The First 5 Things to Buy at the Grocery Store While You’re on Vacation

Some staples for your vacation rental.

This article originally appeared on Kitchn.

If you’re renting a house or apartment for your summer vacation, you’re probably planning to do a little cooking. Whether that means grilling all week or simply using the kitchen as a place to make a pile of scrambled eggs for everyone in the morning, you’ll have to hit the grocery store at some point—so let’s talk grocery list.

Before you even start jotting down the burger buns and chips, there are a few absolute essentials to stock your rental kitchen with to guarantee vacation meal success.


Mini Salt and Pepper Grinders

Photo by Emma Christensen

The king and queen of seasoning obviously deserve first place in your adopted kitchen. While most grocery stores sell small combo packs of them with the pepper already ground, try to grab the mini grinders instead. That way your pepper will be fresh and fragrant instead of powdery and tasteless.

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Olive Oil

You’ll need some sort of cooking fat to work with, and olive oil fits the bill for its versatility—cook with it, drizzle it over salads, dunk bread into it, and more. But the regular-sized bottles are heavy and it’s unlikely you’ll use it all by the time vacation is over. Instead, look for a small, travel-friendly bottle.



A bag of lemons is exactly what you need to brighten up any and all foods. Whisk some juice with olive oil, salt, and pepper and you’ve got a simple vinaigrette for salad. Squeeze a half over that chicken or fish you’re grilling for instant flavor. Or just drop a wedge into a glass of iced tea and go relax—you’re on vacation.

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Because vacation means sleeping in and rolling into breakfast at your leisure. You’ll be wanting eggs, whether scrambled, fried, or poached—trust us. They also make an easy dinner when you’ve been out swimming all day and are even too tired to fire up that grill.

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A Loaf of Crusty Bread

This loaf can evolve throughout the week, which is exactly why it’s an essential ingredient. On day one, enjoy some as is with that olive oil you bought, or slice it for sandwiches. The next day, make toast to accompany your eggs. Then on day three, cube the stale remainder for panzanella or croutons. One loaf, so many ways.