People travel for many reasons, but when it comes to food enthusiasts, travel is a vehicle for one true passion: eating.
Because meals play such a large role in a foodie’s travel itinerary, it’s important to plan things out ahead of time. While every traveler needs to decide what to pack, where to eat, what to do, where to stay and how to stay active on vacation, these things all take one new meaning for those who love to eat.
So foodies, listen up! Here are some tips that will help you perfect your next trip—while eating everything you want.
What to Pack
Everyone needs a packing list filled with necessities. Make sure you include your clothes, your shoes and anything extra like a camera, a notebook, snorkeling gear or whatever else might be imperative for your trip.
But make sure to bring a few extra things. A guidebook and a map can help you find those hard-to-find hole-in-the-walls that locals rave about—you know, the ones you simply have to try. You can also bring travel-sized spices and silverware if you’re able to cook your own meals, plastic zip bags to transport leftovers easily and corkscrews so you can try that stellar local wine.
If you’re driving and not flying, you can also bring along things like a portable grill, coffee maker or folding tables for spontaneous outdoor meals.
Where to Eat
If you love food, a big part of your travel experience will be where and what you eat for each meal. Do your research ahead of time to decide the restaurants you want to eat at or the dishes you’d like to try. Websites like Yelp and Trip Advisor can help you decide based on the opinions of those who have already dined at the restaurants.
Make sure to try the classics of your destination: when in Paris, crepes are a must. In Italy, dine on pizza and pasta, and when in Japan, you’ve got to try local sushi spots.
What to Do
While eating is an important part of any trip, you can’t do it all day long. You’ll need to find some other activities and adventures to dive into between meals. Consider looking in to local festivals. Many cities celebrate everything from chocolate to strawberries in fairs that often have rides, games and live entertainment as well as food and drink offerings.
There are other ways to show off your foodie side while traveling too. Look at local cooking classes, where you can learn to make new dishes you’d never thought of before. No matter where you are, you’re bound to find a local farmer’s market filled with fresh produce and other goodies. Big cities like New York also have unique experiences at local shops like coffee or chocolate samplings, or food tours that traverse the best in the area. All of these experiences also come with education that will showcase more about the food or ingredients involved.
Where to Stay
If you’re someone that is always hungry, even after a large dinner, stay in a city center where you’ll be close to restaurants—especially those that are open late. Location is key if you want to be able to easily get to the biggest and best restaurants your destination has to offer.
Choose a hotel that is close to public transit to make it even easier to get around. You won’t want to miss your reservations, especially if they were hard to get or planned way in advance.
The interior of your hotel room or rental is going to be important as well. If you want to do any of your own cooking, look for a place that has a stocked kitchen for you to use. You will also need to make sure you get enough rest if you’re going to be wandering and eating. Consider getting a room with an electric bed that can allow you to customize your comfort, especially if you’re sharing the bed with a significant other.
How to Stay Active
When you’re eating on vacation, you don’t want to pay attention to nutrition. The more you love food, the more you will want to try everything your destination has to offer. In order to avoid counting calories, it’s important to find a way to stay active to counteract what you’re eating.
Find a path near your hotel or along a river to walk along in the mornings or evenings. Take the stairs instead of the elevator at any museums or other attractions you visit. No matter what you choose, make sure it gets your heart pumping; it’ll give you a burst of energy throughout the day as well.