Apr 23 2008

Food to take on our flight to Florida


It’s less than a month until Shane and I fly to Florida for his sister’s wedding! We’re so excited for this little vacation, and to spend some time with family.

As I’ve mentioned, eight of us are staying in a vacation home, complete with a full kitchen. To save money, we’re going to cook some of our meals in the vacation house. I’m planning on packing a suitcase full of non-perishable foods purchased from my Aldi store in Pittsburgh, as there doesn’t seem to be an Aldi near where we’re going. We’ll pick up perishable items from a Publix nearby, for which I have a $5 off $50 coupon thanks to my Entertainment Book. (By the way, for those of you who shop at Publix: Do I need a store card to get discounts?)

Here’s some meal ideas I’m considering. I’d really appreciate your help with other ideas. We’re looking for foods that are easy to prepare and don’t require a ton of extra ingredients or special cookware.

Ingredients with a * indicate I’ll buy them at Aldi and bring down.


Lemonade* (powdered stuff)
Coffee* (When going to hotels, I typically save the individual coffee packets. I’ll take some of those and some extra filters).


Fill a small container of oats for oatmeal*
Dry boxed cereal*
Pancake mix*


Ground beef
Sour cream
Taco seasoning*
Refried beans*

Hamburgers/hot dogs on the grill

Pickle relish*
Sliced cheese
Fruit salad (I’ll bring canned mandarin oranges and pineapple)
Deli potato salad

Deli sandwiches/ PBJ

Deli meat
Condiments from above, and possibly mayo*
Peanut butter*


Bagged popcorn*
Jell-o mix*
Florida citrus


Salt & pepper*
Electrasol tabs for the dishwasher*
Laundry detergent (thank you, free samples!)*
Trash bags*
Paper plates*

I might be looking for one more dinner idea. We’ll have two dinners covered (rehearsal dinner and wedding) and then we’ll need to eat three dinners at home or in a restaurant, one or two lunches at the airport, and five breakfasts. I imagine we’ll eat at a restaurant once or twice, but we’ll probably eat most of our meals in the rental house.

I’ll pack these foods in a sturdy suitcase and put it with my checked luggage. For the return trip, we’ll either put that suitcase inside another one so we don’t have to tote around an empty bag.

Help me out! What am I missing? What are good packable meal ideas?

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20 Responses to “Food to take on our flight to Florida”

  1. Hi Kacie,

    Publix does not have discount cards. Another option you might want to try while down here in the Sunshine State is Winn Dixie or Sav-A-Lot. Winn Dixie’s do have discount cards and when they are having a sale they are having a sale. The Sav-A-Lots seem a lot like your Aldis (which I wish you could bring those with you down here). Except they take manufacturers coupons for stuff, so it makes things even cheaper.

  2. Thanks for the heads-up, Molly! I’ll have to check out exactly which groceries are near our rental house. We’ll be staying on the eastern end of Fort Myers Beach.

  3. Don’t forget to pack liquids (syrup) especially, but perhaps some other items in large ziplocs- and double bag the syrup. You don’t want that to bust open. You could always do a sweet bread with a mix- just take a disposable pan along with you. What about Mac n’ cheese? Here’s an easy homemade recipe:

    1 cup elbow noodles
    3 eggs
    1 1/4 c milk
    shredded cheese
    salt and pepper to taste

    Cook your noodles. Mix eggs and milk together; salt and pepper to taste. In buttered 1 qt. casserole dish, put half of the noodles, layer genrously with cheese and repeat once more. Pour egg mixture on top and bake uncovered at 350* for about 35 minutes- until top is browned and eggs are set. We eat it as a side with burgers or as a main dish with veggies and fruit. Add some Southern biscuits and you’ll be set! Depending on how many are eating, this will serve about 4 depending on portion size.

  4. How about some bars to carry with you? Sometimes you’re stuck somewhere and can’t take a break to eat. Something high in protein that’s portable will be satisfying if you are in a jam.

  5. Not sure how fancy you like your breakfasts, but what about a box of granola or cereal bars? I brought some of those to Pittsburgh when I saw you :) Look for the ones highest in fiber or protein.

  6. Pasta is always a good (and cheap) meal to serve large groups. You could pack spaghetti noodles and jarred or canned sauce, and then just buy salad or garlic bread when you get there. Have fun! :)

    Marcy’s last blog post..Printable Muir Glen, Cascadian Farm and Motts Coupons

  7. I ended up buying all our groceries at Publix on our recent trip to Florida.

    By all means, you could save the condiments, syrup, and jelly for Publix. They have very reasonable store brands and frequent BOGOF sales on items like ketchup. You can check the store flyer online before you go.

    I would carefully weigh the savings of flying with liquids against the potential cost/hassle of cleaning everything in your suitcase : )

    Take it from me, I have ended up with a suitcase full of sugar-free syrup before!

