I guess you can say that I was born with it. At just four months old, my parents took me to a beachfront vacation rental and my wanderlust gene kicked in. As I ventured out onto my own, that wanderlust expanded to destinations around the globe. Wherever I went, I knew that no matter what, the place I was staying at had to feel like home.
Hotels are fine for business travel, but for my personal travel, I’ve always preferred a home away from home. To me, that’s always meant a place where I could celebrate the trip with my entourage of friends or family and make our own dining memories. And because I am passionate about creating that comfortable familiar experience, cooking and vacation meal planning is something that has always enhanced the travel bond experiences with my companions. Dining out and experiencing the local cuisine is an adventure, but what really excites me is arranged dinner plans ”at home.” Homemade food and sharing experiences are what the best vacation memories are made of.
Let’s be real, all good parties end up in the kitchen.
To thoroughly enjoy every moment of your trip, thinking about meal planning in advance will help limit grocery shopping excursions so you can enjoy your much-needed vacation!
The following tips will take some of the stress off you and make vacation meal planning easier.
Know What Delights Your Fellow Travelers
- Knowing the habits of your travel companions can help guide grocery planning. For example, some in your group may be early risers and want a hearty breakfast to get their day’s adventure underway. Others want to sleep in late, have coffee and a quick bite and leisurely decide how their day will unfold.
- Also, it helps to know in advance about your companions’ dietary needs and preferences. I always prefer to make a meal that will accommodate my entire group rather than serving a dish that some cannot eat. We want everyone to enjoy their vacation, right?
Share the Experience of Vacation Meal Preparation
- Ask your travel companions to volunteer to make a meal of their choice, shop and prep for an evening happy hour and dinner experience. We all know weather conditions, excursions and explorations can adjust the course of any traveler’s vacation day, but there is no reason you have to be responsible for every meal. While “too many cooks in the kitchen” is true, group gatherings in the kitchen with one or two people at the helm makes it a fun and memorable experience. Important Note: whoever cooks is relinquished from clean-up duty!
Take the Cooking Experience Outdoors
- If your vacation rental includes a grill, designate the ”grill master” and cook dinner outside. There are so many foods that grill well – chicken, beef, pork, seafood, veggies and fruits. It takes the heat outside and lends to conversation, relaxation and minimizes clean up to enjoy a sunset.
Bring Local Cuisine to Your Vacation Rental Kitchen
- Take advantage of what is in season and available at your vacation destination. Whether it’s seafood, BBQ, ethnic flavors, or specific vegetables and fruit, it all adds to the experience and memory. And the beauty of the internet is that you can explore in advance and find out what is in season.
Dessert Is a Must on Vacation
- Nothing says a “happy sigh” at the end of a vacation meal like the presence of dessert. Delightful to all, dessert prep can be delegated as well. From S’mores on the grill, a homemade specialty, a local pastry or a jaunt to an ice cream shop it adds to the end of a beautiful day.
Ensuring your love of Travel and Food should be a shared experience for all. It’s taken me some time to realize that preparing vacation meals can also be a shared cooking experience with your travel companions. Bon Appetit, happy travels and making new memories.