How We Eat on Vacation



So, we got back from vacation just a couple days ago. It’s hard coming back to reality. I just thrive in that salty air!


For me, the most important part of a vacation is that it’s RELAXING. I am not much of a run-around jet-setter who needs to visit a thousand landmarks. I also don’t need to dine out for every meal. Honestly? I don’t want to have to do a whole lot of planning on a vacation. I just want to be able to breathe deep and enjoy a beautiful environment.


beach morning


I would say that I toe the line between wanting a vacation to feel a little special and indulgent but also wanting to adhere to the budget. I am most certainly not one who avoids restaurants at all costs. I am also not one who feels comfortable going out and buying whatever we want just because “it’s a special occasion.”


So, with all that said, I’d like to share what the plan looked like for our most recent trip:


[Note: Any time I post things like this, I receive comments about how I could have done better-- why some of our choices aren't the healthiest and, in a nutshell, why I suck. I'd love to tell you these didn't bother me. The reality, however, is that I get very hurt. Please know, upfront, that I am well aware that this is in NO way a "real food" plan. This is not how we eat all the time, nor is it a diet that would meet everyone's needs. If it makes you cringe? I apologize for that, but please feel free to move on without telling me what a horrible, pathetic excuse of a mother I am... 'k? Now, for the rest of you... :) ]


Sunday: TRAVEL DAY– We spent this whole day in the car, from 5:30AM until 6:00PM, so I wanted to keep things simple. Here’s how we handled it.

B– Cookie Crisp cereal (in individual ziploc bags), clementines, sliced cheese (co-jack, swiss, cheddar, and pepperjack), coffee (grown-ups) & juice (kids) **I bought a case of Welch’s juice in 8 oz. resealable bottles. It cost more than Capri Sun 100% juice would have, but was SO much handier on the road.

L– It was Father’s Day and I told my husband he could pick whatever he wanted “on the road” for lunch. We wound up grabbing KFC and it was a lousy meal. Really none of us enjoyed it and it was kind of pricey (around $25 to feed our family of 5.)

D– Carnitas and Spanish Rice burritos. I had made these ahead and frozen them, then transported them in a small cooler. They were still super cold upon our arrival and I just warmed them up.


Monday through Saturday– Six days on the beach. The name of the game here was to come up with extremely simple, well-liked meals. Lunches were, for the most part, packable and portable. Many ingredients were purchased at ALDI before we even went on vacation, making my destination shopping list very short and sweet– fruit, milk, butter, eggs, bacon, hot dogs, lunch meat, ground beef, ice cream, and cheese.



cereal, fruit, milk

granola bars, cheese, juice

bacon, egg, & cheese bagel sandwiches

bacon breakfast burritos

pop-tarts, fruit, milk

ice cream & fruit on the beach



cheese quesadillas, fruit

sandwiches, fruit, pretzels

sandwiches, fruit, corn chips

sandwiches, fruit, penguin crackers

hot dogs, carrot sticks, pickles

carne asada burritos with all the fixins (leftover)





burgers, pickles, chips

carne asada burritos (our friends brought this to us– SO good)

OUT x 2 (One meal was AWESOME. One was meh. If I could do it again, I would have just gone to that first restaurant a second time– it was fantastic!)

beef tacos, corn, spanish rice

crackers, cheese, meat, fruit– easy light stuff


Sunday– THE TRIP HOME– Again, it was important to me to keep it simple.

B– bags of cereal, clementines, cheese, juice, coffee

L– McDonald’s. Healthy? No. Way better than that KFC we’d had, though. At least everyone ate well and we came out over $10 cheaper. So that’s something, right?

D– Home!


So there you have it.


On vacation, we eat a lot of things that are atypical for us– pop-tarts, McDonald’s, ice cream for breakfast, etc.


We also go out to dinner more often than usual.


Overall, though, we keep it really simple and fun and try to make mealtime so easy that it’s not something we even need to think much about.


And that’s how we do meals on vacation.


How about you? Do you pack stuff? Eat out? Cook in a hotel room? Look for a place with a full kitchen? I’d love to hear about what makes vacation most relaxing for YOU!

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5 comments to How We Eat on Vacation

  • Susie

    Great job! We also ate a lot of foods on our road trips that were not commonly found in our diet at home, which at least partially explained my kids’ happy attitudes about traveling so far in a car :-)
    (“We’re going to drive two horribly long days to Texas! Maybe we’ll even get McDonald’s!”)

  • Amanda

    This is pretty much how we handle meals on vacation too. I think my kids look forward to the food as much as the beach! They love getting to indulge in things we normally don’t eat: poptarts, cheetos, juice boxes, etc.

    I am totally stealing your breakfast idea in September when we go to Myrtle Beach. Ice cream ? For breakfast? On the beach? The kids will love it!

  • Heather

    You didn’t like KFC?!?! How do you eat mcdonalds for $15?!?!?! What kind of pretentious jerk comes to your blog to read your post about your vacation and smack talks your food?!?!

  • Sonja

    I drove with my four kids from KS to MA to visit my parents. I packed deli meat, cheese sticks, mini yogurts, fruit, pretzels & water bottles for “meals” on the way. I brought one “healthy” soda for each of my boys as a treat. My kids would rather snack as they get hungry while driving, than stop for an actual meal :) we were able to drive for five hour stretches, which was a huge help for a 20+ hour drive. It worked for us, my brother thought I was crazy, lol

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