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June 09, 2010


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We are also big proponents of Big (free) Breakfast + snacks + Dinner. It works out well because often on vacation you also don't want to spare the time, let alone the money, for a sit down lunch. Also buy a case of bottled water from a store before going anywhere so we don't get 'soaked' for $2/bottle of water.

Purchase wine/beer, snacks, bottled waters, etc at a store and have the first drink in the room before heading out. Avoid the mini bar or any food/drink from the hotel.

Eat at the bar/ off the bar menu of a nice restaurant- you'll get the benefit of a well trained staff and great flavors for half the price.

I carry $2 bills for tips. Staff will remember you like they remember the guy who gave them $10.

Ask the valet if there is free parking anywhere near by. (hotel was $24 and the nearby lot was $2)

Stay loyal if you travel a lot- the points can add up quickly and the free benefits are very nice.

Oh sorry- I see it was only about food. My bad.


That's okay, I like the idea about the $2 bills for tips.

Tyler's suggestion about staying "loyal" is a good one. I travel a lot, and am "Platinum" with Priority Club because I stay at a lot of Holiday Inn Express hotels. As a result, I often receive a goody bag of snacks in my room, and sometimes a free beverage. I LOVE the free breakfast at Holiday Inn Express, especially the cinnamon rolls. Until I found out how many calories are in them!

Yes, these are good tips!

I personally use alot the free breakfast, skip lunch, go out to dinner approach. Skipping lunch also compensates for all the extra calories in a dinner. You have to be careful with the free breakfast even if you skip lunch or you'll still eat too much.

When traveling with kids, bring/buy a big box of breakfast cereal (cheerios or something). It works for breakfast and fingerfood snacks at random times. I also tend to visit McD's for the kids' lunch at lot when travling--it won't hurt them to eat junk food once in a while, and it is something familiar that they'll eat and be happy with. Also you can save the leftover french fries--they won't spoil and kids will happily eat them later in the afternoon. Also great if you can get a place with a kitchen--just buy some frozen mac n cheese single serve microwave dinners and a gallon of milk and you're set for many child-based food cravings, which always seem to occur at odd hours.

For dinner out, I still love the old order a couple appetizers and a salad approach for saving money.

Do banks keep $2bills around?

Do banks keep $2bills around?

They sure do. just ask for them

"Do banks keep $2 bills around?"

Oh yeah! You too could become the "$2 bill guy" at your local branch. the tellers get a kick out of it. I get 50 or so every time I go into the bank. They are the longest production bill in circulation and are still printed today. I'm a big fan. Dont tell too many people about this since it will ruin the uniqueness :)

Great ideas. We bring our own bottled water and scotch as well. I ususally bring singles but often pass them out in pairs anyway. Like your way better, though (I'm being Seinfleidian here) 'Dont the receivers think they are being shorted' That is, that they are only getting a single? Or have you gotten feedback.

Maybe I'll change my name to $2billBill.
PS I promise not to tell anyone our secret.

I pack a soft cooler pretty much everywhere I go. Not only to save money on food, but to eat healthy instead of falling for the usual processed crap that is so convenient and tempting. I take water, old-fashioned oats with a small tupperware bowl (or oatmeal packets), protein powder in baggies or a shaker bottle, fresh and dried fruits, beef jerky, Tahoe Trail Bars, raw almonds, homemade protein bars, etc. When eating at a restaurant, we get salads and share an entree since most restaurant portion sizes are out of control anyway. Alcoholic drinks add up (in cash and in calories) quickly so I pretty much avoid them. I also bring (if driving) gallon jugs of water and just refill stainless steel containers.

Getting a place with a kitchen is big. We actually normally travel asa big group, so we rent a condo unit for several days or even a week. We probably save $500 per family this way, esp since we cook breakfast and dinner ourselves.

We pack sandwiches for the first day and non-perishable snacks for the rest of the week (unless we're going on a cruise...then we just pack a ton of water bottles). I didn't think about it until now, but we don't eat lunch very often either, lol.

Pack 2 small coolers. Fill it with drinks and ice for when on the road. The other with fruit, veggies, cheese, cold cut meats. Load of bread , peanut butter and chips do not need refrigerating. Plan picnic lunches.

Take cereal and breakfast bars for when a hotel does not have a free breakfast. Ya ever travel in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Most hotels are mom and pop places that do not have this FREE breakfast.

Splitting an entree at lunch is also an option.

We did a week of this with a family of 4 and it was not bad at all.

Yeah but Liz your vacation probably involve climbing little hills like Everest, biking the state of Utah, or swimming the English Channel. Mine involve pools and mini umbrellas!

Billv, even if you give them two, you're still under a single $5 bill. I actually got the idea while working in hotels throughout college. $2 bills are more than just money. People get something from it that is greater than purchasing power. Just like a company that might pay less that others but provides awesome perks. Also, Im not tipping a guy $2 when $10+ is expected.

Tyler - LOL! I am a fitness and nutrition freak for sure, but those would be quite a stretch even for me! ;) I just took a mini-vacation to Vegas for the pool specifically and I did just as I described for that. And I love your $2 bill tipping idea!

You vaction like me. I've even taken to renting a cabana --where a young person stops by every half hour asking if we need food , water, or ahem, anther mini umbrella. Yes, the cabana is extra, but worth it to my bride and me.

Funny, about your mentioning about 2 2's being cheaper than the five that sometimes give. Never thought once that you left 2's when more was expected. If the service is decent I tend to be a 20% er, more if it's good. An easy tip guide (I expect you know this Tyler): find out the sales tax an then double or triple it as necessary. EG, if the tax is 10% if you double you have your 20. If 8 and you doulble you are at 16 etc., etc.

I try to keep to eating 3 meals, but do try to pack snacks to save money. Convenience purchases add up considerably over a few days. Besides, its easier to eat healthy when you have some control over things. Easier to control snacks, more transportable and can last for days.

Is it just me? A major part of all my vacations is trying all the great local restaurants and makes up a big part of my travel budget when I go to a new place.

BW - my wife and I share your thoughts, for dinner at least. We always try to be somewhat reasonable for lunch, but like to try out places for dinner, get a decent bottle of wine, etc., although we do not go crazy and break the bank on it.

Liz - I am intrigued about the homemade protein bars. Do you get the recipes from the internet?

We have found that taking water is a huge cost saver. We can get 9 liters of water from the grocery store for the price of a half liter from a convenience store (generally speaking, tap water is not very good in Europe). We carry half liter bottles, but fill up with bigger bottles from our room. And whenever we have a place with a fridge we always hit up the grocery store at our destination, not a corner convenience store because their prices are generally outrageous. We have always found that the 10 extra minutes it takes to find the local grocery store is time well spent, and $$ saved.

Places with free breakfast are my favorite, although I think my wife is getting sick of me asking if there is free breakfast whenever we book a hotel. European breakfast is generally a lot of rolls and coldcuts, and I have even seen backpackers who make sandwiches for lunch at breakfast. 2 meals for the price of none is a great deal in my opinion.

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