Before Your Trip

Ingredients & Easy Meals For Your Vacation

Just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean that you have to compromise on the quality and taste of your food. If you are staying at a rental house, beach house or Airbnb, there are several simple meal options that you can prepare using basic ingredients and kitchen appliances. Our blog post will provide details on the necessary ingredients that you should pack from home as well as the ones readily available at local grocery stores. Additionally, we’ll be sharing some easy recipes and meal planning tips to ensure that your vacation meals are stress-free and enjoyable.

1. Ingredients you should bring from home to your vacation


When preparing for your trip, it is advisable to carry some essential kitchen items with you. This can help you save both time and money particularly if you intend to prepare most of your meals yourself. The following are some ingredients that you may want to bring from home:

  • Herbs and seasonings such as cinnamon, basil, vanilla, and any other preferred ones can be utilized in your culinary creations.
  • Canned goods like black beans, tomato sauce, salsa are some of the pantry essentials that are versatile enough to be used in various dishes.
  • In addition, snacks such as granola bars, trail mix, and other portable options are perfect for enjoying while on the move.

2. Ingredients you should buy on your vacation


Although it’s advisable to carry some ingredients along from your home, it is probable that you would need to purchase some fresh produce and other ingredients upon reaching your vacation spot. The following are a few readily available items you can buy at a nearby grocery store:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables: kale, spinach, sweet potatoes, and other produce that can be used in salads, soups, and other dishes.
  • Meat and seafood: chicken thighs, rotisserie chicken, sausage, ham, and any other meats or seafood that you enjoy.
  • Tortillas: for making tacos, quesadillas, and other easy meals.
  • Bread: for making toast and sandwiches.
  • Snacks: fresh fruit, veggies and dip, and other easy-to-eat snacks.

3. Instant pots


In case you require an appliance that can assist you in preparing fast and effortless dishes, the Instant Pot is your perfect solution. This adaptable machine can be utilized to prepare a wide range of meals such as soups, stews, pasta, and rice dishes. Moreover, it provides a convenient way to cook meals that are satiating and enjoyable, especially when you’re pressed for time. Experiment with making tacos, chili, or spaghetti and meatballs using your Instant Pot for a delectable and simple dinner that everyone will relish.

  • Beef and broccoli: This is a really simple recipe that’s full of protein and veggies. You can serve it with white rice or egg noodles, so it’s perfect for a quick one-dish meal.
  • Indian chicken curry: This is another great one-pot meal. It’s full of spices and flavor, so it’s perfect for getting together a quick Indian meal.

4. Toasts and breads


Toasts and breads are convenient meal choices that can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. With a piece of toast as your foundation, you can add toppings like ham, fried egg, or fresh herbs to create a delicious dish. Making your own bread is also possible at the rental property with the help of a bread machine or an uncomplicated recipe that calls for few ingredients. Additionally, wraps and tortillas are simple alternatives that you can stuff with anything from sausages to vegetables.

  • Avocado toast: Avocado toast is a classic brunch item and a great way to get some healthy fats and fiber in the morning. You can use any bread for this recipe, but sourdough bread works best with avocado.
  • Banana bread: This is a fun twist on banana bread. You can add in some coconut or almonds for a different texture and flavor. You can also add some chocolate chips for a sweet treat.

5. Salads


Salads are an ideal choice for those seeking a nourishing and satisfying meal that can be prepared in no time with minimal cooking. One can incorporate fresh greens like spinach and kale, introduce protein by including grilled chicken breasts or canned black beans, and garnish with a dressing of their choice. Moreover, one can experiment with leftovers from previous meals to create unique and appetizing salad combinations. For instance, leftover rotisserie chicken can be incorporated into a taco salad, while cooked sweet potatoes can add flavor to a kale salad.

  • Asian chicken salad: This salad has a little bit of everything. It’s an Asian-inspired salad with a tangy dressing. You can use chicken or tofu as the protein in this salad and add some edamame beans to bulk up the dish.
  • Bacon and blue cheese salad: This salad has a rich and creamy dressing that’s full of blue cheese flavor. You can use any type of lettuce for this salad, but try to go for something hearty like romaine or iceberg lettuce. Make sure to add some croutons for crunch.

6. Soups


Soup is a simple and comforting dish that can be made with minimal ingredients. By roasting vegetables or sausage on a skillet or sheet pan, you can enhance the flavor before adding them to a pot with broth and seasonings. Alternatively, soups and stews can also be prepared using a slow cooker or Instant Pot. Moreover, leftovers from soups make for an effortless meal the following day.

Broccoli cheddar soup: Broccoli cheddar soup is a classic dish that has been around for years. It’s usually made with full-fat cheese and cream, but you can make a healthier version by using low-fat cheese and evaporated milk instead of regular milk.

Minestrone soup: This recipe is super easy to make, and you can add in whatever veggies you have on hand. Make sure to use lean ground beef for a healthy version of this dish.

7. Grilling


Grilling is an excellent choice for simple vacation meals. Regardless of whether you’re by the seaside or in the hills, grilling is a timeless technique to savor a scrumptious meal without devoting long hours to cooking. Why not grill chicken thighs, sausages, or seafood for a satisfying and flavorful meal? Additionally, you can grill vegetables and fruits to create a nutritious and delicious side dish.

