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Menu Planning for Vacations

Bird standing on the beach

(Updated Feb 22, 2021)

Start your Vacation sooner!

The concept for Grocery Concierge was based on our travel experiences.  I dreamed of checking into our vacation rental unit and seeing the food and beverages we were going to enjoy during the week already in the unit.  The idea that vacation could start IMMEDIATELY, not after hours of shopping and unloading, sounded like heaven or at least sounded like a vacation.   

As a Professional Organizer I tend to plan EVERYTHING! I have a packing list for clothes including things like strapless bras or specific jewelry. I research area attractions and make a plan for when we will go based on weather forecasts. And since we usually stay in a timeshare or vacation rental unit, I like to pre-plan our meals and make a grocery shopping list. I created this Vacation Meal Ideas document just for such occasions.  I hope you find it helpful as you begin to plan your next vacation.

Having now operated Grocery Concierge in Navarre Beach since July 2019, I am familiar with most family’s grocery lists.  During the week most will have Taco Night, Pasta Night, and depending on the type of grill available to them either Burgers or Hot Dogs with Chips or Steaks with Baked Potatoes for Dinner.  Lunches are usually Sandwiches, and Frozen Pizzas and Breakfasts include Donuts, Cinnamon Rolls, Bacon & Eggs.   PLEASE VISIT MY WEBSITE AND CHECK OUT FREE RESOURCES (under Grocery Delivery).  Here are some pages that will help you plan better—Breakfast Ideas, Pasta NightTaco Night,  even Drink Ideas 

Pantry stocked with groceries

Fridge stocked with groceries

Before you start making your shopping list, just want to check—did you send in your Grocery Delivery Questionnaire so we can get you on the schedule?   

Send it in today!  Questionnaire  please email to groceryconcierge20@gmail.com 

We offer 2 options for you to create your Shopping List.  If you have a shortlist, you can write the items on our Short Grocery List.  Or if you need a little extra guidance to remember everything, please use our Long Grocery List.  Both allow you to add items and to include specific brands.  We want you to get exactly what you want for your vacation! 


1) Consider any special diet needs (food allergies, or major dislikes) of your travel companionsAlways be considerate of each other’s needs and be willing to try new foods and flavors.  

2) Pre-plan meals so that you can utilize ingredients multiple times. For example, Rotisserie Chicken can be purchased and used to make either Tex Mex entrees (fajitas, quesadilla, tortilla soup) or for Pasta Night (Carbonara, Alfredo).  Tortillas can be used for Tex Mex dinners and Breakfast Tacos or as a Sandwich Wrap.  

3) If traveling with kids and teenagers, purchase snack foods in the LARGEST containers.  The amount of snack items needed on a vacation is often underestimated!  Kids get hungry playing on the beach all day and everyone enjoys snacks during games or movies in the evening.  COVID precaution:  Individually packaged treats are recommended.   Take any leftovers in the car for the drive home or put them in your carry-on bags for snacking on the plane. 

4) Purchase condiments (mustard, mayo, ketchup, salad dressings) in the smallest size possible to avoid throwing away leftovers at the end of your trip. Sometimes it is hard to find smaller sizes as your personal shopper we are going to consider the number of guests as well as the number of days you are staying.  We will make an extra stop at the dollar store for smaller size so that the couple staying for a long weekend doesn’t have to throw away an almost full bottle of laundry soap.   

5) Plan for easy clean-up (YOU’RE ON VACATION)!  Paper plates, plastic knives, forks, spoons, and cups mean no one is washing dishes.  Foil is great for lining baking sheets, steaming fish, and veggies on the grill or in the oven and you can even crumple some to make a grill cleaner for the public grill by the pool.  Plastic wrap or storage bags help to keep foods fresh in the refrigerator.  And if you are going to be using a crockpot, purchase the liners and just toss when you are done. 

6) Don’t forget the nonperishable items.  Most vacation rentals only provide an initial amount and unlike hotels, you can’t just go to the front desk for more.   Nonperishables include paper products (TP, Kleenex, paper towels, paper plates, napkins, plastic cups/K, F, S) storage (plastic wrap, foil, ziplock), cleaning (dishwashing soap, laundry detergent) as well as personal care (sunscreen and after-sun lotion, hand soap, shampoo, etc.)  


Some families that travel frequently have created a “bin” of these items.   Below is a picture of a laundry basket filled with items and you can use our Basic Set-Up List to shop at your local dollar store for small sizes or load with extra items from your home.  

       Navarre affordable vacation

  Image of paper goods

If you are flying into your vacation destination, be sure these items are on your shopping list. 


7) Check the type of grill available before making your list.  If the grill is charcoal, I suggest getting pre-soaked briquettes, plus matches or lighter. If you don’t have a grill you may have to adjust your cooking method (broiling or high heat in the oven) or your items (hot dogs and burgers instead of steaks or grilled chicken). 


8) Once you arrive you can check out your unit’s cooking utensils.  Look at the size of pots and pans, as well as any baking pans you may need.  I mentioned in my last Blog post—Thrift Shopping on Vacation that you can pick up large glass casserole dishes and other kitchen essentials for just a couple of dollars if your vacation rental unit does not have what you need.   


       9) Vacation always ends too soon, but at least you gained the first day when you used Grocery Concierge.  Most rental units have a 10 am check out and your last morning can feel rushed.  Depending on your drive time, we’ve seen families leave as early as 5 am.  You don’t want to clean out food early in the morning.  Plan for this the day before.  Keep items that can be used for breakfast (milk, juices, fruit, bread items) or taken for snacks, but try to use up and clean out the rest of the food.  If you have unopened nonperishable items, you can request a Donation Pick Up and we return to the unit to remove the items and donate them to our local We Care Food Pantry  

Food donation bag


Our best advice is to take some time to review other Blog posts about Vacation Planning on our website.   

1 Month in advance:  Start researching local attractions and arrange for delivery BEFORE YOU ARRIVE with Grocery Concierge.   You’ll appreciate the hours saved as soon as you open the door!  

1 Week in advance:  Submit your Shopping list and decide which local restaurants you want to support and see if you need to make reservations. While at the beach, I encourage you to visit local restaurants that serve FRESH & IN SEASON seafood and to order some for delivery (only Grocery Concierge can shop local specialty stores for you).   

Please support locally owned and operated businesses when you travel.  You are helping the local economy and experiencing the culture through the food.   

Mention this article and receive a free gift!   

Grocery Concierge, Navarre, FL: 


As a concierge service, I am committed to helping my customers start their vacations sooner by shopping for and delivering groceries, beverages, and beach supplies to their vacation rental units.  Also, providing guidance on quantities needed, introducing local merchants and products, and suggesting easy recipes to prepare and enjoy.     

Gretchen Carter 

Owner, Personal Shopper, Nutritional Therapist 

Grocery Concierge 

1 thought on “Menu Planning for Vacations”

  1. Pingback: Vacation Menu Ideas That Work at Home | Organized Occasions Concierge

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