Vacation Frugality

Heather says:

I’m home from our surprise getaway and although I’m still twitching from sudden Internet withdrawal, I have been assured it is harmless and will eventually stop.

So, what does one do when they find themselves with a vacation that has not been budgeted for?  Well, if there is a refrigerator, bring along the crockpot.  Seriously folks, I used Meredith as my inspiration and searched my cupboards and freezer for meals that were minimal work.  Sandwiches were used to fill in the gaps.  Six people ate for five days and four nights without breaking the bank.  We did eat out a couple times*, but we planned for those meals.

I used the in room microwave to heat vegetables to round out the meals and we had cold cereal* for breakfast several days.

Our menu:

  • pot roast with onion, celery, carrots, and potatoes (cut with a butter knife because I forgot to pack my chef knife)
  • chicken burritos
  • Faux sloppy joes (ground beef cooked in the crockpot, drained, crumbled with a spatula and heated with BBQ sauce)

Looking back, if I had more time to plan, I would have brought some of the ingredients in storage containers, baggies, or twists of plastic wrap rather than in their full containers.  If the fridge in our room had been any more compact, we would have had to resort to utilizing the cooler.  For those concerned that I spent my vacation slaving away over the crockpot, let me assure you that I’d rather fill a slowcooker with ingredients than be responsible for slathering sunscreen on the squirming baby before trekking out to the beach.  Really, it was a fair trade-off.

If you brought your crockpot, what would you plan on cooking?

*As an aside I must note that there was an hour’s wait at the seafood restaurant on a Monday night; some people must still be spending money hand over fist.  While I am sure a few of those in line were of the frugal sort who had saved up for the treat, the overall mood of the place was jaded and reminescent of shuffling cattle through gates.  I don’t think we’ll be visiting another calabash a long, long time, much to my crableg loving stepdaughter’s dismay.


  1. Pamela on February 26, 2013 at 9:34 pm

    We did this last year on our mountain vacation. We used the crockpot for several of the meals that week. I just loaded up the crockpot in the morning before we headed out for the day. When we returned in the evening dinner was ready to go. One morning we even had crockpot Irish oatmeal with apples that was fantastic. Check Pinterest for tons of great recipes. We are a large family so having several homecooked meals with minimal work was worth the time spent planning.

  2. Roddy the Traveller on October 1, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    As far as frugality, they didn’t start living in that style until after he had
    made his money and could live off the interest if I recall.

  3. […] Heather from Home-Ec 101 raided her freezer for quick vacation foods for her busy family.  […]

  4. TravelGirlDC on June 30, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    If you are going to use your crock pot while on vacation you should bring along some slow cooker liners to make clean up a snap.

  5. warillever on June 26, 2008 at 5:02 pm

    We are heading out on vacation tomorrow morning. I am bringing along a menu and shopping list for “disaster meals” that can be made without cooking or refrigeration — 4 bean salad, tuna sandwiches, gazpacho, etc.

    I’ll tell you how it went when we return.

  6. tink on June 26, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    ::smackin self in forehead::::

    The crockpot! I can’t believe I never thought of the crockpot!

    Excellent idea. Thanks!

  7. EarthlyJane on June 26, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    WOW!!!! I would have never thought of that!!! Everytime we’ve ever gone on a vacation, we “break the bank” with food.
    But this is sooo much better!

  8. Patia on June 26, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    Great idea. I personally love trying new foods when I’m traveling, but if there’s a fridge I always stock up on yogurt, fruit, cheese and other things for breakfast, as well as snacks.

    I really ought to use my crockpot more. I think I will run an extension cord out to my mudroom this summer, so that it doesn’t heat up my house.

  9. Heidi @ Carolina Dreamz on June 26, 2008 at 11:14 am

    I not only bring my crock pot but started bringing an electric skillet or griddle when we go camping, if our site is not primitive, which since leaving California, hasn’t been any problem, anywhere.

    You should have heard my jokes about my glorified hotel stay, at Henrico’s hospital, in Virginia.

    My “vacation” was not frugal.. its the first time and I really was alone for most of it.. so not so bad in the food department.

    Glad to be home..

  10. Rapunzel on June 26, 2008 at 11:04 am

    Years ago when my then-husband and I took our three kids to Disney World, we did the same thing! We rented a small townhouse (got a great deal) and brought the crockpot, dinner ingredients, breakfast items, etc. We had breakfast before we hit the park, brought snacks & juices in the diaper bag, shared a lunch at the park and then had an early dinner late in the afternoon. It was perfect because during the heat of the day we were in our room, kids napping, then we went back to the park in the evening once the sun went down.

    We do the same thing when we go to the Keys for a week, share a house with a bunch of friends and we all go shopping together and share the grocery bill. We probably go out to eat one night during our stay but for the rest of the time it’s home cooked meals, including the crockpot.

    Since my kids are vegetarian, I will make a pot of chili using veggie crumbles, also have good luck with stuffed peppers. Easy, hearty and cheap!

  11. Tiffany on June 26, 2008 at 10:52 am

    This is a great idea. I will be joining my husband on a business trip in the coming weeks, and this would be a great way to save a bunch of money while we are away!

  12. La Rêveuse on June 26, 2008 at 10:46 am

    Just an aside on the squirming baby sunscreen debacle–the new spray sunscreens are the bomb. You can also spray their heads if they are non-hat-loving-fair-haired-near-baldies, like my own. Just don’t touch it or it gets greased down guido-style, but if you let it dry as is you barely notice it. You can chase them as they crawl away and get the backs and backs of legs. It’s really brilliant. I use Banana Boat Baby. Love it for myself, too. Never going back to handfuls of greasy white cream!

  13. hsgbdmama on June 26, 2008 at 8:32 am

    Bringing the crockpot is certainly an interesting idea! I’ll be watching this with interest. 🙂

    For breakfasts, all the hotels we stay at have continnental breakfasts, which work out fine for us. Sandwich fixings (with bread and tortilla wraps for some variety 😉 ) has worked well for us.

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