How to Cook for a Large Group When You’re on Vacation

Cooking for a group is oftentimes the last thing you want to worry about when you are on vacation. Cooking for a large group while on vacation can be both stressful and overwhelming. If you follow these simple steps, however, they are sure to relieve any stress you may have.

By following the steps below, you will no longer have to be overwhelmed by cooking on vacation. You will be able to enjoy your vacation rather than being worried about cooking the whole time.

1. Stay Somewhere that Has a Kitchen

When you are cooking for a large group while you are on vacation, the most effective method of cooking would be to find a facility with a kitchen. For example, finding a hotel room with a built-in kitchen or a rental vacation house will allow you to have space to both prepare your meals as well as storing the food needed to prepare the meals.

When you have the option of cooking in a kitchen, it can allow you to enjoy a variety of foods. Instead of being stuck with basic foods, you can cook the exotic food of whichever culture you are currently visiting.

If you choose a facility with a kitchen, make sure you know what equipment they will have available for you. For example, ensure you are aware of what pots, pans, utensils, and other kitchen gear the facility provides. By doing so, it will allow for you to plan your meals accordingly and avoid bringing duplicate tools.

2. Ensure There are Grocery Stores Close-By

When you are on vacation, you will most likely not have much room to pack an overabundance of food. Due to this lack of storage space, you will have to bring little to no food, yet you will still need to prepare your meals.

Since you may not be able to bring food with you to your vacation destination, it is essential to do research on the area before you arrive. Do research to discover where the local residents shop for their food, whether it be a grocery store or a farmers market.

Ensure you are aware of what the local area has, to alleviate any stress that they may not have what you are looking for.

3. Plan Out what Meals to Cook Beforehand

Planning your meals ahead of time is a great time saver if you are planning to go on vacation. Meal prepping allows for you to know exactly what you will need to bring with you, and allows for you to have greater control over the entire meal situation.

Meal prepping is a pivotal aspect of cooking for large groups while on vacation. Planning the meals for you and your group allows for you to prepare certain items ahead of time as you know exactly what it is that needs to be done for each one of your meals.

For example, you can bring or purchase pre-chopped vegetables or pre-washed fruit to your vacation. Doing so before you travel will save you time as well as energy. You will be grateful for every spare minute, as you can use it to enjoy other facets of your vacation.

Planning your meals ahead of time allows you to spend much less time worrying about cooking your meals. By planning ahead of time, you will be aware of exactly what needs to be cooked on a certain day, how much time you will need to prepare the meal, and what still needs to be purchased in order to prepare it.

By meal prepping, it allows for you to spend more time enjoying yourself at your destination and with your group, rather than having to stress about avoidable factors such as cooking.

4. Shop in Bulk

Shopping in bulk is essential when you are cooking for a large group.

When you are shopping in bulk, it is essential to choose the right stores to shop at. Shopping in bulk at stores such as Costco and Sam’s Club are effective as you receive more product for a less expensive price.

On top of saving you money, it saves you time. You shouldn’t have to make more than one trip to the grocery store.

In addition to purchasing items at bulk stores such as Costco or Sam’s Club, purchasing items in bulk bins is also very effective. By purchasing items in bulk bins, it allows you to get exactly how much you need. After meal prepping, you will be aware of how much of each ingredient you will need, and shopping at the bulk bins is a great way to get these ingredients.

Bulk bins are very effective when purchasing dry ingredients such as flour, spices, or even nuts. However, when you need perishable items, bulk bins may not be too handy. Despite this downfall, they are very effective for bulk buying dry ingredients. When purchasing in bulk, always keep the bulk bins in mind as they are oftentimes forgotten but can be extremely useful.

Buying in bulk is less expensive than buying smaller quantities for a large group. However, it is important to keep in mind that you do not want to travel with too much food. Purchasing imperishable foods in bulk is oftentimes the most effective while on vacation.

If you are traveling to a different place every night, bulk buying might not be right for you, as it can take up a lot of space.

5. Use coolers

Using coolers once you have bought your food is a must. By using coolers, you can travel with perishable items such as milk and cheese.

You also can purchase foods that need to be refrigerated prior to arriving at your destination. Depending on how much refrigerated food you will need for your group size while on vacation, it can determine how many coolers you will need.

For example, if you are needing large amounts of perishable foods, then you will need multiple coolers. However, if you only need a few items, then one cooler will be plenty.

In addition to remembering to bring multiple coolers, remember to pack your coolers efficiently. Do not put too many perishable items in one cooler as it may result in one item being much colder at the expense of another item.

You can also buy Styrofoam disposable coolers or bring collapsible coolers if you are flying to your vacation spot instead of driving.

6. Pack What You Can’t Buy

When traveling across the country or even just to a more local vacation, you will likely not have very much space. Due to this, only bring what you absolutely need. This applies to both food and cooking equipment.

By doing research on the local grocery stores and knowing what equipment is available to you, this will not be difficult. You will be aware of what is available to you and what you will need to bring.

Do not bring any equipment or food that you think there is a possibility that you will not need. Only bring items that you know will be essential to cook your meals.

Oftentimes it can be beneficial to physically write down everything that will be available to you and everything that you may need to cook your meals. This will allow you to see exactly what you need to bring and to decide whether or not the items you have written down are absolutely essential.

7. Simplify your meals

When you are cooking for a large group, it is vital that you simplify your meals. While it may be exciting to enjoy various foods, it can oftentimes be a hassle, overwhelming, and increases the cost of your vacation. Your group will appreciate any effort you put into cooking, and will not be disappointed if their meals are simple and delicious.

When on vacation, you want to enjoy as much time as possible enjoying the destination, without the worry of having to provide meals. To reduce this worry, make your meals as simple as possible.

Simplifying your meals does not have to exclude any of the important factors when it comes to enjoying food. Cooking while on vacation should be fun and exciting; once you are stressed about having to cook your meals of choice, they have become too complicated and it is time to reassess and simplify.

8. Split Up the Duties

Planning out every single meal can be a hard task, and can make the idea of taking a vacation not as fun. If you are traveling with friends or lots of others, split up the meals.

Planning the meals together is still a great idea, but maybe assign everyone one or two days of cooking and make them responsible for it. This will make it less stressful.

If you are the only adults on the vacation, this might not be possible, but try to incorporate and get help from others so you can focus on making memories instead of prepping, cooking, and cleaning up for every meal.

9. Know What Equipment You Will Have

It’s great to plan your meals, but make sure you can actually cook your meals. Either bring or call ahead to where you’re staying out so you know what you can actually use to cook with.

Don’t plan on making waffles if you don’t know a waffle iron will be there. Some places have grills on-premises or near-by but it’s nice to know if you can grill the burgers you are planning on making before you get there.

If all you will have is a hot plate and a microwave, adjust your planned out meals accordingly.

We hope this helps make your vacation meals a success.

Anna Silver

Anna Silver is the principal creator of, a website dedicated to new go-to original recipes. Inspired by her grandmother’s love of cooking, Anna has a passion for treating the people in her life to delicious homemade food and loves to share her family recipes with the rest of the world.

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