Thursday, July 17, 2014

Money Saving Thursday #2: Eating FREE on Vacation

My family jabs me for not eating "local" when we go on vacation. I love chain restaurants! I know what I'm getting. I don't leave a plate of untouched food so I don't waste money and I don't leave hungry! Plus, local restaurants don't usually hand out free food.

The trick to eating FREE on vacation is joining chain restaurants clubs and using coupons. Many restaurants have clubs but I'm sharing my favs. These restaurants continually prove to me they don't send junk mail!  I receive valuable coupons and you can too! Coupons can be printed or conveniently shown to your server right on your smartphone for redemption. It's that simple!  Below are a list of restaurants with FREE food.

Chilis Email Club More Life Happens Here  
Chili's Email Club Receive a free endless Chips and Salsa with registration. Requires the purchase of one adult entree. You will receive coupons from Chili's 1 to 2 times a week for FREE food options. Their Molten Cakes are to die for plus they have a $20 Dinner for Two that is awesome. Find a Chili's close to your vacation here.

Red Lobster Email Club. Get a free appetizer or dessert with the purchase of two adult entrees. Receive emails for special food events and discount coupons. Find a Red Lobster for your vacation here.

 Image result for arby's logo
Arby's Get Deals. Receive a free roast beef sandwich with the purchase of a drink when you sign up. Arby's is always sending a free coupon for their latest taste crazes too! Find the nearest slicer here.

americas fish fry
Long John Silver's Coupon Club.  Get a free drink for signing up. LJS sends emails about current promotions and deals. For example, they have $1.99 Fish & Fries this week. This is my Dad's favorite place for fish. LJS gives Dad's a FREE meal on Father's Day. Score for Dad and me! Search locations here.

Longhorn Steakhouse
Longhorn Steakhouse eClub. Free appetizer with purchase of adult entree. Receive occasional coupons for free appetizer or dessert. Search for a Longhorn Steakhouse here.

Other perks of these restaurants and clubs:

  •  Serves FREE Water.  Make FREE Lemonade by adding FREE sugar packets and FREE lemon to your FREE water.
  •  Sends FREE birthday coupons so it's sweeter if your vacationers celebrate birthdays in the same month!
  •  Join the clubs with multiple email addresses for more FREE stuff.
  •  Welcome customers to share food.
  •  No plate charge for sharing food.
  •  Allows customers to eat from the kids menu.

 More tips:

  • 50 or older? Always ask for a senior drink. They are usually FREE or reduced price.
  • The Combination Meals (sandwich, fries & drink) are not always the best value. For example, you can get the same or comparable food individually from the value menu at Wendy's, Burger King and Arby's cheaper than ordering a combo.
  • Dipping sauces. Save your extras on vacation or for vacation. Extra sauces are .25 each.
  • Check your local newspaper for chain restaurant coupons like Steak n Shake and McDonald's. McDonald's has Buy One Get One FREE coupons a lot!
  • Pack individual Crystal Light or Koolaid packets to flavor FREE water.
  • 55+?  Look for restaurants that offer reduced senior pricing like IHOP, Outback Steakhouse (AARP members), Golden Corral, Arby's, Carrabba's Italian Grill (AARP members receive 20% off) and Applebee's.
  • Save 25% at Papa Johns on pizza when ordering online. Use coupon code AARP25
  • Take advantage of the kids menu whenever possible 
  • Pack some sandwich food and have a picnic at a rest area
I hope these offers help reduce the food costs of your vacation. You can use these same tricks all year for eating out with the fam. Leave me a comment and share your favorite food deal on vacation.

Like these tips? Make sure you don't miss another Money Saving Thursday, join this site or sign up by email. Scroll down and look on the right side of the page to see how!

Getting hungry writing this,
The Happy Handicap


  1. Great suggestions! I love eating at chain restaurants when on vacation as well, there are usually no awful surprises. I also use retailmenot app on my phone to get coupons that can be used right in the restaurants as well. Thanks for sharing this wonderful information.

    1. Thanks for the retailmenot app suggestion. I have it but never use for food! I'm happy to know I'm not the only chainy out there. Thanks for stopping by!

      The Happy Handicap