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September 30, 2014

Packing Food for a Family Vacation

From the time our oldest was about four-weeks old, we've been traveling with a little one(s). 
There are several things we do to make our adventures with our kids run smoothly, and today, I'm sharing one of the most important things I do before we head out of town on vacation. 

I pack our food - Yes, in addition to packing clothes, diapers, wipes, etc. I pack food.

Packing Food

I plan our meals. 
I gather the items that I need.
I pack the food.
 Don't get me wrong. we LOVE to eat out - especially when we are on vacation...but if we're staying somewhere for a week (or even for a long weekend), it makes sense for us to bring a few meals along with us. Here is what this looked like for our most recent beach trip. 

Note: All cold items are packed in a cooler separately.*

Tomato Sauce
Pasta Noodles
Pasta Sauce
*Ground Beef
 I wanted to protect these items, so I sealed them up in a plastic container. 

Black Bean/Chicken Quesadillas:
Taco Seasoning
(I also threw a can of black beans in with this group.) 
 This batch traveled well in a plastic container as well!
 In addition to meals that we can use for lunch and dinner, I also pack just enough ingredients to have pancakes one morning - writing any needed measurements, instructions, etc. on the outside of the bag...and, uh....double-bagging is a great idea here.  

All of these items (and more) go down in a large plastic bin - We have moved from traveling with pretty luggage to packing in large plastic totes and gigantic laundry baskets. *smile*
Also - don't forget to pack cooking spray and any basic spices, etc. you might want to have along for cooking. 

A Few Final Thoughts:

When traveling, we typically stay in condo-style accommodations - We use VRBO/Home Away to search for great places, and kitchen amenities are a must! 

Do we ever shop at the grocery stores located around our destination? Sure! Sometimes we will wait to purchase some of our cold items as well as all of our produce there instead of traveling with the cooler. However, we typically pay more when we do it that way - which is really one of the main considerations when I'm packing my food anyway. It provides a huge savings! When I have "couponed" many of the items, why would I pay full price plus some on items I already have sitting in my pantry? I may bring along items/typical "no-no brands" that we don't usually eat, but that are convenient for traveling. 

Is it a hassle? It's really not~ I have done it so many times that I could do it in my sleep! We have our go-to meals that we typically take, and they are great coupled with our fun meals out to eat! 

Interested in a free Vacation Menu Plan complete with an included shopping list?