Enjoying The Journey · Frugal Living

Meal Planning for Family Vacation {2021}

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The eight members of my side of the family (the Ham Fam – Cunninghams) spent 3 full days in Pigeon Forge over Labor Day weekend. We stayed together in a large condo with a full kitchen, so my mom, sister and I decided we preferred to eat most of our meals right there.

We planned out a menu and split up the responsibilities evenly. Everyone agreed that eating in made our vacation so enjoyable! We enjoyed lunch by the pool, relaxed days with no need to beat the crowds to a restaurant and easy conversation around the large dining room table.

We all came prepared with groceries and loads of snacks.

My parents brought their coffee airpot, which kept the coffee hot and fresh all morning for our family of coffee drinkers.

Even though the kitchen was stocked with dishes, we brought paper products to make cleanup a little easier. My dad, as always, volunteered to be in charge of loading the dishwasher and washing the prep dishes. That made it even easier! πŸ™‚

Mom, my sister and I were each in charge of a couple meals, and were “on duty” for our meals and “off duty” for the others. It was perfect – none of us felt like we were in the kitchen all weekend.

Here’s what we ate!



  • Sandwich Smorgasbord: lunch meat, salami, provolone and cheddar jack cheese, pickled onions, banana peppers, roasted red peppers, lettuce, mayo, spicy brown mustard, yellow mustard / Chips / Snap Peas and Hummus / Grapes / Cookies


  • Pizza from Big Daddy’s (Takeout)/Salad Bar
  • Texas Toast Sloppy Joes/Tropical Fruit Salad: Kiwi, Mandarin Oranges, Blueberries, Blackberries, Mango/Tossed Salad
  • Lasagna/Caesar Salad Kit with Pickled Onions/Garlic Toast

Here’s how the fridge looked at the end of the weekend. πŸ™‚ There weren’t many leftovers!

We ate very well, enjoyed quality family time and saved lots of money by eating in! It’s always interesting to me how simple meals taste so good on vacation.

More Vacation Meal Planning Ideas:


10 thoughts on “Meal Planning for Family Vacation {2021}

  1. This post made my heart smile! I love that you enjoyed such a sweet getaway and I can see how eating in while away together would not only help you avoid things like having to beat the crowds to a restaurant, but also gave it a feeling of “home”. I’m sure those meals gathered together around the table and poolside were sweet. Your food looked yummy too! Win/win all around! πŸ™‚


  2. This is such a great idea! Eating out always feels a little stressful on vacation when you’ve got little ones and crowds to consider. We like to do a mix of take out and usually cook our breakfasts/lunches. Your family has vacationing together down to a science πŸ™‚


    1. You’re right – it is just stressful when you’re eating out, with kids, in a busy city, on a holiday weekend. πŸ™‚ My mom, sister and I are kind of the dream team when it comes to planning vacations or events. We all love lists and keeping things just structured enough to make it smooth for everyone. It’s pretty great! πŸ™‚


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