Need Easy Meal Ideas for Vacation

Updated on March 28, 2013
D.E. asks from Tampa, FL
15 answers

We have a vacation coming up in a few months (YAY) and I am looking for some meal ideas to eat in our hotel. Our room will have a fridge, micro and small stove/oven. So I want to save $$ and eat meals in the room. I think I have breakfast covered. But would love some lunch ideas and some dinners too.
I have done pretty well in the past, but we get burned out on sandwiches. Last year we had a house that had a grill so that was GREAT for meals but we dont have that this year. So I need some added help. We will grocery shop probably the morning after we arrive. We will eat out a few times, but I really want to avoid spending a fortune on resturaunts!
Thanks ladies :)

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answers from San Francisco on

You could make a few things ahead of time and freeze them then put them in the frig when you get there. Examples are enchiladas, lasagne

For lunch you could get frozen corn dogs, or do chili dogs using canned chili.

If you have a crock pot bring that for some easy dinners.

Have fun!

More Answers


answers from Washington DC on

We normally bring a cooler with pre-cooked meals...if we are going to a place for a week and have the ability to cook. While we were in OBX last year (we rented a huge house), we made lumpia one night. It doesn't sound like you would have the room for that, but we enjoyed that on a 100% relaxing week, because it took some time where the kids would have otherwise been bored.

What about salads or wraps for lunch? Have the kids make their own pizza's on English Muffins. When you make dinners, could you make enough to have leftovers the next day?

Honestly, we went out for lunch more often then not because we were out during the day. But when we were in, it was either leftovers, sandwiches, or salads...same as at home :).

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

We usually do our family vacations in a timeshare, so we typically prepare our own meals in the unit and eat out only a few times in the week. Saves money and is just so much more relaxing.

I'd really stick to sandwiches for lunch (I mean what would you have for lunch at home?) But also pick up yogurts, apples, bananas, and chips so it isn't JUST sandwiches.

A few cans of soup in different varieties and some lovely Italian bread can make dinner or lunch worth eating :)

Frozen, one-bag pasta meals or Asian meals are probably more expensive than you'd usually want to spend every night, but they are a LOT LESS than eating out and easy to cook without your whole kitchen.

Burgers are easy even without a grill as long as you have a stove/oven. You can use your sandwich fixings but its much more fun for kids.

Make your own pizzas with the premade crusts (that way they don't take up freezer space like frozen pizza does).




answers from Minneapolis on

Bring some harboiled eggs along, then you can either eat them by themselves or make egg salad.
How about buying bags of salad and getting some dressing, cans of chicken to add to them too.
crackers with cream cheese
Leftovers from home
granola bars



answers from Los Angeles on

rotisserie chicken, potato salad, macaroni salad, rolls
salami, cheese & cracker tray, baby carrots, Ranch
tuna in a can (don't forget a can opener)
Odwalla smoothies
cherry tomatoes, spinach leaves, shredded carrots, bottled dressing
peanut butter on celery or crackers
canned soup & crackers

rotisserie chicken (fridge, microwave it)
mini lasagna, bag of salad, bread
casserole (make at home, heat in micro)
tacos (meat on stove, flour tortillas, bag of shredded cheese, tomatoes,
lettuce head or shredded lettuce)



answers from Houston on

Cheese plates - meat (sopresetta, summer sausage, salami, proscuitto), 2-3 different cheeses, bread (pita chips, naan, bagel chips, french or ciabatta), fresh fruit (grapes, cantelope, or dried fruit (dates, apricots, craisins), vegetable (grape tomatoes, baby spinach, carrot sticks) and hummus. Cut everything into bite size, hand everyone a toothpick and enjoy!



answers from Lafayette on

Our family loves to cook on vacation, too. Good for you guys!! :)

Here are some ideas:
- Spaghetti (good for leftovers, too)
- Salad (you could top it with chicken tenders or taco meat for a main dish, or use just the lettuce to top other sandwiches throughout the week)
- Omelets
- Biscuits & gravy
- Banana wrap (spread peanut butter on a whole wheat wrap and slice a banana on it. Easy & yummy!)
- Yogurt with granola
- Baby carrots
- Oatmeal

Hopefully this helps. Enjoy your vacation!!



answers from New York on

How about changing it up by having extra breakfast, or dessert, or side dishes, or appetizers for lunch.

pancakes & bacon for lunch.
apple cobbler or stewed pears and ice cream for lunch.
creamed spinach, corn on the cob, and macaroni salad for lunch.
nachos/ potato skins/ hot wings for lunch

all of these can be made up easily and cheaply.

