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Tips for Eating with Kids on Vacation

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Relaxing dinners with an ocean view was something I looked forward to when traveling. This was before I traveled with children. Vacation bliss can come to a halt when there is a hungry child and the quaint cafe you could not wait to try has an hour wait. Traveling with children requires planning, compromise and lots of snacks!  Here are my tips for eating with kids on vacation.


If you are traveling for more than a few days, get some groceries. Many cabs or shuttles coming from the airport can make a stop if requested. Some grocery stores will deliver for a small fee. I have used both Safeway and Vons. You can also order online from Amazon or Netgrocer and have them deliver non-perishable items before you arrive. Call the hotel front desk ahead of time and confirm that they will accept packages.

My travel grocery list always includes water, snacks for kids and adults, bread and peanut butter and jelly. It is easy to make sandwiches and have them ready whenever hunger strikes. On a trip to Hawaii, we toured the island during the day, so we packed a lunch every morning and it was so convenient to stop and have a picnic with a beautiful view instead of searching for a restaurant.


Look for a hotel that includes or serves breakfast. Many resorts offer a dining discount for children, or if you are a hotel loyalty member such as Hilton Honors, breakfast can be included. I like knowing that my kids can fill up before we start our day and that I should not hear “I’m hungry” for at least a few hours. If that is not an option you can get some fruit and cereal or granola bars with your groceries.

Lunch and Dinner

Do some research before you travel and see what is recommended or close to where you are staying. I have used applications like CityMaps and FastFood to find restaurants in the vicinity. Or, ask the concierge or front desk for recommendations for good family restaurants nearby. If you are flying, you can use GateGuru to see what food options are in the terminal.

Sometimes it is just not worth it to try to sit down at a restaurant with tired kids. If you have a restaurant that you want to try, see if they will do take out. I have had many relaxing dinners on the balcony in our hotel watching the sun go down. It is a compromise that keeps everyone happy.

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Tricia lives in Phoenix with her husband, 14 year-old daughter and 12 year-old son. She is a special education teacher for elementary students. Her family’s favorite memories…

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