There are two kinds of vacation planners in this world: those who schedule every last minute of the trip and those who buy a plane ticket and let the rest work itself out. And while those two experiences will vary greatly—as will those in the grey area—there’s one common denominator: Food will, without a doubt, be involved.
As you may have surmised from this story’s headline, if you ask me, food is often the best part of tripand certainly the most memorable.
With all the problems that may arise (wrong turns, getting lost, and using up your international data finding your way back to where you started), sitting down to a good meal is something of a sweet relief. Bookending your days with a filling breakfast, exciting dinner, and maybe an afternoon ice cream stop (always worth it) helps avoid those “CAN WE JUST EAT ANYWHERE NOW” moods.
To learn more about the city.
There’s also the argument that there’s a certain food everywhere you must try: pizza in New York, hot dogs and deep dish in Chicago, this insanely delicious feast called bandeja paisa in Colombia, etc.
Do it! If it’s what the city’s known for, it’s worth a try, even if you don’t find the absolute-best-spot for it.
To meet more locals.
meal. You want some wiggle room, especially so you can get suggestions once you’re actually there.
Ask someone at the hotel front desk, or your Airbnb host, or your Uber driver what their favorite restaurant or bar in the city is and give it a try. Chances are, it’ll have fewer tourists and more locals than whatever the top hit on Google says to visit.
If there’s a meal you reallyyy want, you’re more likely to grab an Uber to get there instead of hitting up yet another restaurant on the same block as your hotel. Expand your horizons! You’re only in NYC/Austin/Toronto/Rome/wherever once.
To balance out any other flaws in the trip.
Listen, food really is the great equalizer. Unless you’re traveling solo, you’ll probably have to make a concession or two for the good of the group: staying longer than you’d like at a museum, seeing a play/concert/sports game you’re not too excited about, whatever it may be.
On top of that, without fail, something out of your control will go wrong—inclement weather, a flat tire, a closed bookstore, etc. You know what brings up the collective mood? A delicious meal.
Like this French toast flight from Batter Berries.
I rest my case.