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  • Writer's pictureJoel Shapiro

Menu Planning for Vacations

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 an organizing professional and event planner, I tend to plan EVERYTHING! I make a packing list for every trip-the clothes, the shoes, the jewelry, or accessories I will need. I research area attractions and plan which days to go based on current weather forecasts. And of course, I pre-plan 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 Night, Taco Night,  even Drink Ideas.

We offer 2 options for you to create your Shopping List.  You can fill out our online Grocery Delivery Form or you can use our physical Grocery Delivery List Form and email it to 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 companions. Always 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 a 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.

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.

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.

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