Tips for eating out
Food accounts for a major portion of travel expenses and kids when hungry cannot wait to eat. There are ways to avoid heavy hits on the budget such as always eating out at restaurants.
Breakfasts can be eaten in your room since most motels have refrigerators. Simply packing cereal, milk, yogurt, juice, fruit, plastic utensils and paper plates will make for a fine breakfast while in pajamas.
A great splurge can be a breakfast buffet or Sunday brunch where kids favorites are the favored menu: pancakes, syrups, waffles, French toast, bagels, muffins, fruit salad in addition to more elaborate local cuisine.
Spontaneous picnics are a winner with all ages and you will relish the casual etiquette free of worrying about spills and such. You can picnic almost anywhere: a grassy park, along a hiking trail, near a stream, on a train, or at the beach. Even at sunset a beach-side picnic can be a great supper and all picnics are very easy on the budget.
Shopping for picnics is fun. You can cater for everyones different taste and supermarkets deli sections can often make sandwiches. All the fixings for a great picnic are there: sushi, roast chicken, salads,chips, cookies, cold drinks plus you can cut up fresh fruit, celery, and carrots.
If a delicatessen is located nearby, that is a quick solution where you can get sandwiches ready to go. If distance from any shopping is an issue, ask if your hotel arranges picnics as hotel restaurants are often equipped to provide that.
A neat luggage tip: bring a lightweight nylon/vinyl tote bag as your ‘food bag’ that you can carry all your food supplies in. It can be easily wiped clean of spills etc.
Snacks and treats – Taking frequent breaks is recommended both for kids and also for adults to recoup ones energies. Snacks are then perfect for this pause. This is especially true in the afternoons when one wouldn’t want to embark on a monumental museum tour without a snack break first. These are ideal opportunities to sample the local vendors faire.
Healthy eating – balancing out the healthy nutritious food vs. the inevitable ‘fast’ food and sweets is a must. Yogurt and juice are great and and even smoothies are often available at ice cream shops.
Picky eaters – encourage them to be adventurous as the different surroundings may stimulate enthusiasm to try the unusual. Seek out food courts or country markets where diverse kiosks can offer a wide range of choices at a reasonable cost. Los Angeles’ Farmers Market and New Yorks Grand Central Terminal food court are very long standing examples of this.
Splurge Dining – Eating at an upscale restaurant in an unfamiliar city is a good change of pace providing one knows what ‘type’ of cuisine is served and for whom. If it is a restaurant for intimate couples and tables for two as in a bistro, this would not be a good choice.
If you shop around and come across any ‘children’s menu’ you know you have hit the mother-lode. With advance scouting, calling around and possibly making reservations, this splurge can definitely be a memorable gem of your trip.
Some upscale restaurants will modify the portions if requested for the kids even if they do not advertise a kids menu. Consider in your scouting asking if they will do half portions of the entre’s for the kids. If they seem offended, you are definitely in the wrong territory.
Yet many high-end restaurants welcome and like kids– to the extent the waiters will even cut the steaks for the kids! So inquiry is crucial to find and receive good service.