Dine on a Dime: Eight Budget Tips for Dining During Spring Break

Food and drinks can be among the most expensive parts of any trip, and visiting a popular destination for spring break is no different. These eight tips will help you dine on a dime over break.

1. Buy your own groceries.

If you’re traveling by car, you can do this at your favorite discount stores before you leave. Otherwise, you may need to check for local chains with sales or discounts once you arrive. Either way, having a stock of snacks, drinks and groceries will allow you to avoid purchasing marked-up items for convenience. If your lodging has a fridge and microwave, you can make some of your main meals.

2. Take advantage of hotel perks.

If your hotel offers a free breakfast or a happy hour with snacks, be there. Get at least one free meal a day, and if possible, pack a piece of fruit or granola bar in your pocket for a snack.

3. Bring a refillable water bottle.

Using your own container filled from a tap or drinking fountain will reduce the amount spent on bottles of water. Hotels usually have a free ice machine to keep your drink cold.

4. Know when to dine.

Lunch is often less expensive than dinner, and Wednesday may be cheaper than Saturday, at restaurants. If you want to try a specific place or plan to eat out for only one meal a day, choose the day and time of your meal carefully to save. Catching a sidewalk vendor or food truck at the end of the day might score some good deals on leftovers as well.

5. Know where to dine.

Ask locals for recommendations on less-expensive, out-of-the-way and authentic restaurants. Conversely, keep your eyes open for happy hours, buffets and other meal deals at the hot tourist spots.

6. Keep your extras.

If your restaurant portion is larger than you need for one meal, and you have a fridge back in your room, take the leftovers with you for another meal.

7. Get it to go.

Order a meal to go to avoid the extra costs for drinks and tips. In addition, you may also avoid the temptation to splurge on appetizers, desserts or other extras.

8. Get a discount.

Smartphone apps, online discount codes, daily deal sites, coupons and discounted gift certificates are all your friends. Search for the savings before you pick out your dining location. You may also be able to get discounts for students, AAA or other memberships, or members of fan or birthday clubs.

By: Iowa Student Loan