Easy Ways to Save Money on Food when Traveling with Kids

easy ways to save money on food while traveling with kids

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Planning your next homeschool travel excursion, but need to stick to the meal budget? Need some ways to save money on food when traveling with kids? I got you!

This article is part of the Homeschool Travel Tips series where I share so so many tips on traveling while homeschooling the kids. Definitely give it a look so you can know all the ins and outs of traveling with kids!

Listen, I love eating out and enjoying all the delicious foods when traveling with kids, but it can get very expensive! Whether we’re specifically doing homeschool travel or a family vacation, I’m all about finding ways to save money on food when traveling.

Does your family vacation usually end up being educational like homeschool travel, too, though? I mean, as homeschooling parents, I’m willing to bet we do all we can to make every outing a learning experience in some way, right?

Well, count this as both a math and life skills lesson! Knowing how to budget and make the most of your money is a great life skill for the kids, so feel free to get them involved, too!

Planning on traveling with kids soon? These easy ways to save money on food with traveling with kids will make both your bellies and wallets full and happy!

Saving Money Made Easy!


If you don’t drink coffee, feel free to skip this section and go to the next, but, if you love yourself a cup of joe in the morning, you’re going to love this tip!

Even if you have a rewards card, buying coffee every morning can get super expensive. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather spend that money on a souvenir or ice cream for the family after a long day.

Whenever we travel, we always make sure to bring along instant coffee packets from Trader Joe’s. I know, I know. Instant coffee can be gross sometimes, but I SWEAR, this instant coffee is really good!

Each packet already has creamer and sugar in it, so we just add it to hot water and stir to make our morning coffee.

If you live near a Trader Joe’s, definitely buy it at the store since purchasing it through third parties online can get pretty expensive.

Water Bottles

These Brita Water Bottles are always with us whenever we travel…whether we’re traveling to the playground down the street or heading on an airplane. It’s important to stay hydrated and, because these water bottles come with filters, they help us to do just that without worrying about any “ick” that could be in the water we’re drinking.


While traveling, we will enjoy a nicer breakfast here and there but, for the most part, breakfast happens on-the-go. Not only does this save money, but it also saves time!

When I’m packing the suitcases for our homeschool travel trip, I’ll make sure to pack boxes of breakfast bars and even instant oatmeal packets (to microwave with water) in our luggage. Both are lightweight and super easy to consume each morning.

Already mixed pb&j = genius!


Just as we do with breakfast, one of the super easy ways to save money on food when traveling with kids is to pack snacks! Packing collapsible travel containers or baggies helps to easily break full-size packages into snack-size while making money go further.

If you’re not able to bring full-size packages with you, individually wrapped snacks are a great way to go.

We will typically splurge for a nice treat or two during our homeschool travel, but, with a little bit of planning, it’s super easy to bring along snacks that’ll keep those bellies full and happy!

Lunch & Dinner

We are super lucky to not have any allergies (other than seasonal) in our family. If you’re family is able to eat peanut butter, packing along containers of peanut butter and jelly are a great way to take care of meals on a budget. Pack a loaf of bread, pb&j, and you’re good to go!

If you do not have refrigeration available for the jelly, or would like to save space by only bringing 1 jar instead of 2, we used pre-mixed pb&j for sandwiches while visiting Baltimore, Maryland recently!

If you do have refrigeration, you could always consider bringing along lunchmeat, cheese, and rolls for lunches (or dinner!), too!

It’s still ok to splurge on a special treat while traveling!

Gift Cards

If you’re planning on eating at a restaurant while on your trip, definitely look into purchasing gift cards beforehand. Often times, gift cards for chain restaurants can be purchased, at a discount, at wholesale warehouses. Even if you don’t have a membership, some warehouses will offer online-only memberships (great for purchasing print-on-demand gift cards!) or will sell gift cards without the membership.

Kids Eat Free

In addition to purchasing gift cards at a discounted rate, one of my favorite ways to save money on food while traveling is to look up restaurants that are offering kids eat free specials. Even if you aren’t from the area (which, if you’re traveling, you most likely are not…duh), a quick Google search could result in a number of restaurants offering kids eat free specials.

travel printable set from that homeschool family

Enjoy your trip!

Besides the obvious “pack a crock pot and make dinner in the hotel room,” (but make sure to check hotel regulations, first!) those are some of our favorite ways to save money on food while traveling. All are super easy, but sure to make a difference in the weight of your wallet.

I’d love to know some of the ways you and your family save money while traveling! Definitely leave a comment below with your homeschool travel tip!

Until next time, stay safe and enjoy quality time with your family,

- Elizabeth (and the kids. and the husband. even the dog.)

Elizabeth Dukart is a proud Georgia-based born and raised Jersey Girl, wife, and mom of 2 human boys & 1 canine boy.

Created in 2021, Elizabeth owns and publishes That Homeschool Family: a free resource for homeschooling parents and beyond! A seasoned blogger, Elizabeth previously published a popular location-specific family resource blog, but decided to “Pivot!” her blogging focus after she started homeschooling her two boys in 2020. In addition to this blog, you can follow Elizabeth’s homeschooling and family adventures on Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. She can also be found in her Facebook Group: That Homeschool Family Hangout.

When she’s not busy taking over the world or homeschooling, Elizabeth can be found listening to music (especially The Beatles & Harry Styles!), being silly with her boys, watching movies with family, shopping, or traveling!

Have a question or want to work with Elizabeth? Send her an email!

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