Summer (or near summer for us) equals vacation time.  But for most, a relaxing vacation week can have you nervously scrutinizing your bank account the next week.  What fun is that?  To help minimize that impact, I’m sharing how to save on your meals during vacation.

I love vacations, I’m sure you do too.  It’s fun to get away and explore new locations, but after paying for transportation, hotels, and restaurants, our bank accounts usually end up hating the vacation!   And if you have kids it adds to the total, and before you know it the vacation becomes a burden.

Vacation Options Besides Hotels

Luckily, there are ways to reduce costs and still get away.  You can camp, own a timeshare or use an Airbnb or other rental option.   (Camping Hint: Want to camp, but don’t have a camper or tent?  Check out the KOA website. Almost any location you wish to go to includes some type of rental in the form of cabins or yurts.)  The key to all of these options is that you have the ability to make your own meals and the savings you get by cooking your own meals can really help to reduce the overall cost of a vacation.

Keep A Kitchen Box

The key to saving money while staying in a rental is to have a box designated for kitchen and bathroom essentials.  Usually, rentals include dishes and utensils, but it’s best to always call ahead to find out what will be stocked.  The timeshare that we use also includes dishwashing soap, garbage bags, and paper towels.  But there are many things that aren’t included in the kitchen, and that’s why we pack a kitchen box.  For instance, we pack salt and pepper and other spices, rice, dried cereal, tea bags, coffee, and condiments.  These are the non-perishables you shouldn’t waste money on by waiting to buy when you to your destination.  You can’t count on them being as cheap as you might find at home, especially if you’re in a remote location.  (Trust me on this one, we learned our lesson the first time we used our timeshare. Not only was it a waste of money, but it was a waste of time.)  Now, once we get there all we have to worry about is buying the perishable items like fruit, veggies, and meat.  Below are some of the items that we use.

Stack & Pull Box, 32 Quart

We love the clear boxes which makes it easy to see what’s in each one. We usually take two separate boxes, one for dry goods and the other for liquids like oils that we cook with, liquid laundry detergent, etc.

Multi-Grill Spice and Herb Assortment Shaker

This covers most of the spices you might need like salt, pepper, garlic, and curry. There are other spice packs available or you can bring your bigger spice bottles from home.

Domino Pure Cane NON-GMO Granulated Sugar

We like sugar in our coffee, but you don’t necessarily have to bring sugar at all. These are just some of the options that are available. You can find other things that work best for your family.

Packing List Printable

To make packing for our vacations easier, I created a printable that I’m sharing below.  The checklist includes kitchen, bathroom and laundry staples along with extra space for things like electronics and chargers.  We use it for each vacation to make sure that we bring everything that we need. We hope it makes your vacation packing easier too.  Have fun on your vacation and don’t worry about the food bills.

Cottage Planning List

You can print out the Vacation Cottage Planning list from the link. Use it for all your future trips.