For me, the biggest expense when traveling is food. I love trying new restaurants, but this can get expensive, especially in the U.S.
Luckily there are ways to save a huge amount of money, while supporting local businesses. Before choosing a restaurant to dine at, see if you can get a restaurant coupon or a restaurant gift certificate. There are two great sources in the U.S. for getting restaurant gift certificates at super cheap prices.
photo credit: Beau B
Restaurants.com is an amazing source for steeply discounted gift certificates. Normally prices are $10 for a $25 gift certificate and $3 for a $10 gift certificate. But they frequently have sales allowing you to get a $25 gift certificate for just $2.
(This includes a promotion that ends today. Use this link and coupon code to take 80% Off with every order of $25 Gift Certificates with code LUCKY and pay $2 thru 4/30/09.)
If you’re going to be visiting a new city (or even want to try a new restaurant in your own town), it’s worth choosing a few restaurants before you go and purchasing the gift cards through Restaurants.com.
Many local restaurants participate, including two of my favorites in Washington, D.C. — Meskerem (Eithiopian food) and Alero (Mexican food). To search for local restaurants enter the zip code or city/state of where you’re searching.
Another place to purchase gift certificates at a discount is at Costco. Costco carries national brands–like Caribou coffee and McCormick and Schmick’s– but I have also seen local restaurants’ gift cards Costco.
On Costco’s website they sell $100 gift cards to restaurants like Baja Fresh and McCormick and Schmick’s for $80. While not as good of a deal as Restaurants.com, 20% off is still a nice savings. The other downside is that to purchase local restaurants’ gift cards you would have to go to a Costco in the city you’re visiting.
I hope these tips help you explore new restaurants at a fraction of the price.
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