5 Meal Planning Prep Tips For Your Vacation Rental Stay

Do you plan to stay in a vacation rental for your next trip? The added space, convenient locations, and homey atmospheres of vacation rentals make them more popular than ever. One of the best advantages a rented condo or house can offer travelers is a full kitchen. How can you make the best of that kitchen? Here are five planning tips.

1. Reach Out to the Host

Read the rental listing carefully to note what the kitchen actually provides. This listing may be very detailed or it may be more generalized. If you still aren't clear about what's included, reach out to the owner or host to clarify. And if you have a particular need or affinity for something, ask about it directly. 

2. Check Out the Area

Before you plan what to bring with you and what to buy there, check out what's offered in the immediate vicinity. Are there supermarkets, community markets, specialized stores (such as fresh seafood in a beach town), and local restaurants within easy reach? You can find out a lot about businesses in the area using online resources like maps and review sites. 

3. Bring Your "Must Haves"

What kitchen items can you not live without? If that perfect cup of your own coffee would make your trip better, consider the feasibility of bringing along the maker. Depending on your style, this "must have" list might include sharp knives, your own spices, your fancy blender, or bar accessories. Make sure you don't overload yourself, though, if you can't fit a lot in your luggage. 

4. Meal Plan in Advance

Meal planning isn't everyone's forte but it will make a vacation a lot smoother. This is particularly important if you're part of a group. Write down not only the meals you plan to make but also a detailed list of ingredients — even if you know the recipes well. If you don't write it down, you may end up lacking that one vital ingredient while staying 20 miles from town. 

5. Plan to Eat Out

Even though you have a good kitchen in your rental unit, do plan to eat out occasionally. You might arrive the first day tired and harried. Or you might not feel like cooking after cleaning the kids up from their day at the beach. Or you might want to sneak out for a romantic dinner. Even if you're on a tight budget, a meal or two made by others will hit the spot at some point. 

Where to Start

The best place to begin crafting your cooking plan is to talk with experienced hosts about the options in their vacation rentals. The more you understand what to expect, the better your own plans will be. Start today by touring a vacation rental at your destination.