When visiting a vacation home, what do you bring from your kitchen?

Say you’re going on holiday and won’t be staying in a hotel but a house/apt with a full kitchen, what cookware/tools/condiments etc. do you bring from home?

At the very minimum I’m always traveling with my chef knife, my awesome veg peeler, wine key and my microplane. I bring about 5-10 spices and a few dried herbs (and almost never use them). I bring a wedge of good parmigiana.

If I won’t have easy access to a market I will bring condiments as well. Can’t live without mayo! Also must have Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce (Crystal), Dijon, olive oil and red wine or balsamic vinegar. Oh and kosher salt and a pepper grinder.


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If we’re driving, I bring a wood cutting board. We once stayed in a ski condo with glass cutting boards only. Having of course brought my own knives, this was especially painful.

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We’ve only used vacation homes in Hawaii, so limited as to what I can bring. I have a kit that was originally intended for beading or some craft that came with about 18 small jars with screw on tops, all in a nice plastic box. I fill the jars with various dried herbs and spices and take that. If I wasn’t flying I would take my Santoku. Definitely a corkscrew and maybe a small plastic cutting board.

Oh yes a wood cutting board! I had to deal with a glass one for the first time. Yuck. I felt like my knife was letting out a cry every time it made contact.

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I pack my chef’s knife (and other things also ) in my checked bags.

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Yeah, not up for having it stolen. I can always get by with what’s on hand, even if I have to buy a steel.

I bring nothing because we vacation with others. We pay for the house, they pay for the meals out. We usually cook one meal together. Someone makes a salad, someone else does the main and another does the sides. It’s so much fun. I can’t wait until May. Sigh.

a set of cheap but serviceable knives – Walmart usually carries a set with a parer, a carver, and a chef’s knife for about $10 (and have actually been pretty pleased with them…) a plastic cutting board (weight) and the herbs and spices I always use – thyme, oregano, parsley, garlic powder, and usually cinnamon. These go into a pill minder fromt the pharmacy – the one I buy holds more than a tablespoon (so usually more than enough for a week or two)

I go for cheap because I’d cry if I left my beloved knives behind, and then I leave the cheap ones behind for the next person.

Don’t know why, but only a couple of the places we’ve rented have had decent knives or decent hand and dish towels – always seem to be ratty and stained rags rather than towels!

We’ve rented places from a couple of lovely ladies who are cooks, so those kitchens are always a joy – fully stocked with decent stuff.

Ooh, I hate it that some folks have had that experience. Knock wood, I’ve never had anything go missing.

As you know, we do house exchanges. We’ve only had ONE out of many that had as fully equipped kitchen as I want to “get by” with. When going by car I take my CI skillet. We stayed at a place on Cape Cod that didn’t even have four wine glasses! Went to a nearby thrift store for those.

My wine opener . Last week I was away . I needed to open a bottle . I left it on the counter at home . I used a small pair of scissors that I have brought along to pierce and twist the cork out . I’m thinking to always have one in the glove box of my vehicle when travelling . That’s not going to happen again .


I own a time share/condo in Aruba we vacation to each year. Generally I make breakfast and lunch and we go out each night for dinner. The kitchen comes stocked with the basics but I never bring anything from home for eggs and sandwiches.

Last year I chartered a boat and went deep sea fishing hoping to catch a wahoo. While the wahoo evaded us we did catch a few barracuda. They cleaned our catch for us and I brought it home with us.

I sent my wife to the bar for a couple glasses of Pinot Grigio, lacking flour, but having a Dutch pancake mix, I seasoned it with just salt and pepper. Dredged the filets in the pancake mix, a little melted butter, white wine and lemon wedges (also taken from the bar) was one of the best fresh fish I had ever had.

My first time ever preparing or eating barracuda and was pleasantly surprised at its neutral flavor and texture. For whatever reason I assumed a much stronger oily fish, but it wasn’t.

glad nothing happened to you – but be very wary of cuda – as a top-level reef predator, they tend to accumulate large concentrations of ciguatera toxin (reef poisoning) – nasty, nasty condition that can linger for years.

When we lived in the Bahamas when I was a teenager, the locals drummed it into our heads that barracuda are not food.

It depends how long I will be there, and truth to be told, I may not bring anything with me because I love eating out while visiting new places. I always wish I have more time or more stomach space to try all the restaurants and dishes I want to.

So realistically speaking, I probably won’t bring anything.

However, that may not be in the spirit of your question.

In that case, I would say a cutting board and one of my thin blade knives, maybe a Tojiro DP chef’s knife or a CCK Chinese slicer knife. While there are a lot of cookware I like, I don’t think I would make anything too fancy. For example, I make stock often, but I just don’t myself making stock in a vacation home – unless I think I will stay there for 3 months+.

When we use to do yearly drive trips to the Keys in the summer I would bring a wood cutting board, at least one good chef knife, a cast iron skillet, a sink attached water filter, some dried herbs and or spices. Figured I could do pretty well with the local seafood for my wife and I and steak, chicken or hamburger for the non fish eating rug rats. One still to this day will not eat any seafood??? I would say we ate better in than most meals eaten out. I never had an issue with cooking after a long day of diving.

We recently traveled to Bend Oregon and stayed in a really nice VRBO. I took a knife

Unless I know ahead of time that certain necessary items won’t be found in the kitchen, I don’t bring along anything. I wait until we get there, I buy what I need, and I usually leave those items behind. Some of the things I’ve “gifted” to rental properties are small cutting boards, wine glasses, coffee mugs and corkscrews.

You’ve got to be kidding me!?!?! Seriously? We only caught two small(er) ones and I got maybe 6 filets out of the two fish, but there were 10 of us who all shared, so maybe because we didn’t eat a large quantity we were safe. I wonder why the Capt. / mates on the boat wouldn’t have warned us, as I said it wasn’t even what I was hoping to catch. (FYI even for smaller fish they put up a nice fight)

When doing my dive certification, my dive master who was also a professor at the Jr College at the time and a guy who set up the artificial reefs along our coast took his speargun on our checkout dive. He shot a couple of small barracuda. In spite of the risk he said he had never had an issue with small cudas and he served them at his churches fish fries for years with no issues. We did eat them and they were good and no one got sick. Risky yes, worth the risk, no!

I guess that makes sense, because after the favorable experience I had, I couldn’t understand why you didn’t see it on menu’s. Like I said I have a very unfavorable impression of the fish prior to this, but I had no idea of the poison-ish issue.

sorry - I was trying to let you know gently before you go back for more!

Since you had no ill effects, obviously no harm done, and I’ve heard it’s really tasty - but I just can’t shake all those guys talking about leavin’ dem cudas in the water, and I’ve never been able to even think about eating it.

Same with parrot fish – but at the other end of the risk spectrum – their entire diet is coral, where the organism that produces ciguatera toxin lives – so they have high concentrations, too.

My SIL ended up in the hospital for a couple of days after ordering yellowtail-- another high-level reef predator.

Unfortunately, there’s no way outside of a laboratory to test for it, either – the fish seem to live normal lives regardless of how much toxin they have in their bodies.