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How to Save Money on Food when Travelling

To save money on food when travelling, especially with kids, is a lot easier than you might think.

To travel as much as we do in a year we are always looking to lower costs wherever we can. We find how we eat on holiday and how we buy food is a great place where we can cut some costs.

If you have booked an all-inclusive resort where food everywhere, then you’re all sorted! But what if you’re not? How can you keep costs down when you have to do it yourself?

We have come up with a fool-proof list of essential tips perfect for helping you save money on food when travelling with kids!

Take some of the basics with you

When we book a low budget holiday with no food included, we always take a couple of packs of noodles, a few packets of stir-in sauces (as long as they are 100ml or under) a variety of snacks, sweets and biscuits and a big bag of sandwiches.

save money on food when travelling

We do this every time we go away with the kids. It takes so much pressure off of us when we arrive somewhere new as I know we can be self sufficient right from the start. I can feed the kids a quick snack or sandwich or make a really simple dinner as soon as we arrive if I need to. This has served us very well in in the past.

Then once we are ready to explore and go shopping, we are under no stress or in no hurry.

These items mostly get packed into our hand luggage so we can also eat on the plane if we want to. This means we don’t have to pay for the over priced food on the aeroplane either.

This leads me on to my next point…

Don’t buy food on the plane – save money on food when travelling

The food on an aeroplane is expensive, there is no getting away from that. You can save money when travelling with kids by simply taking your own food to eat on the plane. Especially if you are travelling with budget airlines.

Pack smart and ensure you can get it through security and then your done!

Don't eat the food on the aeroplane

Take reusable Tupperware

Taking reusable boxes or sandwich bags is an absolute necessity when you are trying to save money on food when travelling with kids. It gives you scope to get creative with your picnics! Start with a sandwich, then move on to a pasta salad and then the world is your oyster!

Silicone collapsible Tupperware - Save Money on Food when Travelling
These Tupperware containers that can collapse down after use are great space savers and easy to carry around – click photo to go straight to product (aff link)

Not eating out on holiday doesn’t have to be boring, you just need to set yourself up before you leave!

Also another essential for saving money when travelling with kids is reusable water bottles. Not only will you be saving the planet one plastic water bottle at a time, but all your drinks end up being free! The joys of tap water!

We love our Moon Bottles and we take our Mega Moon everywhere! If you are interested read our review here. You can also personalise these which is a lot of fun.

Moon Bottle affiliate link

Supermarket shop and cook

Locating a good local supermarket(s) is not only really practical when you are trying to save money when travelling with kids – it’s also really really exciting!

save money on food when travelling

You can save loads of money by cutting down the amount of money you spend eating out. Doing your own shopping and recreating meals you would have had at a restaurant at your accommodation is just as good!

9 times out of 10 kids prefer to eat at home. So when your kids are young, eating at home is much less stressful and definitely a lot cheaper!

Buffet – saving money on food when travelling with kids

We have personally found that breakfast is the best time to take our kids out to eat. So when we are travelling and we see a breakfast buffet on offer this is something we seriously consider. A buffet can be a great way to get your money’s worth and can be worth the splurge!

There is usually a great selection of foods and some will be of the local variety. So you can indulge and the whole family gets to do something a little exciting.

save money on food when travelling


Swapping a restaurant meal for a some goodies from a bakery is a great way to save money and no one ever talks about this really simple hack!

Bakeries don’t just sell cakes and donuts. You’ll find they will sell lots of very traditional and very local foods which you can buy pretty cheaply.

Take it home to eat or create a picnic and eat it out. This is exactly what we did in Dubrovnik and it was the best meal we had in the city!

Bakery goodies

Picnics – saving money on food when travelling with kids

Picnics are king when you are travelling with kids, or even if you are travelling on a budget!

They are cheap, they are easy to prepare, there’s loads of variety and you can eat it anywhere! Convenient and cost effective – and that’s why it’s king!


If you are looking for some great picnic bags for when you are out and about here are two really good options:

  1. The Thermos Radiance Cooler – We have used this cooler for years now and we love it. It’s big enough to get enough food in for a family of 5, it’s durable and keeps food fresh.
  2. IceMax Picnic Cool Backpack – the main difference here is that this bag is a backpack so a little bit easier to carry than a simple over the shoulder strap. It’s made from RPET like much of Cabin Max’s products which is recycled plastic bottles so it’s a great choice if you want to think about a product that is friendly to the environment too!

Affiliate links included in this article.

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Check out how to spend less money whilst travelling abroad