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How to Maximize Your Vacation Travel and Love of Food

How to Maximize Your Vacation Travel and Love of Food

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. 

Safety Tips For Your Vacation Home Getaway

Safety Tips For Your Vacation Home Getaway

16 Tips for Vacation Rental Home Guests

Over the last decade, tens of millions of people have had uneventful, enjoyable stays in vacation rental units. But let’s be honest – every type of travel carries some risk. While Airbnb, VRBO and others have taken steps to improve platform security and to address concerns, there are actions you can take to better ensure a safe, comfortable trip. We’ve assembled 16 vacation home rental safety tips to help.

1. Pay attention to the property descriptions.

Read them carefully to ensure that you understand the facilities and amenities of the unit, and the features you will and won’t be getting. While many listings on platforms such as Airbnb or VRBO will let you know if there are smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, they may not tell you if the backdoor has a working deadbolt or if the room that your children will sleep in has a lock on the window. If in doubt, these are things you should contact the property manager about ahead of time.

2. Read the reviews

Read as many as possible. They will help identify recurring themes, issues or problems as other guests see them.

3. Make sure the property fits the description.

Ask for more pictures beforehand if you have doubts. Note if the reviews say anything about the property descriptions not matching photos.

4. Get to know your host.

Ask a few questions in an email exchange. Check them out on social media if possible.

5. Look out for payment scams.

While Airbnb and VRBO use reviews and complaints to police hosts and offerings, there are still plenty of examples of scams and stolen money. See this blog on risks of Airbnb travelers for more details. In any event, never bypass the built-in platform payment solution.

6. Check to see if the property or host has been blacklisted.

Sites like AirbnbHell & Sitejabber feature stories of Airbnb rentals gone terribly wrong.

7. Check the location and neighborhood appearance on Google Earth or Google street view.

Does it look like a neighborhood you would feel safe in?

8. Bring your own first aid kit if possible.

Your unit may not have one.

9. Check the smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors when you arrive.

While you are at it, look for cameras disguised in light fixtures or as smoke alarms, motion detectors or clock radios.

 

10. Know where the exits are.

Rehearse what you and your traveling companions would do to escape a fire.

11. Let friends or family know where you are staying.

Many of us have Find My Friends or similar location sharing apps on our phones. This may not be enough. For extra precaution let loved ones know where you are staying.

12. Research the city.

Where are the safest places to stay, and what areas are best avoided? How do you get in touch with the local police or fire station if there is an emergency? Where is the nearest walk-in clinic or hospital? If you ‘d like your host to provide these go ahead and ask them.

13. Often times it’s not the place. It’s the people.

No two people are made the same. You may have had a great experience with one host and not so great with another. Communicate with your host to get a feel for them before you arrive. If you detect any interaction concerns with your host, don’t buy. Move on.

14. Rent out the whole house or apartment.

Staying with strangers may sound adventurous but you don’t know what you’re going to get. Even if your housemates are honest and well-meaning, they may come and go and be active at hours that don’t agree with your schedule. If you want to avoid this, check with the owner to make sure no one else is going to be there with you.

15. Women often travel alone, but additional precautions will make your stay safer and more enjoyable.

First, buy the entire unit to avoid unknown housemates. If you can’t or don’t want to do that, ensure the door to your room securely locks and perform a camera check shortly after arrival. Check that the bathroom locks securely. Follow your intuition. If something does not feel right, it might not be right.

16. Have an open mind.

Whether you elect to buy the entire unit or an individual room, the point of a vacation rental experience is often the conviviality, feeling of exploration, and interaction with fellow travelers and neighbors. It’s a mindset adjustment that can pay off with all-new experiences.

 Over the last decade, the growth and availability of the vacation rental marketplace have opened a whole new range of stay options for travelers. With a little research, advance planning, and common sense, you can be assured of a safe, enjoyable stay.

Still  have questions? 

 

 

 

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