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travel-chanukah

Wouldn’t it be great if a vacation meant to last for one night lasted for eight? Especially if it’s during the holidays when you get to spend more time with family and friends, and enjoy some of the tastiest treats of the year.

Whether you’re staying at your timeshare for one day or eight, taking advantage of the stocked kitchen can be a great way to follow tradition without sacrificing relaxing time away.

Want to take Chanukah on your trip? Here are some fun treats with only a few ingredients that are sure to bring back childhood memories of family celebrations.

 

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Marshmallow Dreidels (From Hostess with the Mostess)

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Easy Potato Latkes (From Sassy Girlz)

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Easiest Sufganiyot Ever (From My Name is Yeh)

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Brisket for Hanukkah (From Mountain Mama Cooks)

travel-thanksgiving

When you think about Thanksgiving, what images pop into your head? Maybe it’s a family gathered around a table, a turkey with all the trimmings and pumpkin pie for dessert? But if you’re spending Thanksgiving on vacation, how do you get the same nostalgic meal without spending an entire vacation day in the kitchen?

To help you out, we’ve pulled together a list of recipes that are a travel-sized, quick-prep twist on Thanksgiving, leaving you the time to enjoy yourself without losing the spirit of the holiday.

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Turkey Sliders (From The Pinning Mama)

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Roasted Green Beans (from Primavera Kitchen)

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Almost Instant Mashed Potatoes (from Relish)

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Quick & Stuffing (from Campbell’s Kitchen)

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Easy Pumpkin Mug Cake (from The Gunny Snack)

Starting to feel like Thanksgiving to you? Great! Don’t forget to snap a picture of everyone sharing or preparing your meal for a chance to win a $100 gift card that you can use to stop by the grocery store on the way to your next meal! Learn more and enter here.

vacation-meal-planning

It’s a fact: Cooking on vacation saves you money. Money you could spend on something more memorable than a breakfast sandwich.

Still, the last thing you want to spend your precious vacation time doing is trying to come up with your next meal. Chances are, you’ll opt for a quicker option that will cost you more than you were hoping to spend. Luckily, with a little planning, you can save yourself the hassle—and some cash.

Plus, by planning your meals ahead of time, you’re actually enjoying the benefits of vacationing even before heading out the door.

So how do you do it? Well, you’re in luck!

Here’s our no-stress guide to vacation meal planning:

Step 1: Review your vacation itinerary.

Remember, you’re going on vacation. You deserve a few fancy meals out, especially if that’s an important part of your vacation experience. So take a look at your schedule. Are you celebrating any special events? Is there a brunch spot everyone says you just have to try? Schedule those meals as “vacation activities” and fill in the rest. If you know you’ll be spending all day at an amusement park, you’ll probably have to buy lunch, but that still leaves breakfast and dinner open. Going to the beach? You can easily pack a lunch that day! Spending the day skiing on the mountain? Pack sandwiches and snacks for everyone as on-mountain dining is pricey. This will help account for how many meals you need to plan for versus what you already anticipate buying.

Step 2: Schedule your meals.

The easiest way to stay organized is to schedule your meals so you aren’t making any game-time decisions—you’ll already know what’s on the menu.  Write it out for each day: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Include your activity meals so you know where the holes are and then start filling them in!

Step 3: Fill in the gaps.

Once you know what meals you plan on making, you can start making a list of what you want to eat. Some you can keep simple; others require more planning. Make sure that your unit has the tools you need to create your meals or that you’re bringing the necessary tool along with you.

Breakfast

This is probably the easiest meal to prepare in your timeshare kitchen, since it can be as simple or as complicated as you like! Try to pick something simple that you don’t mind eating all week long, such as cereal or oatmeal, since it cuts down on how many ingredients you need to buy and doesn’t require much prep or cleaning. Making breakfast burritos ahead of time is a great way for everyone to eat on their own schedule. You can mix it up by adding local fruits or buying a brand of cereal you wouldn’t normally get at home.

Lunch

Think back to your grade school days when brown bag lunches were all the rage. If you’re packing your days full of activities and don’t have time stop back at the room, make sure to pack something you can carry with you. The obvious choice? Sandwiches and wraps. Just like with breakfast, you only have to buy the ingredients and it’ll last you all week.

Snacks

Snacks are critical for vacations because not everyone gets hungry at the same time, and sometimes you don’t need a full meal to satisfy your hunger pain. When it comes to snacks, think simple. Snacks that come individually packaged are great for when you’re on the go. A bag of pretzels or crackers will not only run you significantly less than an impulse French fry purchase, but it will be healthier too! Many grocery stores have single-sized healthy snacks available. And remember, you’re on vacation! Get a few guilty-pleasure snacks, too. It’s okay, we won’t tell.

Dinner

This is where planning becomes important. Know exactly how many meals you are going to make and pick them out ahead of time. This will help you plan your shopping list. Try not to choose anything that may need special hardware. Often times, timeshare units will have things like slow cookers available upon request, but make sure to call ahead and make sure! We doubt you’ll have enough suitcase space to bring your own. Note: It might be good to leave one homemade dinner spot empty. This leaves you the flexibility to go out for dinner if you really don’t feel like cooking or to finish up any leftovers before you head home!

