The economy may not be doing well, but that is not stopping people from eating out at restaurants when they are on vacation.
It takes thought and planning when it comes to cutting the high cost of dining, however. When I dine out, I find most of the meals are big enough for two people. For example, take my cousin and his wife, with whom we visited, in Phoenix. They were dining out at nice places all the time - two or three times per week. They shared a salad and an entree, had two glasses of Chardonnay and spent ½ of what we spent for essentially the same thing for the two of us. We could not take home our left overs since we were out of town. Consider too, in a lot of places the size of a lunch meal is almost the same size as dinner but for about 60% less.
On our trip to Italy between September and October, we ate very well and for not much money by sharing a meal and getting appetizers. Antipasto, or antipasti means before the meal. Think of it as a first course. But at a lot places we visited, it was often enough for an evening meal substitute. We would often go to a "bar". In Italy a "bar" is a coffee place where they serve coffee, wine, small sandwiches and pastries.
At many of them, when you arrived in the afternoon, they would have a table set up with small appetizers or an antipasto that they served as finger foods to go along with the wine and coffee. Here is a picture I took of a "bar" located in Firenza (Florence), Italy Monty's .
It is easy to spend over €60, about €30 each, on a nice dinner in Italy. That would come to about $90 in US funds depending on the exchange rate. Consider that you can have a pretty good dinner in a "bar" for the cost of a few glasses of wine, and you can see what a bargain it is.
Back in the states you can take a tip from this by sharing a meal with someone else. Also look for meals that include a salad or soup with the price of a meal. One more thing - learn the trick of substitution. Rather that getting a steak, consider getting a steak sandwich or maybe a Philly cheese steak sandwich. I would have them hold the cheese and see if I could substitute salad for the cheese instead.
Olive Garden, Macroni Grill, Outback Steakhouse and others will bring out a loaf of bread with butter or oil. Ask if you can substitute a small dinner salad for that and share it.
Don't forget to check out the coupon web sites like Restaurant.com . Type in a zip code or a state, if you are travelling, and it will shoow you what coupons are available where you are or where you are going.
Until next time, let me know what is on your mind, and how you are doing, O.K.?
Jim Fortune - the Bella Budget Travel Guy