Good luck to you and yours,
F. B.



answers from Eugene on

If driving on vacation, I bring a cooler and load it with leftovers from my freezer.

Breakfast is always cereal and milk, lunch is sandwiches. That keeps things simple, after all, I'm on vacation!

If you're planning to make dinner in the hotel, call them and find out if they provide pots/pans and dishes. If not, you can bring your own, do paper plates or buy prepared foods from the deli, rather than cooking from scratch.

Sometimes I cook from scratch when we have a vacation rental and there is a real kitchen. I'll make something simple like spaghetti... just pasta and a jar of marinara. You can top with cooked meatballs from the frozen food section. Add salad and garlic bread.



answers from Dallas on

Can you bring your crockpot? That way you can load it up and have a great meal waiting for you when you get home. We would have breakfast in our room, lunch out somewhere (or a picnic lunch) and then dinner back at our room or somewhere on the hotel property. Do they have an outside grill you can use? Are there outside picnic tables or other common areas you can enjoy instead of just eating in your room. We have done brisket in the crockpot and chilli and chicken with salsa. I also have brought ravioli (frozen or refrigerated) and added jarred spaghetti sauce (like ragu), added salad and garlic bread (from the store, just heated in the oven). We have had meals of Hillshire farms sausage (cooked in the microwave) and boxed macaroni and cheese. We always try to have some fruit or veggies on hand to help balance out the meals. Often I would buy refrigerated cookies to bake after dinner! - after all, you are on vacation and they smell so good! Have fun!



answers from Portland on

One of our favorite 'easy' meals for camping:

Asparagus salad (can be made ahead, keeps well for a few days)
Instant packaged couscous
smoked salmon (Trader Joes!)

I also make up mac salads in advance. You can do a simple egg/pickle or celery one for the kids and something fancier for yourself if you choose.

Taboulleh is another one I make in advance. You can replace the Bulgar wheat for quinoa if you choose. I prefer it this way, myself. Add the tomatoes in only when you are ready to serve it-- it will keep fresher, longer.

If your kids like it, this is the time to break out the canned goods you might not normally serve at home. Think stews, chilis, the 'noodle-os' type pastas in sauce. We loved the huge can of ravioli as kids (though I think it would make me ill now!).


answers from Minneapolis on

These are some things I've done on vaca:

- pre-make pan of enchiladas and then just heat up (add Spanish rice)
- pre-smoke a turkey and make twice-baked potatoes (just heat up)
- chili in a crock pot
- tortilla pizzas (everyone puts their own together and then just heat in the oven)
- hot dogs/burgers, broccoli salad, cheese dip, chips


answers from Columbia on

Can you bring a grill?

If not...
One-pot pasta meals
Stir fry



answers from New York on

Are you driving there? Can you bring something like a frozen lasagna? We often spend a week on a lake in the mountains and bring meals that have been frozen (they travel well that way) such as chili, lasagna, any kind of casserole, chicken cutlets that you've grilled & frozen (melt cheese add bacon and put on a roll, slice over a salad, add mayo and have chicken salad, mix with stouffers mac & cheese, put in soft tortillas with cheese, tomatoe, etc. and Microwaver, etc.) Bacon cooks well in the microwave (brings lots of paper towels). Hit the freezer section of the nearest WallMart / Target / Trader Joes once you arrive and get frozen dinners (enchiladas, pasta, etc.)



answers from Los Angeles on

Will you have a freezer? If so, you can buy things like frozen chicken nuggets and fries, plus frozen veggies. Super easy to throw into the oven/microwave and put a good lunch on the table. Frozen pizza is great too. Otherwise, sandwiches are going to be your best bet.

If you're staying near a market, you can also buy things like pre-cooked roast chickens or fried chicken, then just heat them when it's time to eat. You can buy packaged rice or pre-cooked rice, potatoes, pasta salad, etc from the market's deli counter.

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