How to Make a Meal Plan for Your Vacation

One of the biggest perks of your Topsail Island rental is the freedom to make some of your meals in. This is especially helpful for families on a budget or those who have dietary restrictions. Why eat out every single meal when you have the option to stay in, relax, and take full advantage of your vacation rental kitchen? 

If eating in is on your vacation itinerary, then you may also want to consider making a meal plan for your vacation. As with most things, planning ahead is key. Here are some tips on how to create vacation meal plan in advance and what you need to do to feel relaxed and ready for your time away. 

1. Figure out which meals you plan to eat in your vacation rental.

Like everything else in life, it all starts with a plan. You'll want to figure out which meals you'll be making in your Topsail Island rental, and which meals you'll be eating out. Maybe you plan to eat breakfast and lunch in and go out for dinner. Whatever you and your family plan to do, be clear on expectations so you can take the next step.

2. Get your family's input in advance. 

It's a good idea to have a quick family meeting and get some input from your family before you get too far in to your meal planning. Not only will this help you get input as to meal preferences and family favorites, but it will also help you get some commitment from your family to assist in the process. This calls for teamwork, so it's not all on your shoulders.

3. Write out your vacation meal plan.

Now that you have a solid idea of which meals you'll be making in your rental kitchen, it's time to nail down your meal plan. Write it out. If you have too many meal requests or ideas and not enough vacation days, throw them into a bowl and randomly pick. Or take one meal request from each person in your family and then choose randomly from there. Need some meal ideas? Try these recipes.

4. Make a list of ingredients for each meal.

Before you put all of the meals on any kind of finalized schedule, write down a master list of all of the meals you plan to include. On each meal, write down every single ingredient you need to make for that particular dish. Many people do this on index cards or the computer so that they will have an easy to reference database. Look for areas where you can connect logical meals. This can help you to utilize leftovers or extra ingredients more efficiently. 

5. Compile a grocery shopping list.

From your ingredients card, see what you already have on hand. (You may want to wait until you get to your Topsail Island rental to see what staples are already there for you in your vacation rental kitchen, then make adjustments.) Whatever you are missing and need from the grocery store, right down a concise grocery list. Take this list with you to the grocery store and purchase only what you need. This method should help you to save a great deal on your grocery bill and won't leave you with a lot of extra food or extraneous ingredients. 

6. Finalize your meal plan and stick with it.

Schedule your meals for the coming week accordingly and write them on the family calendar so everyone knows what to expect. The last part is the toughest of all. Now you have to follow through with the meal plan that you put in place. Stick to it, but of course you will also have to be flexible if plans change (and they usually do when you're on vacation!). 

Vacation Meal Planning Calendar | Topsail Island Rentals Online


There are a lot of free resources and meal planners out there and available to you to use. 

Here is a sample of a free, printable vacation meal planner calendar you may want to use on your next Topsail beach vacation. 

Or you can search for one that is more customized to you and your family's needs. 

There are even ones that have vacation meals planned out for you with a shopping list if you really want to make your meal planning quick and easy. 

Happy Vacation Meal Planning!

(Meal Planner Credit:


We want to know! 

Comment on this post!