8. Easy Meals for Vacation Rental

If you’re on vacation and in need of a fast meal or snack to sustain you, there are some effortless recipes you can prepare using either items from your pantry or by making a brief trip to the grocery store.
Black Bean Quesadillas: Begin by warming up a skillet and adding taco seasoning to a can of black beans. Once heated, spread the beans on one side of a tortilla. Sprinkle cheese over the beans and fold the tortilla in half. Proceed to cook the tortilla in either a skillet or panini press until it is crispy and the cheese has melted.

  • Grilled Chicken Thighs: Apply your preferred barbecue rub or marinade to the chicken thighs. Cook them on a medium-high heated grill until they are fully cooked, approximately 8-10 minutes per side.
  • Lasagna in a Mug: Arrange cooked lasagna noodles, tomato sauce, and cheese in a mug that can be safely used in a microwave. Heat in the microwave for 1-2 minutes or until the cheese has melted and become bubbly.
  • Favorite Things Charcuterie Board: Create a platter with your preferred snacks, like cut ham or roasted chicken, crackers, cheese, fruits, and nuts. Ideal for a hassle-free snack or a light meal.

9. What to do with Next-Day Meals and Leftovers?


When you’re on vacation, the last thing you want to worry about is cooking every meal from scratch. One way to save time and energy is to plan for next-day meals and leftovers. Here are some ideas for using up leftover ingredients and meals:

  • Leftover chicken thighs can be used in salads, wraps, or quesadillas.
  • Leftover grilled seafood can be used in pasta dishes or salads.
  • Leftover taco meat can be used in omelets or as a topping for baked potatoes.
  • Leftover barbecue can be used in sandwiches or as a topping for pizza.
  • Leftover lasagna or pasta dishes can be reheated for a quick and easy dinner.

Bonus: Meal Planning for a Beach Vacation

When preparing meals for a beach vacation, it’s important to prioritize simplicity and ease. To simplify your meal planning process and make it more pleasant, consider implementing the following tips:

  • Plan ahead: Prior to embarking on your vacation, it would be wise to create a comprehensive list of the meals you intend to prepare and the corresponding ingredients that you will require. This strategic move can significantly mitigate any potential time constraints and unnecessary anxiety upon your arrival.
  • Shop smart: Search for simple vacation dishes that can be prepared using only a handful of ingredients, such as grilled fish or chicken, pasta in tomato sauce, or tacos. Additionally, ensure to have sufficient stocks of snacks and breakfast essentials like yogurt, fruits, and granola.
  • Make ahead: One way to save time and effort during your vacation is by preparing some meals in advance that can be reheated or put together easily, like lasagna or chili.
  • Use appliances: Utilize the appliances available in your rental home, like a slow cooker or microwave, to simplify your cooking process.
  • Keep it simple: Instead of worrying about preparing intricate and elaborate dishes, prioritize simple dinner concepts that are nourishing and gratifying for everyone in the family.

By using these simple vacation meal ideas, you can relish your stay at the beach house or rental property without any concern about meal prep. A clever strategy of planning meals, carrying some crucial ingredients from home and buying groceries nearby can help you save precious time and money while indulging in novel tastes. Regardless of your culinary preference, these tips will enable you to enjoy delectable meals during your getaway.


What are easy foods to take on vacation?

There are many easy-to-pack foods that can be great options for taking on vacation. Some ideas include:
  1. Trail mix or nuts: These are portable and high in protein and healthy fats.
  2. Fresh fruit: Apples, bananas, and oranges are easy to pack and don't require refrigeration.
  3. Granola bars or energy bars: These can be a quick and easy snack when you're on the go.
  4. Nut butter packets: Peanut butter or almond butter packets are great for adding protein to fruit or crackers.
  5. Pre-made sandwiches: Sandwiches made with peanut butter and jelly or deli meat and cheese can be pre-made at home and packed in a cooler for a no-fuss meal option.
  6. Instant oatmeal packets: These can be a quick breakfast option if your hotel room has a microwave.
  7. Beef jerky or turkey jerky: These are high in protein and can be a good snack to satisfy hunger cravings.
By packing these easy-to-transport foods, you'll have convenient snacks and meals on hand during your vacation without having to rely on fast food or expensive restaurants.

What should I cook for a group on vacation?

When deciding what to cook for a vacation group, consider the group size, dietary restrictions, and available cooking facilities. If you have a full kitchen, you can prepare elaborate meals. For camping or limited facilities, stick to simple meals like those that can be cooked on a grill or camp stove. Some easy meal ideas for larger groups include: - Tacos or fajitas with a variety of toppings - Pasta dishes such as spaghetti with meat sauce or baked ziti - Grilled burgers or hot dogs with all the fixings - Breakfast burritos or pancakes with fruit and bacon - Stir-fry with rice or noodles and vegetables and protein of your choice. Communication is key when planning group meals. Knowing everyone's preferences and dietary restrictions beforehand helps ensure a delicious and enjoyable vacation meal for all.
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Buse Yıldırım

A global citizen, eager to travel where she has not travelled yet.
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