Step 4: Make lists.

Make a list of EVERYTHING you will need to create the dishes on your menu. Even down to the seasonings. Don’t worry, this isn’t your shopping list. Once you have everything written out, see where you have overlap and what you can bring from home. Now make a second list of everything you can bring from home and a third list of everything you’ll still need to buy at the store. Keep quantity in mind.

The goal is to only have to make one trip to the store, and to finish up your vacation without bringing anything extra home.

 

Once you have your lists and your schedule, you’re all set! No more worrying about what’s for dinner. Now you can spend all that extra money and focus on what really matters—you.

Happy Planning!

Not sure what to make? Check out our vacation recipe Pinterest page! Or follow us on Facebook and Twitter for recipes perfect for any vacation.

timeshare-kitchen-what-should-you-bring

Timeshare has you pretty much covered when it comes to the kitchen. You’ll have just about everything you need waiting for you, but there are a few things you might want to grab from home to save yourself some hassle.

Pre-measured spices. You don’t want to have to buy all new spices once you get to the resort, so consider bringing a few basics along with you. Need just a little for one recipe? Consider pre-measuring what you need out in a pill container or plastic baggies to save on space!

Cooking oil. Unless you’ll need a whole bottle for frying, you won’t want to purchase a new one for a couple of recipes. Bring your own, or measure it out into a smaller container.

Non-stick spray. Chances are you won’t use an entire can while you’re there, so bring what you have from home if possible, and save yourself from having to throw out the rest.

Aluminum foil and plastic wrap. Necessary for cooking or saving leftovers, but only if you can spare the room in your suitcase.

Plastic tupperware. Great for leftovers and you can toss them before you head home.

When space is at a premium, it’s important to have a plan. Knowing what you’re going to make helps you plan what you’ll need to bring. If your goal is to save money by cooking on vacation, don’t overspend on what you might not get a chance to use!

Ziploc Bags.  If space is a concern, plastic ziploc bags are the way to go!  They’re great for leftovers, pre-packing ingredients or even non-kitchen items.

Flying? Some things you can carry on the plane, others you can check in your suitcase, but space is still limited. So if you don’t think you’ll be able to buy what you need at a local grocer, consider these tricks for bringing food on a plane:

  • Put boxed foods in plastic bags with the instructions written on the bag to save on weight and space.
  • Dry soups and sauces. Just add water!
  • Bring a rolling or collapsible cooler as a carry on for your frozen or refrigerated foods. (On the way back, use it for souvenirs or leftovers!)

Check out this list of what you can and can’t bring on the plane (under the Food tab).

what-to-expect-in-your-timeshare-kitchen

Unless you have a magical Mary Poppins bag hiding in the back of your closet, packing for vacation means limited space. Luckily, even if you plan to cook while away, there’s no need to worry about missing critical supplies in the kitchen. Standard timeshare units come stocked with all the basics, and even a few things you wouldn’t expect.

Here’s a quick list of what you’ll find in your typical timeshare kitchen:

  • Dinner settings (including plates, silverware & different types of glasses)
  • Bowls & mugs
  • Serving bowl & platter
  • Full set of cookware including skillets, saucepans and stockpot
  • Blender
  • Coffeemaker
  • Toaster
  • Basting spoon
  • Bowl scraper
  • Can opener
  • Casserole dishes
  • Colander
  • Cookie sheet
  • Corkscrew
  • Cutting board
  • Grater
  • Sharp knives
  • Ice cream scoop
  • Measuring cups & spoons
  • Mixing bowls
  • Spatulas
  • Pizza cutter
  • Roast pan
  • Tongs
  • Slotted spoon
  • Vegetable peeler

See something missing? We suggest picking up disposable bakeware from the baking aisle in the local grocery store. Or try popping down to the front desk! Many resorts have a limited supply of cooking tools such as crock pots available for use.

So when you’re putting together your vacation meal plan, don’t forget to check this list or with the resort you’re headed to in order to make sure you’re not planning any meals that require tools you won’t have, (unless you plan on packing them, of course!)

Why-Cook-On-Vacation

You’re probably thinking, the last thing I want to do on vacation is cook. And we don’t blame you. Vacations are about kicking back and finally getting to unwind. They’re about having fun, trying new things, and getting away from what you’re used to. So why take time away from other activities to cook a meal?

But think about why you don’t associate vacations and cooking. Chances are, unless you’re lucky enough to have grown up with timeshare vacations (and we hope you are), you spent a lot of time in hotels, which meant no kitchens. You probably ate every meal out or ordered in room service. That’s the life, right?

Don’t get us wrong—there’s something really magical about a professional chef preparing you a gourmet meal, and even more so when you’re not stuck cleaning the dishes.

