5 Easy Ways To Save Money On Meals

By Kaeli Conforti
January 27, 2022
Family Travel
Courtesy <a href="" target="_blank">caitlinbwdn/myBudgetTravel</a>

Looking to save more money on your next family vacation? I recently chatted with Anne Taylor Hartzell, founder of the family travel website,, to find out about the best ways families can get the biggest bang for their buck—especially when it comes to meals. Here are her five top tips for saving money on your next big trip.

Create a list of favorite restaurants for your destination.
Everyone thinks about the price of airfares, hotels, car rentals, and how much they should spend on activities and attractions, but people sometimes forget to set aside enough money in their vacation budgets for meals. Anne says a good idea is to research the place you're traveling to and create a list of favorite restaurants. That way you can estimate how much you'll really be spending, and you won't be tempted to blow your budget on an impulsive dinner at that fancy restaurant you know is way out of your price range.

Stick to hotels that have in-room kitchens or resort credits you can use towards meals.
Instead of eating at restaurants for every breakfast, lunch, and dinner during your trip, consider booking a hotel room with a kitchenette, visiting the local farmers market or grocery store to make sandwiches for lunch or even cook your own special family dinner. Alternatively, you can scope out hotel deals and packages that include daily breakfast to help cut spending on one meal a day, or look for places that offer resort credits towards meals at the hotel restaurant to offset the cost of dining out every night.

Eat where the locals eat.
Instead of being herded into one of the more touristy restaurants in the town you're visiting, talk to some of the locals and find out where they like to eat. Ask the hotel staff, your tour guide, or even your taxi driver, about their favorite places to eat—not only are you more likely to end up with an affordable meal, but you'll also get to try local specialties and have a more authentic dining experience.

It's okay to splurge...sometimes.
You may be on a budget, but you're also on vacation. Make enough room in your plans for a special splurge—eat at that amazing Italian restaurant everyone's been raving about or treat yourself to a sunset dinner on the beach in Tahiti because, honestly, how often do you get a chance to something like that? It's okay to splurge once in a while, just don't make it a habit or you won't be able to afford your next vacation.

Look up deals and coupons online before you go.
Scour the internet for coupons and meal deals—look for dining vouchers, discounts for activities and attractions on sites like Groupon, LivingSocial, and Travelzoo Local Deals, or seek out coupons for popular restaurants in the place you'll be visiting.

