Today's post is about saving on food, drink and other costs.
I guess that saving on food seems fairly obvious; just take a packed lunch. I often find this difficult in the rush to get everyone ready and out of the house, along with leaving food for those who aren't coming on the trip. Yes, we usually do take a packed lunch and I'm probably the queen of uninspired picnics. However, an alternative is to stop somewhere to buy a baguette, cheese, tomatoes and fruit. OK, not quite as cheap but not far off and very quick!
Please do comment with suggestions for other quick, cheap, on the go lunches. Creating exciting picnics isn't my forte.
Children seem to become especially hungry on trips. I've learned to take more than I think that we will need. A packet of rice cakes, bag of fruit or packet of crisps and more can easily disappear on the way home from a day trip.
Occasionally, eating has to be a special part of the trip. Some time ago, we took fairly frequent foot passenger crossings to France for the day. Eating French food was part of the experience and we didn't take our own food.
The end of a day out is tiring and it isn't always easy to find the energy to prepare a meal on return. The simplest way to manage this and avoid buying an expensive meal out, is to prepare in advance. A casserole in the slow cooker or another meal ready prepared at home saves time and money.
When a visit will involve being away for more than one meal, it is worth careful planning. Can a second meal be carried in a cool box or is there somewhere cheap and cheerful to buy a meal? This usually means either going to a supermarket or sometimes, fish and chips. Do remember that portions of fish and chips are often very generous and it probably isn't necessary to buy one portion per person, except for teenage boys!
Drinks are much less expensive if taken from home. OK, I can't say I've never enjoyed a National Trust coffee but generally, we take water bottles and coffee in a thermos. In the summer, one water bottle per person is often not sufficient and it is worth taking a few extra litres from home. The saving from taking drink can be several pounds per trip.
Many venues will have a shop full of interesting and generally, highly priced items. It can be very tempting to buy the children a small bar of chocolate, only to discover that it is 7-8 times the price of a basics bar from the supermarket. I try to deter children from spending their pocket money on plastic trinkets although sometimes buying these and discovering their poor enduring value is part of the learning process.
We do buy postcards for journals and occasionally, guide books.
Please do share your thoughts on saving on trips.