Saturday, June 30, 2012

10 Travel Tips So You Don’t Break the Bank or the Scale!

We recently returned from an 8 day and 7 night trip to Las Vegas.  This was not a vacation we had been saving for over a long period of time, so we didn’t really have a large budget for this trip.  We also have 4 kids and a business to fuel, so our priorities are not really on splurging for ourselves.  This trip only cost us $313 in food and drinks, in Vegas!!!  The $313 is a total that includes the cost of all food and drink items purchased on the trip, while traveling and in preparation for the trip! We had an amazing trip and we didn’t gain any weight!  My waist measurement went up ¼” but was right back down after being home for a day.  It is crazy though, that I literally missed our home cooked meals and abundance of veggies.  I craved them!  But anyway, this is how we made it through Vegas on a budget and while keeping our health in check.

1. Get your mind right!  Realize that food or dinning out is not a reward.  The trip, the experiences, and your time together are your reward or your treat!  You eat to fuel your body not to make you feel happy.  Budget your spending before you leave for the trip, when you are still thinking clearly and not in la la vacation land.  If you can’t afford to eat a $150 steak dinner, don’t eat a $150 steak dinner!  You can cook one just as good if not better when you get back home and spend about $15-20….put a little low fat blue cheese on top, with a baked sweet potato and some asparagus and a spinach salad…mmm…but I digress… J  If you want to spend the money why not do it on something fun instead of food? Go to a show or an outdoor activity or street shopping!  There are plenty of people in vacation spots, just waiting to take your money if you want to spend it!

2. Plan Ahead! Make it at home and pack it! 
We made a double batch of protein bars* (24) a couple of days before leaving, cost $5.  We had about 16 left and took them with us.  This gave us each a protein bar for snack each day for only $3.35. Since getting back, I have found this great recipe for granola bars/cereal that you could easily and cheaply make at home and pack too. 

$3.35 for 16 Homemade Protein Bars
$64 for 16 protein bars at the convenience corner at the mgm $4 each x 16

1,424 calories in 8 homemade protein bar
1,840 average calories in 8 protein bars purchased

We also brought tea bags.   Nate and I drink black tea daily as our source of caffeine!  We also drink a detox tea in the mornings.  We packed both of these things, cost $2.50.  This saved us from buying coffee each day, because in Vegas apparently you don’t even get coffee pots in the room.  We boiled water in our portable steamer, that we happened to have brought with us, and then just steeped the tea in the glasses in the room or our travel cups that we also packed. We carried our tea in our travel cups to our meetings throughout the day.

$2.50 for 8 days of morning tea, brewed in our room.
$48 for 8 days of coffee purchased average $3 each x 8 days x 2 people

0 Calories in Black Tea, if we sweeten we us Stevia in the Raw (all natural)
0 calories in a plain coffee, however you could get as much as 440 calories if you ordered something like a Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha. For 8 days that would be 3,520 calories. That is more than 1 pound!

3. Hit up the grocery store on day 1!  On this trip we stayed at a fabulous hotel that really wanted our money, so they put no fridge in the room!  There of course was also no microwave or any way to cook anything.  So, we had to keep that in mind when picking up food for the week, we had a rental car, so we went to WalMart.  There were grocery stores near the hotel but since we had a car we went a couple miles down the road to hit up the cheapest place.  We spent about $25.  We bought, a bag of apples, a bunch of bananas, a loaf of whole wheat bread, a loaf of whole wheat raisin bread, a jar of natural peanut butter, a bag of plain almonds, a box of whole wheat crackers, a case of water bottles and Styrofoam cooler to keep the waters cold, while we were out in the desert.   This food took the place of our breakfast and two of our snacks each day!

$25 for 14 breakfasts, 30 snacks, and 24 water bottles.
$482 for 14 breakfasts ($18 each), 30 snacks ($4 each), 24 water bottles ($4 each).

4,375 average calories each of us consumed over our 7 breakfasts & 15 snacks
36,750 average calories each of us would have consumed over our 7 breakfast buffets & 15 snacks if we had purchased food around our hotel and training. Average amount of calories consumed at a breakfast buffet is 4,500!!!

We did buy one breakfast each and one snack each, which is why the numbers 14 breakfast instead of 16 and 30 snacks instead of 32.  We typically eat 3 snacks per day, one we discussed earlier was a homemade protein bar.  The numbers for purchased food and snacks is very liberal!  The breakfast buffet at the hotel was on special for $17.95 per person and a room service breakfast was $29 per person!  The bottles of water at some of the functions run by our company were $5, but I did see them other places for $4.

