This is all my own opinion, and while the vehicle was provided, we were not asked to write about the vehicle.
As you know any traveling can be quite expensive, add in a family of 5, 6, or 7 as we did and it has to be planned and budgeted out or the expenses can skyrocket. Is it possible to actually take a vacation with a large family, have fun and eat well? I can tell you it is, but there are a few key pieces you want to consider when attempting to plan food, family and driving!My most recent trek to Florida with our whole family has put me in the driver’s seat to savings and we had a great time, while not killing our budget. I can tell you how to get around Florida with great gas mileage and how to shop for great food without over-spending.
While we worked our way around the Sunshine State we drove a KIA Sorento, which had about 21 MPG. We found this to be very fuel-efficient and we did not have to spend our time needlessly at the gas stations when we could be enjoying the pool or the parks.
As for food, dining and all meals, while it is great to be on vacation, dining out for every meal becomes expensive and food repetitive as most restaurants are offering the same foods over and over but you want what you are familiar with. If you are traveling with kids or grandparents you well know this story. Our kids love certain veggies as they dine on them at home, and they don’t like how they are prepared in the restaurant so they want to taste what they are familiar with. As far as grandparents, you know your parents, they all are pretty much into their daily lives and habits and while dining out is fun they still want some regiment and familiarity. Our challenges were solved quite easily with a few stops to the grocery store. Our biggest challenge was that ALDI does not have itself in the GPS world, so we had to scout it out and plug it in. No problem for us, because the KIA Sorento had a great navigational system that got us all over the place.
We went about 5 miles away from our house and visited our ALDI and I learned that our KIA had a great Cargo feature, a net that let me place, my wines and berries in it to keep them from tumbling. The fold down seats let us stack the car up with food and that made our trip to the store even easier.
As for shopping: don’t get fancy or too adventurous, go where you know, shop for what you are familiar with and then you won’t overspend. ALDI is pretty much the same, store-to-store other than we can’t get our hands on the Winking Owl in Pittsburgh. We shopped here because I could run through the store in about 10 minutes picking up everything we needed in aisles that I already was familiar with and brands that we already used. See, it is best to shop where you know then you can squeeze every minute of vacation into your time rather than letting it roll away on the checkout belt. Shopping ALDI is the perfect way to save money when you are vacation food shopping. The prices on their wine will have you filling up that glass of vino for less than .50 a glass and the Merlot is amazing(I know, I buy it by the case).
I kept things nice and easy, breakfast was: ALDI breakfast sausage patties, eggs, hash-browns and OJ. A pizza from their refrigerated section served as a great snack and we bought bananas, strawberries and all kinds of juice for the kids to enjoy while swimming. We prepared snacks for the parks and all the while maintained GF and nut free dining for our kids with allergens.
Be smart, shop smart and visit your local ALDI while you vacation. ALDI’s will have you saving big on food while delivering big, home-cooked smiles in no time!