There are several reasons why one might need to go grocery shopping before heading to a vacation rental. For starters, if the rental is in a remote location, it helps to have the kitchen fully stocked prior to arriving. Secondly, while we're in the midst of a pandemic, many people are limiting their dining options and are opting to stay in rather than go out in a place other than their hometown. Third, it's a convenient and fun way to make meals without spending tons of money or leaving the comfort of one's own cabin or vacation cottage.
With that being said, it's not always an easy challenge to determine what everyone will want to eat while on vacation. We're all familiar with the fact that a vacation craving is completely different than a regular, at-home craving - and this can make things difficult. Do you invest in proteins to keep in the refrigerator and, if so, what will you do with the waste? Is fresh produce a good idea? How many snacks are needed for a week-long vacation? We've got the answers you need, along with the essentials for any vacation rental kitchen.
Find Out What's At The Rental Before Shopping
If you're renting through Airbnb or VRBO, occasionally the kitchen will be pre-stocked with non-perishable items, at least. There also might be drinks such as bottled water in the refrigerator, so it's always good to whether or not anything will be stocked prior to a traveler's arrival. Many times, it will even state in the description of the vacation rental whether or not anything will be there.
If some things are stocked, then this makes vacation rental shopping even easier! Simply cross the items off your list. Additionally, you can determine how to plan a menu if things such as condiments or ingredients for baking, and even spices, are already in the rental kitchen.
Do Some Research On Nearby Grocery Stores And Plan Meals Ahead Of Time
If a rental is in a remote spot, it could make things challenging when it comes to shopping on the fly. This just means that all shopping will need to be done beforehand, with refrigerated and freezer items kept on ice in a cooler until renters arrive.
If there is a grocery store nearby, then the work is a bit less stressful - if something is forgotten, at least you'll know that a store is right nearby. Additionally, a nearby grocery store also eliminates the need to go shopping altogether before you leave, if you don't mind leaving a bit early and spending that time doing some shopping. If a grocery store can't be found, switch gears and search instead for markets or farmstands - many times, small towns and rural areas will have these instead. A smaller grocery venue can also help to drive the meal planning for the week, with local ingredients becoming the star of whatever dishes are on the menu.
Determine What Non-Perishables Can Come From Your Own Home, And Make A Shopping List
It's probably common sense but it's something that not many people think of. If you're already fully stocked with snacks in your own home, then why not bring some of these with you? This also applies to drinks and anything that will likely expire or go stale during your week away - now is a great time to bring them with and eat them on the way or during the vacation.
If travelers are able to supply food for the rental from their own homes, then half the work is already done. Doing this will also help to shape the future grocery list since you'll be able to cross off things that you don't need to buy. Hello, money-saving tip!
The Shopping List Basics
More often than not, you'll need to buy at least a few things for a vacation rental. The simplest thing to do is plan meals that can be cooked outside on a grill or inside on the stovetop since they're quick and easy. A shopping list can be broken down into several major items: dairy and bread, meats, produce, drinks, and paper goods. In terms of dairy, milk for coffee, eggs for morning breakfast (unless you plan to eat out or take advantage of a local breakfast), butter, bread or buns that can double as toast and sandwich bread, and cheese or yogurt for snacking. Meats can include anything you'll grill while you're there, along with breakfast meat such as sausage and bacon, and deli meat for lunchtime sandwiches.
Produce is really a personal preference and comes down to snacking fruits (bananas, berries, apples, etc.), along with vegetables that can be for snacking or used for dinner. Snacking veggies include carrot sticks, bell peppers, celery, etc. For pantry staples, bagels, jams, pasta sauce, baking mixes, and even easy dinners such as mac and cheese are useful (and have a long shelf-life). Lastly, paper goods include paper plates, cups, utensils, napkins, aluminum foil, and paper towels - but check to see if the rental already has these items.