4. Take your Shakeology for lunch or breakfast!  We used our Shakeology for lunch as we do every other day of our lives.  And thank you Beachbody for our Shakeology, because my body was certainly craving veggies and nutrients on this trip since we were not able to cook and eat like we typically do.  We typically get our Shakeology in the big bag, because it is less costly that way, so we zip locked bagged it with the scoop and packed it, so we didn’t have to take our big bag.  This is how we typically travel with it.  When we were going to be out and about during the day, we put the powder in our Shakeology cups and either packed a water bottle for it or used a water fountain if they were around.  Just add water and shake. Lunch is served! J  Coach cost of Shakeology is $3 per meal.

$42 for 14 Shakeology lunches
$280 for 14 purchased lunches

1,120 calories in 7 days of Shakeology
10,500 calories in 7 days of purchased lunches

Again, these numbers are very liberal!  I used $20 average lunch cost.  The sandwich shop and fast food were the only not OUTRAGIOUS places to eat nearby and the cost for lunch started at $12 at those places.  There were plenty of restaurants that had lunches for $100 per person!  As far as the calories average was about 1500 per lunch meal!

5. Split a plate when you do go out!  We did have to eat dinner out every night!  We also ate out one lunch, one breakfast and one snack.  We ordered off the menu each time and did not eat at any of the crazy buffets! Why would you?  Have you EVER left a buffet feeling glad you did that?  We haven’t!  And we have done it enough times that we finally learned our lesson!  If you are cheap like us, you always feel like you have to get your money’s worth when you go.  Anyway, we picked a couple Mexican places, because generally you can find meals consisting of beans, tomatoes, lettuce and tortillas.  To stay as healthy as possible we stuck with lean meats, turkey, chicken or fish and as many veggies as possible for sides.  We noticed that a lot of people were bringing out plates of leftovers and so Nate and his muscular and hungry self agreed that we would split a plate and order an appetizer.  We were stuffed! We continued to do that at each place we went.  And if they brought out bread or chips, well score one for us because then no appetizer needed!   Our total cost of eating out 7 dinners, 1 lunch, 1 breakfast and 1 snack was $189! Here is another article to help when going out to eat.   Dine Out Without Diving Off Your Diet

6. Don’t do fast food!  I mean you guys already know this, but even we were tempted, because we couldn’t cook our own food and we didn’t want to spend a fortune just to eat, but don’t do it!  Resist the temptation, your body will thank you!  Did you know that the FDA only requires food establishments “meat” to only be 40% actual meat!!!  You can instead go to a nice restaurant and share a meal and keep it under $20, if you are careful about where you go.  Look at the outside menu before going inside.  If they don’t have prices on the outside, go somewhere else.

7. If you want to drink alcohol, do it in your room before heading out!  Take it with you or buy it when you get there and mix your own drinks before heading out!  If we drink, it is typically Vodka (lowest calorie).  We just mix it with black tea or crystal light lemonade. Quick, easy and cheap!  We bought a 1.5 liter of Vodka for $20 and packed it to go with us.  However, one night we bought one drink each at the bar, totaling $22!!!  And one night Nate bought one beer at the bar, $7!!!  Those three drinks cost more than 1.5 liter of Vodka, which we drank off of all week and shared with friends!! 

8. Exercise!  Go dancing or do other activities that involve moving around.  Most hotels have a gym, you can hit it up for a workout one or two mornings or pack your favorite Beachbody workout and do it right in your room.  Always take the stairs, unless you have luggage or little kids/strollers. You would be surprised how MANY stairs you come in contact with while travelling and how FEW people are on them.  Be one of those few people, they are all fit I bet you!  On this trip, we did not have the kids with us and enjoyed going out dancing a couple of nights.  Ummm…4 hours of non-stop shakin’ our booties=a billion calories burned!  We also made it a point to do the stairs and workout a couple of days too!  On this trip we got to work out with some of our favorite famous Beachbody trainers, like Shaun T, Tony Horton, and Chalene Johnson!

9. Don’t take a cab. Rent a car!  We had several places away from the hotel that we wanted to visit. So, we rented a car 3 of the day we were there.  We were able to rent the car for taxes and all about $20 per day.  A cab ride from the airport (3 miles) was $20!  This also really enabled us to travel to some of the less touristy areas, which were the most enjoyable on our trip.  BONUS: Those places typically don’t have the up cost to them like the tourist places do.

10. If you are going to gamble, set a limit and consider it entertainment. Don’t expect to win.  Play the penny slots and you can get the excitement of playing a lot without spending a lot.  We spent $8 and were entertained for nearly an hour.  We walked away with $8 less than we went in with, but we had fun!

We hope this helps, as we know that it can be very difficult to travel and stay fit!  Don't forget to HAVE FUN!!!!!  Feel free to comment and share any tips that you have found helpful as well! 

*register for a copy of the e-cookbook for this recipe! It is free!  You can do at the top left of your screen.

No comments:

Post a Comment