    Meredith from Merchant Ships’s last blog post..The little things

  8. Thanks for the ideas, everyone. Maybe I’ll just pack dry goods, so I don’t end up with a sticky mess!

    It’s good to hear that I can expect reasonable prices, as well.

  9. I LOVE Publix. It’s my favorite grocery store. :-) When you’re in Florida, be sure to walk down the cookie and cracker aisle and look at the designs on the Publix brand packaging. They will crack you up.

    I did also want to say that I highly recommend buying generic for anything you can – Publix has great generic products. I tend to dislike the generic products of stores like Kroger and Winn-Dixie, but perhaps I’m just picky. I’ve never disliked a Publix brand.

    ashley @ twentysixcats’s last blog post..in the words of the seagulls from Nemo: Mine! Mine! Mine!

  10. First, make sure you won’t get charged for packing a second suitcase – some airlines are now instituting this policy. And weigh your bag.

    Also, with the no-liquids policy, I stay hydrated by packing lots of cut up vegetables, especially peppers and celery. Later, if you have extra, throw them into salads or your taco mix.

    You could always buy fresh vegetables there and make a simple stir-fry or salad with poached chicken. Or maybe seafood with citrus – foods that might be cheaper in FL than elsewhere.

  11. I just came here to tell you the same thing! Many airlines are only allowing one checked bag now, so do check with them to see if that is even possible. Excess baggage costs are pretty high.

  12. No card at publix. The penny items on Sunday / Monday can be really good (milk).

    They double coupons (but not in Florida) and also allow stacking a manufacture coupon with a store coupon. Mine take competitor coupons so you can really rack up the savings during the weeks of BOGO.

    Albertsons may be a cheaper route on basic goods as Publix can get price without sales.

    A’s last blog post..I bond, you bond?

  13. We don’t have penny items in Publix here in Florida.
    Make sure to check the Publix fliers in the front of the store for Publix coupons. And definitely check the shelf price and what it rings up for. This is the second week in a row that I found an item ringing up incorrectly and so I got the item for free. I just go to the customer service desk so I don’t hold up the line and point out the mistake – they check it out and then give me my money back.
    Wave hi to me when you fly over Tampa!! Oh where are you flying into??

  14. I am really impressed by your forthought about your trip. I need to take your lead and get my act together. Good luck on your trip.

  15. I’m not sure it is worth packing things like pasta and sauce – groceries in most of Florida don’t cost more than groceries other places (especially if you are buying very basic things and/or things on sale!), so it may make more sense to spend the money in your budget for food that week at a grocery store here.

    Florida does have SuperTarget! SuperTarget is fantastic for great prices. A jar of pasta sauce costs 0.98, and tastes every bit as good as Prego or Ragu. Publix is good (I agree about buying store brands – I can’t tell the difference!) too. Don’t come here with the idea that citrus and seafood is less expensive at grocery stores here! It isn’t! You can usually get good deals at farmer markets, but other than that, produce in Florida tends to be expensive!

    Have fun!

  16. Ya know what I love about blogging? I can post a half-formed idea, and ya’ll give me advice and suggestions to help me make a well-informed decision. Thank you so much!

    At first, I wanted to bring a bunch of food from Aldi since prices are pretty reasonable. Also, I didn’t want to spend a lot of time at the grocery while there.

    But now that you’ve given me more to think about, I think it would be most reasonable for me to bring dry goods and some snacks to tide me over, and then just do some shopping when we get there.

    Thanks for your help!

    (and btw Saph, we’re flying into the airport in Fort Myers. I’ll be sure to wave :) ).

  17. Duh…I didn’t think about the fact that you were flying (and not driving). I wouldn’t recommend taking pasta/sauce on a plane to anyone. :-)

    Marcy’s last blog post..Cell Phone Overage

  18. I also thought I would add to the mix that you really have to be careful which grocery store you go into- especially Publix. The ones that are near beaches or major attractions are always outrageously priced. If you head into a more suburban area the prices are much better.

  19. That sounds like a great idea! I tend to pack sandwiches for the plane rides, and lots of snacks for between meal times during a trip. I usually keep those in my carry-on.

    I’ve heard about the airlines only allowing one checked bag per passenger — that is definitely something to check out, because the cost of that could outweigh the non-Aldi prices in Fort Myers. But I’m sure you’ll figure it out! Great planning ahead! :-)

    Bethany B-A’s last blog post..Little things

  20. I agree with Nicole’s advice… high protein, keeps hunger in check. Beef jerky makes a good snack. Once in Florida, you can buy tuna and can use it either for sandwiches (mixed with relish and mayo), or can make tuna patties for dinner.

    Simple recipe:

    Lg can of tuna
    1 potato – (boil, cool, and crumble)
    1 egg
    salt and pepper
    1/4 c flour

    Mix ingredients and form into patties. Coat patties with flour and deep fry. Good with lemon or salsa.

    Good luck, have fun and enjoy your trip!!!

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife and mother of 3. I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

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