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Travel Tips

12 Hawaiian Words Every Visitor Should Know

This article was written by Kyle Ellison on behalf of There was once a time when it was heavily frowned upon to speak Hawaiian in public. Suppressed by missionaries and western businessmen who were working to supplant the culture, the Hawaiian language was only spoken in the privacy of family and friends. In fact, in the 1970s, it was estimated that fewer than 50 children could fluently speak Hawaiian. In 1978, however, as part of a widespread cultural awakening known as the “Hawaiian Renaissance,” an increased importance was placed on the language and it was surely, but slowly, revived. Along with English, it was once again made an official language for the entire state of Hawaii, and immersion preschools such as Punana Leo began opening in 1984. Today, Hawaiian language courses are offered at universities from the Hawaiian Islands to the mainland, and you can even format a computer and Google to organically search in Hawaiian. And while the overall number of speakers remains small—estimated at approximately 10,000 and growing—it’s a welcome change from the linguistic extinction the Hawaiian language once faced. Though English is still the de facto language of business, commerce, and tourism, Hawaiian words are often interspersed in everyday conversation—so much so that you’re sure to hear a few while enjoying your Hawaiian vacation. Aloha Pronounced (Ah-LOW-hah) Most visitors know that aloha translates as “hello” and “goodbye” in Hawaiian, but there is a deeper meaning to this common phrase that is synonymous with the Hawaiian Islands. The sense of aloha, or spirit of aloha, is prevalent throughout the islands, and a loose translation of this deeper meaning is “to consciously manifest life joyously in the present.” It is the divine power living within all of us, and some even say the “breath of life” at the core of the human spirit. Mahalo Pronounced: (Ma-HAH-low) Mahalo is a word that is written on many of the trash cans throughout the islands. Consequently, there is a bit of confusion that the word mahalo is literally the word for trash. Mahalo is a word that actually means “thank you,” and the signs on trash cans are a way of thanking you for throwing away your trash. More than simply on the front of trash cans, you’ll encounter the word at the exit to buildings or on the lips of many activity agents. It isn’t uncommon to hear locals concluding a purchase with a casual, yet courteous “mahalo,” and it’s an easy yet important Hawaiian word to learn when traveling in the islands. ‘Opala Pronounced: (Oh-PAH-La) This, on other hand, is the real word for trash that you won’t find written on trash cans. Instead you’ll find it on placards and signs saying “mahalo for cleaning your ‘opala,” and it’s highly likely you’ll catch some “stink eye” if you leave your ‘opala on the beach. Mauka/Makai Pronounced: (MOW-ka/Ma-KAI) Even though they’re two separate words, mauka and makai are intrinsically linked since they’re important directional opposites. In the traditional days of ancient Hawaii, the islands were divided into pie shaped slices known as ahupua‘a. These wedges of land ran from the mountainous summits all the way down to the seashore, where to move “ma uka” meant going towards the mountain, and “ma kai” was moving towards the sea. Today, mauka and makai are still heavily used when trying to give directions, as a restaurant that lies on the inland side of the highway is said to be mauka of the highway. Similarly, if you’re walking down a road with buildings on each side, and the water is to your left and the mountains are to your right, a storefront that sits on the ocean side of the road is said to be makai of the road. Forget everything you know about road numbers and highways—it’s all about mauka. Pau Pronounced: (POW) Perhaps more so than any other word, pau is a phrase that regularly infiltrates an English statement or question. Pau is a word that signifies “finished,” and it’s most commonly used when island waiters will ask “are you all pau with that plate?” A variation of the word is the phrase “pau hana,” which signifies the end of as person’s workday. Many island bars will have “pau hana” specials in the hours just before sunset, and it’s an island variation on the traditional “happy hour” that’s found at most mainland bars. Kapu Pronounced: (KAH-Poo) If you plan on doing some hiking in Hawaii, or will be venturing to out of the way places, the word kapu might be the most important word to learn when visiting Hawaii. Before Christianity was accepted in Hawaii in the early 1820s, religious laws that were known as kapu regulated everyday life. Loosely translated as “forbidden” or “illegal,” breaking a kapu—such as allowing your shadow to fall on an ali‘i or harvesting fish out of season—in many cases was punishable by death and was often strictly enforced. Although the kapu system of religious rule was abolished in 1819, signs with the word “kapu” can still be found in rural sections of the islands. The signs today essentially mean “keep out,” or letting hikers or trespassers know that continuing further is forbidden. Unscrupulous travel publications downplay the signs as unauthorized or baseless for visitors, but that’s not the view that’s generally accepted by the majority of the Hawaiian community. If you’re hiking in Hawaii and see a “kapu” sign, it’s best to simply stay out. Keiki Pronounced: (KAY-kee) Families who are traveling to Hawaii with children will do well to learn this word. Keiki is the general term for “children,” and restaurants will feature keiki menus and activities have prices for the keiki. Kokua Pronounced: (Koh-KOO-ah) Kokua is a word that means “to help,” and it’s frequently coupled with the word “mahalo” to form “mahalo for your kokua.” In English, the phrase would translate as “thank you for your compliance,” and it often references not littering or helping to keep an area clean. Wikiwiki Pronounced: (WICK-ee WICK-ee) Wikiwiki means to hurry up! If you’re boarding for a Maui snorkeling tour, and realize you’ve left the sunscreen in the car, the boat staff might tell you “wikiwiki” when you tell them you’re going back to get it. Hana Hou Pronounced: (Hah-na HO) This is a cry most referenced at concerts when the crowd is calling for an encore. Hana hou can translate as “again,” and if a crowd is hungry for another song, boisterous chants of “Hana hou!” will be rained upon the stage. Akamai Pronounced: (Ah-ka-MY) When traveling in Hawaii, if someone calls you “akamai” you should definitely take it as a compliment. Akamai is a word that simply means “smart,” so if you tell a local that you packed lots of jackets for watching sunrise at Haleakala, they might come back with a “ho, akamai ah you?” Ono Pronounced: (OH-no) Ono deserves a special mention since it appears in two different forms. It mostly is found on restaurant menus describing the types of fish, as ono is the word that Hawaiians use for the fish more commonly known as wahoo. It’s the succulent block of grilled white meat at the bottom of your beachside fish taco, and the pointy-face fish you hope springs from the water as soon as you hear “Fish on!” More importantly, however, ono is the word that Hawaiians use to describe a flavorful dish. It can be used in place of “good” or “tasty” and as a positive affirmation, and you know the ono will always be ono whenever it’s ordered in Hawaii. With all these words in your linguistic repertoire, not only will things make a little more sense on your next visit out to the islands, but you can graduate on to more advanced words and phrases, such as humuhumunukunukuapua‘a—the Hawaiian state fish that literally translates as “big lips with nose like a pig.”

