The Proven Grocery Guide to Stocking Your Vacation Rental Home

There are many reasons why you may need to do some shopping before going on a vacation rental. For starters, if the rental is in a remote location, it helps to have the kitchen fully stocked before you arrive. Second, as we are in the midst of a pandemic, many people are limiting their dining options and choosing to stay rather than go out to a location other than their hometown. Third, it’s a convenient and fun way to cook meals without spending tons of money or leaving the comfort of your own cabin or vacation cabin.

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That being said, it’s not always an easy challenge to figure out what everyone will want to eat while on vacation. We all know that a vacation craving is completely different from an ordinary home craving – and that can make things difficult. Are you investing in protein to keep in the fridge, and if so, what will you do with the waste? Are fresh produce a good idea? How many snacks are needed for a week’s vacation? We’ve got the answers you need, plus the essentials for any vacation rental kitchen.

Find out what’s for rent before you shop

If you’re renting through Airbnb or VRBO, sometimes the kitchen will be pre-stocked with non-perishable items, at least. There may also be drinks such as bottled water in the fridge, so it’s always good to know whether or not something will be stored before a traveler arrives. Many times it will even be stated in the description of the vacation rental whether or not there will be something.

a couple rents an airbnb


If some things are stored, it makes vacation rental shopping even easier! Just cross the items off your list. Plus, you can figure out how to plan a menu if items like condiments or ingredients for baking, and even spices, are already in the rental kitchen.

Research nearby grocery stores and plan your meals in advance

If a rental is located in a remote location, that could make it difficult when it comes to shopping on the fly. It just means that all purchases will have to be made in advance, with chilled and frozen items kept on ice in a cooler until tenants arrive.

farmer's market vegetables

via Shutterstock

If there is a grocery store nearby, then the job is a little less stressful – if something is forgotten, at least you’ll know that a store is right next door. Plus, a nearby grocery store also eliminates the need to go shopping before you go, if you don’t mind leaving a little earlier and spending that time shopping. If a grocery store can’t be found, change gears and look for markets or farm stalls instead – often small towns and rural areas will have them instead. A smaller grocery store can also help plan meals for the week, with local ingredients taking center stage on all dishes on the menu.

Figure out which non-perishable items can come from your own home and make a shopping list

It’s probably common sense, but it’s something not many people think of. If you are already well stocked with snacks at home, why not bring some with you? This also applies to drinks and anything that might expire or go bad during your week – this is a great time to bring them in and eat them on the way or while on vacation.

Bahamian grocery store

via Turf to Surf

If travelers are able to provide food for hire from their own homes, then half the job is already done. It will also help shape the future grocery list since you will be able to cross off things that you don’t need to buy. Hello, tip for saving money!

The basics of the shopping list

More often than not, you will need to purchase at least a few things for a vacation rental. The easiest thing to do is plan meals that can be cooked outside on a grill or inside on the stove because they are quick and easy. A shopping list can be broken down into several main parts: dairy products and bread, meats, products, drinks, and paper items. In terms of dairy, milk for coffee, eggs for morning breakfast (unless you plan to eat out or enjoy a local breakfast), butter, bread or rolls suitable for toast and sandwich bread, and cheese or yogurt for snacking. Meats can include anything you’re going to grill during your stay, as well as meat for breakfast like sausage and bacon, and cold cuts for lunchtime sandwiches.


The products are really a personal preference and boil down to snacking on fruits (bananas, berries, apples, etc.), as well as vegetables that can be used for snacking or for dinner. Vegetables to snack on include carrot sticks, peppers, celery, etc. Finally, paper items include paper plates, cups, utensils, napkins, foil, and paper towels – but check to see if the rental already has these items.

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