Vacation Meal Planning Template: FREE Printable PDF and Google Sheets

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Stretch your vacation budget by using my Vacation Meal Planning Template to organize your family vacation meals. Eat out when you want, but save money by cooking some easy vacation meals the whole family will love.

Vacation Meal Planning Template

Introduction to Vacation Meal Planning

Planning meals for a family vacation might sound like just another task on an endless to-do list. But, it can actually be the golden ticket to a stress-free getaway. Imagine your whole family, from the little ones to the tech-savvy teens, gathered around a beach house table, enjoying a meal that didn’t break the bank, requiring a frantic search for a local grocery store, and avoiding the hassle of getting everyone to agree on a restaurant. That’s what vacation meal planning can offer you. 

My husband and I met in high school while we lived in Panama City, Florida. Going to the beach was a regular part of our lives. When we started our family, it was very important to us that our kids were able to enjoy the beach as well. We have taken a family beach vacation almost every year for the past 30-plus years. From traveling with infants and toddlers and now with grown married children, we’ve planned a lot of family vacation meals. I’d say we have it down to a science! 

We do NOT cook every single meal on vacation. We have some favorite restaurants that we plan into our vacation meal plan. However, no one wants to have to leave the beach or condo to go out for every single meal. 


By taking a bit of time before you hit the road to map out your week’s menu with easy recipes, you can save a ton of money, avoid the hassle of deciding what to eat every day, and ensure you’ve got plenty of time left for family fun. It’s all about making vacation dining a breeze with simple vacation meal planning templates, grocery lists, and meal ideas that cater to every day of the week. 

What you’ll love about my Vacation Meal Planning Template: 

  • Vacation meal planning saves time and money: Pre-planning meals cuts down on the need for expensive dining out and grocery runs during the trip. 
  • Enhances the vacation experience: Scheduled meals and snacks mean more quality family time and less stress about food. 
  • Templates and lists simplify the process: Utilizing meal planning templates, including grocery lists and meal ideas, makes prep easy and efficient.

Benefits of Planning Your Meals

A family vacation should be about creating unforgettable memories and spending quality time together, not fretting over meals. That’s where the magic of meal planning truly shines. Imagine sitting down to a beach vacation meal, lovingly prepared in your vacation rental, without the last-minute dash to local grocery stores. It’s not just about the delicious meals you’ll enjoy or the ton of money you’ll save; it’s about the whole family coming together, and sharing their favorite meals. With the money you’ll save by eating out less, you can explore new places and make more family memories together. 

Easy Dinner Ideas

Pictured above: Crockpot Garlic Parmesan Chicken Pasta, Bang Bang Shrimp Tacos, Carnitas Tacos, Mayo Chicken Bake, and Meatballs and Gravy

By dedicating time before the trip to plan your meals, from handy quick meals, to including more healthy food and easy recipes, you turn meal prep from a chore into a delightful part of your vacation. With a vacation meal plan template, your groceries organized in a neat shopping list, and every day of the week accounted for, the meal planning process becomes a joyful preamble to the adventure that awaits. So, let’s make every meal a highlight of our journey, an easy way to save not just a ton of money but also precious family time. 

Getting Started with Meal Planning

Starting the journey of vacation meal planning might seem daunting at first, but I promise you, it’s worth the initial effort. For us, the key has always been to include the whole family in the meal planning process. We gather around the dinner table, each with our favorite vacation meal ideas, ready to create a menu of easy vacation meals and delicious snacks. It’s a great way to bond and ensure that everyone’s tastes are accounted for, making those family vacation moments extra special. 

Engaging the whole family in the decision-making process not only makes for some fun pre-vacation excitement but also simplifies the meal planning process tremendously. Whether we’re staying in a beach house or a vacation rental, we plan a variety of meal types, considering the days of the week we’ll be away, being sure to include some healthy meals that are also quick to whip up. Then I create a categorized shopping list from those meal ideas for each day, which saves us a ton of money and reduces the time spent in local grocery stores. 