Travel Tips

Save Money With 2-For-1 Broadway Tickets

It's my favorite time of year: Broadway Week in New York City, where you can save big on buzz–worthy Broadway shows thanks to 2-For-1 ticket deals on select shows Sept. 7-20. There are 22 shows participating this year and tickets are on sale now through the website. Options this year include Aladdin, Amazing Grace, An American in Paris, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Finding Neverland, Fun Home, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, Hand to God, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, The King and I, Kinky Boots, Les Miserables, The Lion King, Matilda the Musical, Old Times, Spring Awakening, Wicked, and Something Rotten! Also available are discounted tickets for perennial favorites like Chicago, Jersey Boys, and The Phantom of the Opera. Visit this link to book your tickets online starting at 10:30 a.m. on Aug. 19th, and for more information about shows and blackout dates. 

Travel Tips

10 Ways To Actually Stick To Your Travel Budget

This article was written by Jarryd Salem and Alesha Bradford and originally appeared on Yahoo Travel. You’ve worked hard for a few years, diligently saved every cent you could, and now you are ready to start that big travel adventure. The research has been done, flights are booked, and before you know it you’ll be sipping cocktails on a beach with no end date in sight! You’re finally living the dream! But the hard part is far from over. Now you need to learn how to stretch your money as far as possible. Certain parts of the world like Southeast Asia and Latin America are famous for being cheap, but that doesn’t mean it is impossible to spend all your money in only a few weeks. We have been traveling for almost seven years now, and have finally started to figure out the best ways to manage a sustainable budget on the road. But it didn’t come easy. We made a lot of mistakes as we stumbled our way around the world. At one point we even ended up $25,000 in debt—all on credit cards. Yes, we had an incredible time, but most of the debt didn’t come from ticking off bucket-list activities; It came from being careless with our money. After a lot of hard work we managed to get out of debt, save some more money, and get back out into the beautiful world. To help you avoid making the same mistakes, we have put together this collection of our 10 best tips for sticking to a travel budget while you’re out on the road. Keep track of every dollar spent We write down every single dollar we spend in a little pocket diary. Every. Single. Dollar. At the end of the week we add up how much we’ve spent and use it to keep track of where our money goes. Doing this helps to keep us focused on our goals and see where we need to improve on ways to stick to our travel budget. Having the numbers in front of you makes it seem real and gives direction in your spending habits. Make a daily travel budget The biggest tip for sticking to your travel budget is to actually have a budget to start with. Work out how long you plan to be away and make a budget to get you through the journey. Then stick to it. Our travel budget in Southeast Asia is $25 a day each. Some days we go over it, but we always make up for this by having a few quiet days to even it out. If you stop caring, then you may run out of money a lot sooner than you wanted to. Related: 12 Countries You Can Visit for Less Than $50 a Day Cut back on the alcohol Don’t get us wrong, we love a drink or two. But alcohol will cut deep into your travel budget. For example, the average cost of a beer in Southeast Asia or Latin America is about $1.50 (give or take). If we have five beers each every night of the year, that works out to be $5,460 annually. That’s nearly 30 percent of our yearly travel budget! We do love a night out every now and then, but through lots of experience, we have learned that travel is much more fun without a hangover. Travel slowly Slow travel has a lot of benefits, but the one we are focusing on now is that it saves you a lot of money. Staying in one place for an extended period of time allows you to work out where the cheapest places to eat and drink are. Depending on your bartering skills, you might also be able to make a deal with your accommodation and get a better price for a week-long stay. Once settled, you’ll no longer need to take transportation every other day, which can really cut into a traveler’s budget. What’s more, you’ll get the chance to take a few rest days when you don’t go to museums or check out awesome tours. This means you can relax by the beach or go for a walk, enjoying the downtime by doing some free activities. Trust us, the slower you travel, the less you spend. Catch public transportation If the locals do it, why shouldn’t you? Using