meal around the main dish, which is normally the meat (unless you are vegetarian, then there are additional options). Based on how many meals you and your family would like to eat out, to save money plan to eat in for at least half of your nights. Try grilled chicken kabobs (easy way to cook meat and vegetables at the same time), spaghetti and meatballs, hamburgers and hot dogs or even BBQ chicken wings one night. For easy side dishes, think mac and cheese, rice or canned vegetables.
- Lunches: This is where you can really save money! Take leftovers from dinner you ate the night before and put a little twist on it. For example, if you made chicken kabobs the night before, throw it in a pita wrap and pair it with some pretzel chips with hummus and there you go, a delicious beach picnic! Other ideas include leftover mac and cheese in a cup or shred the chicken from the BBQ chicken wings and make a pulled BBQ chicken sandwich.
- Breakfasts: Think simple cereals, granola bars, fruit, pancakes, eggs, French toast and maybe even bacon or sausage for a special morning.
- Go to the grocery store. Twice actually. Once before you go to get packing essentials, such as coolers, totes and reusable water bottles. You also need to get some snacks for the road! Then, you’ll want to go shopping the first day of your vacation to buy your food for the week. Remind yourself when you are at the store to cost-effective shop. Every penny counts when it comes to saving! Brand names are often just a price mark-up for the name on the packaging.
Save your money for the things that really matter- making memories with the ones you love.
Book your next cost-friendly vacation with delicious cuisine at NavarreListings.com today!