But how much did that fancy meal cost? Now multiply that two to three times each day you’re on vacation and watch the dollars add up. Ouch.

So why consider cooking on vacation?

It saves you money. Not every meal has to be fancy or expensive. A bowl of cereal in the morning means you can splurge on dinner without going over your vacation budget.

Flexible meal times. You never miss the freedom of making yourself a sandwich until you’re starving and no one else is hungry. Plus, throwing together a quick snack leaves more time for other activities throughout the day.

Stress less about dietary restrictions. Don’t be limited by your restaurant options. Take control of your meals and don’t feel like you have to eat every meal at the only gluten-free restaurant in town.

Make food part of the vacation experience. Part of vacations is getting to do things you wouldn’t normally do. Cooking with local ingredients or making something you’ve never made before can be just as exciting as exploring a new place. If your vacation is about spending time with loved ones, then invite them to join! (Because who doesn’t love an excuse to make s’mores?)

Cooking on vacation brings families together, offering you the freedom and flexibility to customize your vacation any way you want. That’s why 90% of vacationers said kitchens improved their vacation experience!

And with timeshare, you’ll never again be stuck eating pizza on the bed.

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The holidays are now just around the corner, which means family gatherings, big meals, and for many—vacation! It’s the reason we stash away days all year long, so we can spend this special time with those we love.

And with food being such a big part of the season, we want to share how cooking with timeshare can be a part of your holiday vacation by getting in the holiday giving spirit.

In November, we gave away $100 American Express gift cards to our two randomly chosen winners to use on travel snacks, holiday goodies, or key ingredients they’ll need for that holiday meal! In December, we’ll be giving away three more prizes to make your holidays even brighter!

Entries received in December are elibible to win one of three KitchenAid countertop appliances, including a Tilt-Head Stand Mixer, a Countertop Oven, or a 5-Speed Diamond Blender!

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To enter, simply share a picture of you and your family/friends preparing or enjoying a meal. Whether baking cookies or basting the turkey, capture a unique moment and share it with us!

So help us add some cheer to your season by sharing your vacation memories with us!

Do you measure a vacation’s value by finding a good deal on airfare? Getting a chance to relax?  Spending precious time with your loved ones?  Chances are, it means different things to different people.  Over the last decade, there have been numerous studies conducted to measure the value of vacation.  The good news is that the research has found vacations are good for you—that taking regular time away has positive effects on health, well-being, job performance, relationships, and lifestyle.

The bad news is that millions of Americans each year choose to ignore the evidence.  Last year, 169 million Americans did not take all of their earned vacations days!

In a new infographic from the American Resort Development Association (ARDA), taking time to get away has important health and lifestyle benefits that, if neglected, can lead to negative consequences.  Ever hear of burnout?  Yes, research has found that people who don’t take time to reset their batteries are more likely to suffer from burnout.  Everything from work performance, added stress, strained relationships, and decreased mental stamina are among the many negative results from not taking time to get away from the everyday schedule and pace of life.

The timeshare industry and its owners say that in addition to the lasting health benefits, the pre-paid nature of ownership guarantees that you will vacation at least once a year and ensures you take future vacations.  In fact, owners save $18,160 over 18 years of vacationing with timeshare, compared to an average hotel vacation over the same time period.

But the real value of taking regular time off with loved ones is the special memories it creates.  How do you place a value on that?

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WhichIsBetter

When it’s finally time to take a vacation, is it better to take a few long weekends or plan a bigger getaway? According to a recent Wall Street Journal study, longer vacations aren’t necessarily better for your well-being than shorter ones. If your goal is to create an ideal vacation—one that boosts your well-being, relieves the stress that can impact our health, and helps your recharge before returning to work—then it’s more than just the amount of time you spend away that you need to consider.

Vacations are like sleep. You need regular recovery from work in order to stay healthy, so those weekend getaways might be just what you need, especially if you’re only taking one long trip a year. But a long trip also gives you the time to really relax and disconnect. Both are necessary for your well-being.

How do you get the most out of your vacation, regardless of its length? Consider these tips:

Plan farther ahead and anticipate the trip – the days before and after a vacation are almost as important as the vacation itself. Anticipating the vacation is when you’re the most excited because anything is possible! The longer you spend being excited about getting away, the more time you spend reaping the benefits of vacationing.

See or do something new – for those who struggle to decide whether to go someplace new or return to somewhere they love, The Wall Street Journal reports that psychologists recommend a new experience every time—either by visiting a new place or trying a new activity. New memories have the greatest impact on your vacation happiness since similar trip to the same place tend to blend together over time.

Maximize the start and finish of your vacation – the beginning and end of a vacation will usually leave the greatest impression. You remember the feeling of walking into your luxury room for the first time and the last family meal you shared before catching your flight home, so try to make those days extra special.

Vacations improve our lives, and research proves they help keep us happy and healthy. Studies show that vacations reduce the risk of heart attacks and depression, relieve stress and can lead to improved work performance and creativity.

So, however you decide to take your vacation days, just be sure to take them all!