Name: Lance and Laura Longwell
Occupation: We’re both communications and marketing professionals. Laura recently left her job as Vice President at one of the world’s leading advertising and marketing agencies to start her own consulting business. Lance works a full-time corporate communications gig and loves to write about travel in his down time.
Where were you born?: Laura is from Dallas, Texas, originally. Lance is from Colorado.
Where do you live?: We currently call Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, home.
Working a 50-hour-per-week corporate desk job with only three weeks of vacation per year doesn’t mean you can’t see the world. Since 2008, we’ve been showing readers of Travel Addicts how to do just that—maximize a limited vacation allotment into the most travel possible.
How would you describe your travel style?
Achievable adventure. We blend relaxation and comfort with luxury and adventure into our own spirited travel style. You’ll find us cave tubing in Belize, hot air ballooning over Turkey, eating guacamole under a palm tree in Mexico, dining at a Michelin star restaurant in New York City, scuba diving in Honduras, or eating our way through the French Quarter of New Orleans. We’re big fans of road trips in unusual parts of the world, too, and recently published The Essential Guide to Driving Abroad to help others drive overseas.
What’s your earliest travel memory?
For Lance, it was 3rd grade. His parents sprung him from school for an epic 8-week road trip across the United States. Lance got the chance to fly the Space Shuttle simulator at NASA in Houston, visit Disney World in Florida, learn about the workings of our government in Washington DC, and see the life of early Americans at a living history farm in Massachusetts. It was an amazing experience! For Laura, growing up in Texas meant that there was a lot to explore just within her home state. Summer vacations in elementary school often included a trip to Galveston Island where she spent endless time playing in the ocean and on the sand. The highlight was always getting to go with the adults to the white tablecloth restaurant where she could order Shirley Temples and try seafood that wasn’t fish stick
When researching travel destinations, how important are food/drink choices and experiences to your overall decision-making process?
Food and drink rarely play a role in our selecting a destination. But once we are there, food and drink play a critical role in our enjoyment of the place.
Culinary traveler or food explorer? Which do you relate to more?
If we ask your best friends if you’re a foodie, what would they say?
They’d laugh. We’re always trying new things.
What’s in your carry-on? Any essential food or kitchen tools you won’t leave home without?
Generally no food items. We usually stay in hotels, so we’re not cooking on the road. However, on recent trips to Provence and New Mexico, we took our own spices with us so we were certain we could find exactly what wanted. In our carry-on, we usually take some protein bars in case we get hungry on the road. On the way home from a destination, we’re usually hauling at least a couple of bottles of wine and spirits—we love visiting wineries and craft distilleries on our trips.
What’s the most unusual food you’ve eaten?
We love to sample the delightful and the unusual wherever we travel. So, it’s tough to say what is the absolute most unusual. Top contenders would be whale in Iceland, cured horse heart in Hungary, guinea pig in both Peru and Ecuador and beaver in Estonia.
If we handed you a ticket to anywhere in the world, where would you go?
If money and time were no objects: Cape Town, South Africa. There are amazing restaurants and world-class wineries throughout the Cape. It’s a foodie paradise!
What’s the best culinary travel experience you’ve ever had?
Probably visiting Tuscany. There’s just something so wonderful about simple ingredients prepared to perfection with incredible wines and amazing landscapes. We could do that every day!
Any great travel tips to share?
Our mandatory travel tip: if you’re traveling with someone else, divide your clothes between the two bags in case the airline loses one.
Lance & Laura’s Picks
Favorite Culinary Destination: It’s tough to pick just one. Italy is high on the list. But Amsterdam and Ecuador both really surprised us.
Favorite Cuisine: Mexican food. Always Mexican food. Probably because we both grew up on it.
Favorite Restaurant: Oh, god. How do you pick just one?
Favorite Street Food: This is a toss-up. We both love tacos. But Lance is on a mission to find the world’s perfect sausage. So he’d probably pick a bratwurst somewhere in Germany.
Favorite Food Market: It’s got to be Budapest’s Central Market. Many markets like Barcelona’s La Boqueria are starting to lose their indigenous charm and character. But Budapest’s Central Market is still that classic enterprise that caters to locals and visitors just love.
Favorite Winery: We absolutely loved our visit to the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley outside of Hermanus, South Africa. This is truly heaven on earth. Our favorite winery was Creation Winery, which features amazing wine pairings in a beautiful tasting room that looks out on mountain peaks.
Favorite Brewery: It’s probably Andechs Brewery outside of Munich. The monks have been brewing beer here since 1455. You can’t ask for a more idyllic location in the foothills of the German Alps.
Favorite Distillery: We’re big fans of craft spirits! From the south of France to the Southwest United States, we love experiencing the craft revolution. Yet, our favorite distillery experience ever was actually one of the biggest: the Jack Daniels Distillery in Tennessee. There’s just something magical about Lynchburg, and the charcoal process adds so much to the whiskey.
Favorite Cooking Class: We’ve only taken one cooking class so far, and it was amazing. In Vilnius, Lithuania, Laura made venison, a rhubarb soufflé, and a deconstructed version of a classic Baltic beet soup. It was fabulous. We’d love to include a cooking class on every trip from now on.
Favorite Food/Tasting Tour: We absolutely loved our Amsterdam food tour. Trust us, it’s not all pickled fish and cheese.
Favorite Travel App: We still love Instagram. There’s nothing like amazing food photos to get you interested in travel.
Connect with Lance & Laura
Website: Travel Addicts
Interested in a visit to one of Lance and Laura’s favorite culinary destinations, Amsterdam? Stay at The Dylan Amsterdam, a hotel that is a converted old bread factory! For a truly unique culinary experience, hop on the Michelin-starred restaurant, Vinkeles’ chef’s table located in a boat on the canal. Dishes are beautifully paired with delicious wines and customized for each guest’s preferences.