Have you ever heard of Amazon Prime Now?
Maybe the better question is what is Amazon Prime Now?
Amazon Prime Now is a fresh grocery delivery service – like shopping at your grocery store, but on Amazon instead. Then, when you are done, you checkout and Amazon delivers your shopping trip right to your door within 1-2 hours.
So now you may wonder why anyone would pay an extra amount (see below) to have groceries delivered to you. Read below for a solution we found that actually saved us a lot of money – even considering the included tip – compared to all the other options available to us. And yes, you do need to have an Amazon Prime membership to use Amazon Prime Now.
We have had an amazing and blessed time the past couple of months.
In August, we had the opportunity to visit Universal Studios Orlando for a family blogger event. We shared about this trip in this article HERE and will be sharing follow-up tips for travelers on a budget.
Then, Alex was sent to Washington D.C. for work just last week. I have wanted to go to D.C. since I was a kid, so when I heard he was going, I quickly determined that all I really needed was a plane ticket since the hotel was covered. Our eldest two girls also wanted to go, so they bought their plane tickets and we took care of the rest, which was just food since the sites were free. We had posted announcing our trip and asking for all your best tips to maximize the trip in this article – and thank you for all the awesome suggestions!
That brings me to this article! In both Orlando and in Washington D.C., we came up with a food budget and plans. When we vacation, we generally plan to eat one meal out per day. It’s often a healthier fast food type of situation, Subway being our go-to, but the other meals, we try to “pack” our food.
That means that we generally eat breakfast in our room and pack a lunch to take with us.
Most all of our vacations are road trips, which allows us to pack a cooler with food from home. Most hotels we have stayed at also include a breakfast of some kind.
But the Orlando and D.C. trip were exceptions. We flew to both destinations (being from the Rocky Mountain West, that would be quite a road trip!), and both hotels did not include breakfast.
Because we didn’t have a rental car in either location, we would have the expense of taking an Uber or Lyft over to the grocery store and try to bring everything back to the room by carrying it. It would not be super easy, and the cost of the Uber or Lyft would have to be considered.
That’s when we discovered that the Amazon Prime Now is one of the BEST resources for frugal food options while on vacation.
I mention “while on vacation” because we have known about the Amazon Prime Now for a couple of years in select cities, where you can order fresh food and groceries online and Amazon will deliver them to your home in an hour or two. But you have to pay a tip. It’s not a frugal option/replacement for you just driving to your local grocery store and doing your normal shopping. However, on super busy occasions, it could be a blessing at home too.
However….while on vacation…. it is perhaps one of the most frugal food solutions if you don’t have a car or grocery store nearby.
We have done this twice now – once in August and once in September. When we shopped our local Amazon Prime Now, we found the prices to be very comparable to physically shopping at a grocery store. We were able to buy bread, peanut butter, jelly, fruits, veggies, cereal, milk, coffee creamer (necessity of course!), and pretty much anything!
On our Orlando trip, the main thing was fresh food and water. Buying bottled water in a theme park is ridiculous, but taking your own and refilling is the BEST way to do it. But you can’t pack bottled water when you fly. You can’t reasonably pack fresh food and milk either.
For our Orlando trip, I actually did pack an entire suitcase of non-perishable foods from home. This includes snacks, granola bars, cereal, crackers, popcorn, etc. So for Orlando, all we needed was water, fruit and milk to supplement our breakfasts. Most of our meals outside of breakfast were provided by the blogger event, which was a huge blessing.
For our Washington D.C. trip, we didn’t pack any breakfast foods, but just some snacks like granola bars, etc. as we had planned to get all of our breakfast and lunch foods, plus 3 cases of water through Amazon Prime Now.
Did we mention it’s a FREE service?
This is what is fantastic! As an Amazon Prime member, this is a FREE service! YES, FREE!!
This is also just another great benefit of owning an Amazon Prime membership. The prices are really decent, sure not as good as your normal shopping at your home grocery store, but very reasonable and comparable for not having to leave your hotel room. In addition to food, you can order pretty much ANYTHING that you need. We forgot a couple of toiletry items and ordered these. Also, Alex broke his mouse from accidentally dropping it before we left home. He needed it for work, so we also bought an Apple mouse on our order and it arrived in an hour with the rest of our groceries! It was awesome! I have thought about this for playpens. We have stayed at hotels that charge $10 a night for a crib. If you are in a spot for more than 4 nights, a better option might be the $39 playpens from Amazon and have them delivered to your door! I haven’t done this, but it is an option too! Just thinking outside the box to save in every way, especially with this Amazon Prime Now service at our fingertips in this big cities and vacation spots.
When we have gotten our groceries, Amazon Prime Now does this amazing thing where the fresh produce and cold items are put in a paper bag, lined with insulated cooler and ice packs to keep everything cold. Both times, our groceries were super cold when they were delivered. Most hotel rooms have refrigerators, so this has been an uber convenient option.
The only extra expense for Prime members is a tip for your delivery person. This is a mandatory/automatic charge to your bill. It looks like the minimum tip is $5 no matter the size of your order. If your order is over $50, the tip is automatically calculated at 10% of the bill. So basically, whatever you order, it is going to be 10% more. They will deliver to the front desk of the hotel, not your hotel room (at least the two times we have done this) and then it is loaded onto a luggage cart. In Orlando, the front desk called us and we picked it up ourselves in the lobby. In Washington D.C., the bellman delivered it to our room and unloaded the luggage cart without us expecting that and so we also gave him a $5 tip.
However, this is completely worth it in every way, including the cost of the tips! To get to the grocery store by foot or by Uber/Lyft would cost more and it would take a good chunk of time out of the vacation schedule, not to mention the impracticality of carrying cases of water back to your room!
The Amazon Prime Now service will also pickup restuarant food and deliver it to you – whether that is at home or at a hotel. We didn’t try this service, but we imagine that it’s similar in that you order the food you want from any local restaurant listed and they will deliver for free, with the cost of a tip! This is yet another way to save when those hotel restaurants are super pricey! Perhaps will can give this option a try one day too!
What if I don’t have a Prime Membership, what can I do?
If you are going on vacation and want to have fresh food options that will be cheaper than most of the options at your vacation spot, plus delivered to you, you can just do a free 30-trial of Amazon Prime HERE, which will allow you to use this service while on vacation without being a full prime member.
Save big money
In the end, because of this amazing service, we saved big money on our trips with the food and water delivery. We enjoyed our cereal for breakfast and our sandwiches for lunch, while enjoying a meal out a day!
Food can be one of the most expensive parts of a trip, especially if you are in a big city, so finding ways to cut this cost is a big blessing.
Have you tried Amazon Prime Now for groceries, stuff, or restaurant delivery? It’s not available in every area, mostly the big cities, which is another reason it is a great option for travelers and vacationers in these big cities.