public transportation can be one of the biggest fears for first-time travelers to developing countries, but 99 percent of the time the local buses or trains are great. Not only are they really cheap compared to taxis or tourist buses, but they can be very entertaining and culturally eye-opening. There’s nothing quite like sharing your seat with a local family of four, their luggage, and a goat to get you up close and personal to a different way of life. Sure it might be a bit less comfortable than taking a private car, but it’ll help with your budget—and your experience. Embrace the public transport, or if you are really adventurous, try hitchhiking. Eat where the locals eat The locals usually know where the best and cheapest food is, whether it is street food, a hole-in-the-wall eatery, or a sit-down restaurant. If a place has a crowd you can almost guarantee it will be good. Western-style meals in third-world countries are usually expensive and very rarely as tasty as what you can get at home. Don’t avoid the local food just because you think you may get sick. Fancy restaurants and street vendors all buy their food from the same markets. So if the locals are eating there, it is probably safe. Related: Designer Hostels That Only Look Expensive Stay In cheap accommodations Accommodations are usually the biggest day-to-day cost of any traveler’s expenses. In many countries dropping a few hundred dollars a night on a nice hotel room is very easy to do. Instead, choose small locally run guesthouses or homestays, or find cheap hotels on the edge of town. In many countries these inexpensive accommodations are pretty clean and comfortable, and they offer the basic necessities—a bed, running water, and a door. Really, what more do you need? To help keep your costs down, you could also try CouchSurfing, but remember CouchSurfing isn’t just about free accommodation. Shop at the markets If you are looking to buy  anything from fresh fruit to souvenirs or new clothes, local markets are the place to go. The stalls usually have far lower overheads than stores do, and as a result their products are cheaper. If your accommodations have a kitchen, or you travel with a portable stove, you can buy all your meat and vegetables from the markets to cook yourself. Two great travel budget tips in one! Don’t buy things you don’t need This should be obvious, but you’ll be surprised how hard it is to not buy that funky trinket or those custom-made shoes as you travel along. If you are only on a short holiday, then go for it. But if you are planning on being on a long-term adventure, seriously consider holding off on any impromptu purchases. If it is something you have always wanted, then that is a different story. But if we had bought every single wood carving and painting we liked, we would be broke. Plus, we would need a truck to carry all the extra gear! For souvenirs we collect small denominations of money from every country—takes up far less room and sometimes only costs five or ten cents. Related: 7 Cheap and Chic Beaches You’ve Never Heard of…Until Now Don’t give up! Sticking to a travel budget is hard work, but don’t lose sight of your goal. After a few months on the road staying in basic accommodations, it can be very tempting to go out and splurge on a fancy hotel room and a five-course meal. To be honest, sometimes you deserve it. Just don’t make it a regular occurrence. The longer we’ve been on the road the more we appreciate how far we can stretch our money. Chances are you will never remember that great night’s sleep you had in a $200-a-night hotel, but you will definitely remember forking out only $10 on a room so you could spend $190 on a once-in-a-lifetime activity. Long-term travel is hard, and so is sticking to a budget. The rewards however, are always worth it. 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Travel Tips

Orbitz's 7-day sale: Save 20 percent instantly

If you're looking for an affordable hotel stay sometime soon (and who isn't these days?), consider Orbitz's seven-day sale, which started today. Use promo code 20HOTEL, and you'll save 20 percent off your entire booking, no matter how many nights. I found a $44 per room per night rate at a San Francisco Travelodge (close to the airport, but still a good deal) with the discount. Book by Jan. 18 (this Sunday) for travel through Apr. 30, 2009. The 20 percent discount is good only on hotel stays&mdash;not vacation packages. Also new at Orbitz is Deal-O-Rama. On the 1st and 15th of every month, Orbitz will post new regional deals, offering a 10 percent discount on hotel stays or $75 off a three-night vacation package. The current deals are for California. PREVIOUSLY Orbitz to automatically refund customers if airfare drops Evaluating Orbitz's policy to refund travelers when fares drop