Free Food for Frugal Families

by  Paul Eisenberg | Jul 6, 2010
Family packing for vacation
Family packing for vacation / Halfpoint/iStock

You almost have to go out of your way these days to find a mid-range hotel that doesn’t offer free breakfast, especially if that hotel is a Marriott. The Residence Inn, Fairfield Inn & Suites, Springhill Suites, and TownePlace Suites are among the Marriott brands offering free breakfasts this summer for weekend stays. Likewise, the Marriott Courtyards continue their reasonable “Stay for Breakfast” rate this summer that for weekend stays includes breakfast for up to two adults and children ages 12 and under. Gravy for both deals: free gift cards. Residence Inn and company are including a $20 Target gift card per room, per stay, and the Courtyard deal provides for up to $40 in Visa gift cards per stay. It would be nice if you could procure and use the gift cards during your vacation, but in both cases the cards will be mailed to you a few weeks after you check out.

Theoretically, breakfast ought to be your most plentiful meal, on vacation or otherwise, but if your brood is like mine it’s also the meal where they’re the most distracted and least likely to refuel. Which is why Marriott’s family summer fun resort package is exceptional – it goes beyond breakfast. Up to four children ages 12 and younger registered to the same room will eat free off the kids’ menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner at participating Marriott resorts – use promotional code FML. At least one adult in that party must order an entrée off the regular menu for the deal to take effect. One of the nicer features of this deal is that it’s valid any day of the week and doesn’t require a minimum stay.

In the realm of free and reduced-price food, keep an eye on Groupon, a daily deal site that offers discounts for city attractions beyond food. If you hit it on the right day, you can save plenty off a restaurant check.

For many U.S. cities as well as parts of Canada, the Entertainment Book has buy one, get one coupons for restaurant entrées, fast food joints, and various attractions. While I’ve been disappointed with the coupon selection in the New York book over the years, the 2010 edition has pages of good coupons for most of the city’s ice cream places, which would make the book’s purchase worthwhile even if you and your family were visiting for the weekend.

Save big on your entire summer getaway with our Family Travel Deals.

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