Vacation Meal Planning Template - Weekly Meal Planners

Vacation Meal Planning Templates

I know planning vacation meals can sound daunting, but what if I told you there’s an easy way, a method that ensures you spend more time building sandcastles at the beach house and less time worrying about what’s for dinner? Yes, I’m talking about the life-saver: my simple vacation meal planning templates

These beauties are not just any templates. I’ve designed them as a one-size-fits-all solution, keeping in mind the uniqueness of every family. Whether you have a large family with teens and young children, you’re eager to savor healthy meals without spending a ton of money, or you’re a tight-knit bunch itching to try easy recipes in new places, I’ve got you covered. 

What’s included:

  • Weekly Meal Planners – with start days of Saturday, Sunday, Monday and a blank one just in case your vacation begins on a different day of the week
  • Detailed Grocery List
  • 7 Recipe Cards
  • Access to a Google Sheets version of the Vacation Meal Planning Template

Compiling Your Favorite Recipes

Imagine you’re nestled in your cozy vacation rental. The evening rolls around, and it’s time to whip up one of your favorite meals. But, oh no, there’s no internet access to pull up that go-to recipe. That’s where my recipe template saves the day! Before you even pack your bags, take a moment to jot down those simple recipes that are your family favorites. Whether it’s easy vacation meals that remind you of home or quick meals that get you back to your adventures, having a detailed step-by-step recipe for each dish is a lifesaver. It also allows you to hand the recipe to someone else so you aren’t the one cooking every night. 

Vacation Meal Planning Templates

The perfect tools to plan and organize your vacation meals.

Vacation Meal Planning Template PDF pages

Vacation Meal Planning Template
PDF Version

Vacation Meal Planning Template - Google Sheets

Vacation Meal Planning Template
Google Sheets Version

Creating Your Grocery List

Once you’ve rounded up your family’s favorite meals, filling out the grocery list template is your next easy step toward vacation meal prep ease. Referencing your weekly menu and recipes will help you tackle the task quickly. Whether we’re planning for beach house dinners or quick snacks on road trips, listing every ingredient needed for your go-to meals means no more last-minute dashes to local grocery stores. 

This simple method has saved us a ton of money, allowing us to explore new places with a bit more in our pocket. With every meal listed by day of the week and meal type, creating the shopping list is simple. Organizing the list into categories will also make for efficient grocery shopping. Whether it’s for a large family or a cozy getaway for two, this is one of the most important steps in the meal planning process. 

Grocery List

Quick Meal and Snack Solutions for Your Vacation

In addition to easy vacation meals, you should also prepare a slew of quick and easy snack ideas. Preparing for family vacations, easy recipes and snacks are life-savers, saving both time and a whole lot of money. 

Use your vacation meal plan template and list out those easy meals like savory slow cooker concoctions or refreshing wraps. Include healthy snacks for the entire week and add them to your shopping list. Add portable snacks for long drives or to eat while out discovering new places. A little effort now in your meal planning ensures endless moments of joy with your family, watching those breathtaking sunsets.

Easy Dinner Recipes

delicious recipes your family will love

20 Easy to Make
Weeknight Dinner Recipes

This cookbook contains 20 easy-to-cook family dinners. You’ll have enough dinner ideas for 4 weeks without repeating a meal. Every recipe has a picture of the dish. At the bottom of each recipe is a link to the recipe post on FindingTimeToFly.com. Simply click on the link, and you’ll be taken directly to the recipe post with step-by-step in process photos.

Your Path to Stress-Free Vacation Dining

Armed with simple vacation meal planning templates, a library of easy recipes, and an array of quick meals and snacks, the burden of deciding what to eat and the dread of grocery shopping marathons are now a tale of the past. Your organized grocery list and planned-out delicious meals will make your vacation more enjoyable and maximize family time.

The beauty of meal planning shines through in every bite of home-cooked food, every delicious meal shared amidst laughter, and every dollar saved, making space for more explorations and priceless memories. So, as you plan your next destination, let this guide help you experience the joy of meal planning and be the compass that directs you to an unforgettable vacation dining experience.

Here’s to stress-free dining under the stars, by the beach house, or wherever your adventures may lead.

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Vacation Meal Planning Template

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