I always try to clean the house before we go on vacation - that just means cleaning the bathrooms, vacuuming, mopping, wiping down counters, and putting away obvious clutter. It just feels good to come home to a clean house. It also gives me a little breathing space before I have to get back into the swing of things.
This time, I also want to be ready with food, so I don't have to rush out and go marketing as soon as we get home. Partly it's because I've been shopping so much at the farmer's markets, and there won't be one open right after we get home. It's also partly because I'll be doing the Whole30 in January and I want to make things as easy as possible for myself on that front.
I've come across a few different strategies people use:
Order groceries and have them delivered when you arrive home. This way, you don't have to run out to the store the way I usually do. However, I don't love this idea because I like picking out my own meat and produce. But I might give it a try.
Freeze some meals. This is a strategy I love, although I'm not sure I have the time to figure out some Whole30-friendly freezer meals and make them. Lasagna, chili, enchiladas, spaghetti sauce, and meatloaf all freeze well. Here's how I turned five pounds of ground turkey into six freezer meals. I also usually have the ingredients for fried rice in the freezer (leftover rice, leftover meat, and frozen veggies). The Family Freezer has some Instant Pot freezer meals, which seem particularly convenient for someone just walking in the door after a vacation, since you can cook a whole meal in a short time with minimal effort.
Stash some long-lasting items in the fridge. I'm going to put some apples, oranges, carrots, ultra-pasteurized milk, eggs, and yogurt in the fridge before we go. These are all items that should keep for a over a week, and will hold us over for a few days until I'm ready to go marketing. One word of caution: don't store too much in the fridge, since there's always the possibility you might come home to spoiled food if the power goes out while you're gone.
Prep for some pantry meals. Pasta Puttanesca and Sardines with Rice don't require anything perishable.
Of course, if things don't work out, it's helpful to have your favorite delivery place programmed into your phone!
Do you have any pre-vacation must-do's that make your return easier?