Frugal Living · Organization

Meal Planning For Family Vacation

Vacation is a wonderful thing. There’s just something about getting away with the people you love, unplugging from daily life and reconnecting with new experiences, leisure time and fellowship. Vacation can also be expensive, stressful and a lot of work! As a spouse (and especially as a parent!) there’s packing, planning and traveling that has to come before the relaxation. I really believe that a well-organized and thought-out approach to vacation can relieve a lot of those pressures.

Meals can easily be one of the biggest expenses during vacation. Last month my side of the family (six adults and two babies) met up in Gatlinburg for two full days, and we didn’t spend a DIME on eating out! We stayed in a condo with a full kitchen, so my mom, sister and I teamed up to provide meals for our stay. It was so nice to eat on our own schedule without fighting crowds or worrying about how much it was going to cost. We were able to talk around the table while the kids played or napped. It was so nice!

Here’s how we split it up – my sister has young children, so she brought things for quick breakfasts. I brought everything for lunches and my Mom was in charge of supper. Here’s at look at what we ate:

Breakfast:ย 

  • Day One: Yogurt & Granola with Fresh Fruit
  • Day Two: Eggs & English Muffins with Fresh Fruit

Lunch:

  • Day One (Poolside!) – Grilled Chicken Salads: Spring Mix, Chicken, Strawberries, Blueberries, Blue Cheese and Lime Vinaigrette with Pimento Cheese and Crackers
  • Day Two: Chicken Salad Sandwiches/Grapes/Cookies

Snacks:

  • Cookies, Grapes, Pimento Cheese & Crackers, Granola Bars

Supper: Visit my mom’s blog to see what she made for supper – it was delicious!


Of course, this was more work than eating a restaurant. But it was worth it! We were able to completely eliminate the stress of added expense and we still had great food! Here are a few things that made it easy:

  • We communicated our meal plans so we didn’t overlap with the same type of food
  • Bought pre-made chicken salad and pimento cheese
  • Used store bought cookies for dessert
  • Cooked and sliced the chicken (for the salad) at home the day before
  • Brought paper products for easy cleanup
  • I planned the sandwich lunch for a day at Dollywood – we ended up not going, but it was still a great lunch that was super quick and portable!
  • Brought bottles of water and froze a few to use as ice packs at the pool

Have you done an eat-in vacation? It’s pretty much the only way my family does vacation! Don’t forget to visit my Mom’s blog today to see her supper recipes and to hear her tips for vacation meal planning!

More vacation meal planning ideas here!

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6 thoughts on “Meal Planning For Family Vacation

  1. We almost always do breakfast and lunch in and a few dinners in when we travel. It just makes sense for the budget and ends up being much more relaxing with little ones. I don’t mind cooking and I really love fixing our favorite meals that I know everyone will eat. We try to eat early to get early bird deals or my husband will pick up a groupon or two for an affordable meal option. I loved that the ladies in your family split up the meals so no one felt burdened with all the meal planning. Smart ladies!

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  2. I can totally relate to your vacation meal planning! It’s been a few years since we’ve done a big family trip, but when I was younger we did that all the time. My first trip to Florida was awesome because we had a kitchenette with our hotel room. It was a little pricier than a regular room, but it saved money in the long run. I enjoyed running to the grocery store in Florida and picking up groceries, including some brands we didn’t have back home. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s also nice to get away from restaurant food because that gets old very fast and isn’t as healthy! I remember driving places on vacation and stopping for lunch at a park or rest stop. It was fun to pull out the sandwiches we made at home and have a quick picnic. If you have kids, it’s a good time for them to stretch their legs, too. Great memories!

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      1. I remember the Piggly Wiggly! There was one up in South Dakota years ago, near my aunt and uncle’s. I think it was run by a similar chain (or the same one) as our old Hinky-Dinky grocery store. I worked at the Hinky-Dinky in high school and college, until they closed down. Such funny names! ๐Ÿ™‚

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